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Old 05-15-2004, 12:06 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,123


Beverly said it. If you look at the changes you make as a new lifestyle it makes mistakes and slips seem less important. Yes, you were sick, and any illness that affects eating and activity will affect your progress. But, it doesn't have to affect your long-term plan. You can see it as a pause in your progress, or you can see it as a reason to give up or an excuse to go back to the way things were.

I've been seriously overweight all my life, and at 39 I finally figured out that I couldn't just "go on a diet" and "lose weight." I had to change my life. The reasons I over-ate and under-exercised were firmly embedded in the way I approached life in general. In order to fix the fat thing, I had to fix the life thing. Part of that meant accepting that I would always have an issue with food, that I have a compulsive personality, and the way to ensure success was not to magically transform into a perfect person who never wanted to overeat. That was never, never going to happen. But, what I COULD do was constantly devote time and energy to positive self-talk and developing strategies that would help me live a healthy lifestyle. If I did that, the weight would come off sooner or later.

It's been 2 1/2 years, and I've lost 140 of the 170 I wanted to lose. It's been slow going compared to most people. And, I've had plenty of periods where I just maintained or even went up a little. I'm still on-again, off-again with the exercise. During this time I've suffered the deaths of both grandmothers, a job loss, and various other stresses and traumas of modern life. But, since I started the journey this time, it's NEVER been an option for me to give up. I've never seriously considered chucking everything and going back to my old way of life, and I've never slid so far that I was afraid I wouldn't get back. This isn't to say I'm a perfect person, or that I'm superior in any way. The point is that I finally learned that even when I make huge mistakes, berating myself isn't the answer. Calling yourself a failure and talking to yourself in such a negative, hateful way is very destructive. It's hard for us to believe, but talking to yourself in a kind, supportive, positive way is much more helpful. That doesn't mean lying to yourself, rationalizing, or making excuses. It just means acknowledging that you didn't make good choices, forgiving yourself, and making a plan for next time. We believe what we hear if we hear it enough times. And, if the only thing you've ever heard from yourself is that you are a failure and that the situation is hopeless, well ... that's what you believe.

You have to be ready to undertake this journey and see it through for the rest of your life. But, you can MAKE yourself ready. It helps to think about why you want to do this. Yes, appearance and being able to wear fashionable clothes are certainly good reasons. But, make a list of all the OTHER reasons you'd like to have a healthy body and a healthy attitude towards food and exercise. The other thing that helped me tremendously was reading. I HIGHLY recommend Thin for Life by Anne Fletcher. Dr. Phil's book ain't bad. And I also like Susan Powter's Stop the Insanity (although she's a little angry about men LOL, and her food plan isn't all that sensible). Finally, if you suspect you may be a compulsive overeater, The Thin Books by Jean Westin Eddy is really good. You have to constantly pump yourself up and give yourself peptalks, and these books can really help with that.

Don't worry about being perfect. If it seems too much to try to get back into your food plan and your exercise routine all at the same time, then just work on the food part. Then, next week, promise yourself you'll go to the gym ONCE. Be sure and pat yourself on the back and acknowledge when you carry out your plan and face challenges. Even when you make a mistake, you probably did better than you would have before. The best thing to encourage success is success. Just be aware that "motivation" is a false friend, and sooner or later it WILL leave you. That's when all your preparation and determination will come into play.

Just remember, the only way you are a failure is if you stop trying. As the Japanese say, "Fall down 10 times, get up 10 times."
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