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TFL Key #9: Get More Out Of Life

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Old 03-06-2005, 07:34 PM   #1
Meg
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Default TFL Key #9: Get More Out Of Life

Key To Success #9: Get More Out Of Life

Last week’s discussion of chapter 8 ended up with some thoughts about putting ourselves first and making our health and happiness a priority in our lives. So I had to laugh this morning when I cracked open chapter 9 and discovered that it’s all about … taking care of ourselves and making ourselves a priority. Last week’s key – Face Life Head On – evolves naturally into this week’s – Get More Out Of Life.

The chapter opens with some questions that I’d like all of you to ask yourselves:
Quote:
How’s the balance in your life? Are your days filled with ‘shoulds’ as opposed to desires? In other words, how much time do you spend doing things you feel you have to do versus things you want to do? Do you put everyone else’s needs first, always leaving your own concerns for last? (p 259)
Many of the maintainers studied in the book faced life head on, asked themselves these questions, and decided that they weren’t getting enough out of life and that they needed more fulfilled, balanced, and happy lives.

So what does getting more out of life have to do with maintenance? Experts say that many overweight people have lifestyles that are loaded down with ‘shoulds’ and obligations. On the surface, taking care of everyone else’s needs first doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with food. But when your own needs end up always being last, it’s easy to seek immediate gratification from food and to use it as a reward or treat.

The message of this chapter is that losing weight is only a (small?) part of a necessary process of sorting through personal issues, reordering priorities, taking care of ourselves, and making many positive changes that, on the surface, don’t have much to do with eating or food. For some successful losers, these changes happened before weight loss; for others, the changes happened as the weight came off; and for a third group, it was a cycle of changes motivating weight loss which, in turn, motivated changes.

The chapter includes a section that delves into the ‘Self-Esteem Connection’ (p 267-8) It’s probably no surprise to any of you, but a good concept of self and a positive attitude are associated with losing and maintaining weight. For some maintainers, the improved self-image predated the weight loss and for others, the weight loss resulted in the improvement in self-esteem.

So there’s clearly a link between self-confidence, self-esteem, self-image and successful weight loss. How can we improve our confidence and self-esteem and feel better about ourselves? The next section heading says it all:

START LIVING NOW

Stop waiting for that day when you reach your goal weight and ‘life will be perfect’. Nope - buy the new clothes now, get your hair highlighted and your nails done now, – you deserve them! Dr. Joyce Nash recommends that you ‘close the gap between the person who you are and the person you think you should be, your ideal.’ (p 270) Pick a realistic ‘ideal’ and start living like that person now – today – and quit waiting for the day that you’ll be ‘thin and perfect’. (I can assure you that thin may happen but perfect never will ).

Strange to say, the answer to successful weight loss and maintenance may lie in developing a more fulfilled life instead of finding a perfect diet and exercise plan. The book cites two studies that honestly surprised me:
Quote:
The women who lost weight and kept it off were more likely to have developed lives outside of their families … significantly more maintainers had salaried positions in addition to their jobs as homemakers. Researchers …found that well over half of their female maintainers, while heavy, had been full-time homemakers. 'The years between the ages of 18 and 35 were characterized by marriage, childbearing and rearing, semi-reclusion in the home … and weight gain.' (p 272)
There seems to be a correlation between having a life revolving around home and kids and being overweight. Wow – that was my former life! Fortunately, the answer isn’t necessarily to abandon ship but instead to find new interests, hobbies, pleasures, activities, and friendships that get you out of the house. The book suggests making some lists as a way to get started on a more fulfilling lifestyle:
  • A 20 Small Pleasures List – simple things you enjoy, like planting your garden or visiting a friend or walking the dog
  • The Three List Strategy – start each day by listing what you have to do, a few things you want to do for yourself, and what you can postpone. Do what you must, then do some things for yourself, and blow off the rest.
  • A Things I’ve Always Wanted To Do List – Learn to play the piano? Go blonde? Get a massage? Sky dive? Learn yoga? Travel to Greece? Remember, we’re not going to wait until we’re thin to do them. Make a list and do them now!

It should go without saying that none of the pleasures and rewards on the lists should be food! The biggest reward cited by maintainers in the book was new clothes and I’d have to go along with that as having been my biggest reward .

The chapter closes with a section about how relationships can change – both positively and negatively - as we make changes in our lives, reorder our priorities, and put our needs first. It can upset the dynamic in our families and friendships, as I know many of you have experienced.

The chapter ends with a paragraph that I’d like to leave all of you with:
Quote:
If you stop allowing your weight to get in the way of a more fulfilling life, as well as feeling good about yourself, the need to use food to enrich your existence will diminish. Then you can get on with more important aspects of life - those things that make it worthwhile to maintain whatever weight you choose. (p 282)
Let's talk about changes we've made or want to make in order to have more fulfilling lives. What have you always wanted to do that you've been postponing because of your weight? Or do you find yourself turning to food less and less as you get more out of life? How have changes in you affected your relationships? How has weight loss affected your confidence and self-esteem - or was it the other way around for you? Everyone's story is going to be different - tell us yours!
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Old 03-09-2005, 05:50 AM   #2
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Hi Meg,

great summary as always. Incredible that you find the time for this next to the work in the gym.

I actually think that this post on making more of your life touches on a much wider field that just loosing weight. It is all about if you dare to make the choice for your own good, to be selfish.
I for one did make that choice.I realised that I was caught in the trap of having to do everything..Raise a family, have a job, keep house and after taking care of the customers, the family, the house, there was nothing left to take care of myself.

So I quit the job for the time being, I am presently on sick leave actually, and I now concentrate on getting a better life for myself. This includes working out and doing something healthy for my body for a change. I have the occasional guilt episode where I feel that I have failed, but otherwise I think I am getting better slowly but steadily at allowing myself to enjoy life instead of take care of everything and everyone.

And the great thing is that my husband & 2 kids are very supportive in this. I really enjoy having more time to spend with them, especially the kids.

bye,
rabbit
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:02 AM   #3
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This is kind of a sidenote, but it bothers me how so many of us (including myself) refer to prioritizing our own health as selfish. I don't think it is selfish to take care of oneself - we don't consider breathing selfish, so why eating healthy and exercising, which are also basic needs? We all know this, but it's somehow still stuck in our minds that spending time, money, and energy on something that produces personal gain (or loss ) is inherently selfish.

I guess I just hate equating something "bad" (like the word selfish) with something that is, in fact, "good" - for us and for everyone we love.

As for Meg's questions...
What have you always wanted to do that you've been postponing because of your weight? Not really anything in particular, but I had started avoiding physical activities and games because of how tired they made me.

Or do you find yourself turning to food less and less as you get more out of life? Hmmm... sometimes. It might help if I explicitly thought of certain things as optional replacements for food - like the next time I think that brownie cheesecake is too irresistible, I could decide that reading a new book would be equally enjoyable. (Unfortunately, I've very accomplished at the art of eating and reading at the same time )

How have changes in you affected your relationships? This is an interesting question. I'm not really sure. I'm less depressed, so that must have some kind of effect. My dad actually called me his hero, for losing weight and never complaining about the sacrifices it required. He still thinks of it as something to help me "catch a husband" though It has encouraged my mom and some siblings to try to eat healthier and lose weight, and I am now the official expert on such things. Mostly, my relationships seem the same, though.

How has weight loss affected your confidence and self-esteem - or was it the other way around for you? It was definitely weight loss first, with some improvements in confidence and self-esteem following. I'm a tiny bit less self-conscious.
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:29 AM   #4
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Default getting more out of life

How has weight loss affected your confidence and self-esteem - or was it the other way around for you?

i could write a dissertation on this subject. my self esteem was in the toilet, and i had very little confidence in myself prior to beginning my weight loss journey. i believed that i was born fat and depressed and would remain that way my whole life.

attempting to change my diet lead to major lifestyle changes. confidence and self esteem were the rewards of picking myself up and trying again each time i slipped and feel back into old eating habits, and seeing i was capable of making lasting changes in my life.

i do a million things today that i thought was never possible for the sad, fat girl i used to know myself to be. i am a college graduate, i have a wonderful boyfriend and friends who are endlessly supportive, and am working on saving money to move to italy for awhile (a life long dream i had been putting off until i "got skinny"), i go dancing all the time. most of all, every beautiful moment is not pervaded by self-hate due to my poor self care and self image. i am no longer depressed, ever. i have sad days, but eating well, exercising, and having a wonderful life makes the hard times easy to bear.
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sw33t
This is kind of a sidenote, but it bothers me how so many of us (including myself) refer to prioritizing our own health as selfish. I don't think it is selfish to take care of oneself - we don't consider breathing selfish, so why eating healthy and exercising, which are also basic needs? We all know this, but it's somehow still stuck in our minds that spending time, money, and energy on something that produces personal gain (or loss ) is inherently selfish.
Among other bad habits like not exercising and eating too much of the wrong foods and inate characteristics (like being born heavy to a heavy mother) I believe that putting other's needs before my own even when it comes to my health is one of the major reasons that I am overweight.

For me it is not a matter of low self esteem per say. I've always had a high self esteem. I think I've always believed myself to be intelligent, pretty, caring, worthy, likeable, ... while at the same time my weight has made me feel out of place and defensive (are those kids laughing AT me because I'm heavy.. or are they just laughing at something else.. you know how that is.. anyhoo.. )

After reading chapter 9 and many of the responses on this thread (and thread 8) I see more clearly how some of my self esteem has been wrapped up in valuing myself based on how I put others before me. It has always been this way. As little girls one of the highest praises my sister and I would get would be when we thought of someone else or did something nice despite the cost or toll on us. It seems as if this quality was admired but also EXPECTED in both of us. Funny thing is our brothers were not treated this way. They were the ones who we took care of.. they expected to be taken care of as our parents set this stage. I learned early on that women are supposed to be nurturers to EVERYONE. As a young girl adorning myself or taking too much interest in my appearance was not only frowned upon but highly discouraged. My husband's family helped instill this even more by very high expectations that the women in our family take care of home and house and children and husband and community. We are expected to think of ourselves last when it comes to spending both time and money.

I don't think it is a bad thing to take care of others but doing so shouldn't be at the cost of ones emotional or physical health. And our self esteem shouldn't ever ride on the measurement of how much we do for others.
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I didn't lose weight. I burned up stored calories.
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