I'm now in Week 10 of my health plan, and down 58 pounds overall! In fact, I was recently looking at a picture my health coach posted of my wife and me from a year ago side by side with one from a week ago. The results speak for themselves. I have so much to be excited about, and don't misunderstand as you continue reading--I am very excited by the transformation I am experiencing.
But in Week 10 I'm not quite half way to my overall goal. And while I am not really facing discouragement in the program, I did catch myself thinking about other things this week. Part of my health plan includes being in a closed Facebook group with many others who are on similar journeys as mine. Once in a while I will see someone post about how they had a slice of birthday cake or they allowed themselves to eat this meal or that item that isn't in the plan. This week, I saw half a dozen or so such posts, and I realized, I wanted to eat something else as well. I love vegetarian sushi--with avocado, asparagus, and cucumber. And I love cheese enchiladas with refried beans and rice. And for just a moment I found myself reconciling how I could do have it. It's been 10 weeks, I could just...
Lying to others is detrimental, lying to yourself can be devastating.
Another thought that I fight with myself is saying, "Well, I don't have to go all the way. I could be healthier, and look and feel good if I just lose 30 more pounds." And I rationalize by saying, I'm not quitting the program, I'm still going to practice all the principles I've learned.
But in reality, that's part of the problem. The temptation comes from knowing I wouldn't go crazy eating sushi or enchiladas. I have learned enough in the past 10 weeks that I would be content with just 1 or 2 enchiladas instead of 3 or 4 like I ordered the night before I started the program.
Alas, for me in my own journey, stopping short of my goal(s) would be cheating myself. And since these thoughts and challenges are not unique to me, I wrote down 10 things in Week 10 that keep myself encouraged to stay strong and focused on those goals. Perhaps they will be of help for you too:
1. TALK ABOUT IT. I find that as I talk about what I'm doing, I get even more excited about what's happening in my life. As I see other's excitement growing, my own excitement grows, helping me to remain focused on my true goals.
2. ENCOURAGE OTHERS. Being an encouragement to others is actually quite fun, and even more rewarding to realize you've had a positive impact on their life's choices. I am amazed at how many people want what I'm experiencing, and have no idea how to get started. Encouraging others is an indirect way of self-encouragement. It really works!
3. EXERCISE. I'm not talking about a heavy work-out routine. I just try to get between 7,000 and 10,000 steps in every day. Once my health plan changes a little, I plan to add a regular workout routine in. But the little exercise I do get, just adds to the overall better feeling I'm having these days.
4. GET ENOUGH SLEEP. I've discovered just how little sleep I was getting, and how much I really need. The body seems to heal and restore itself during the sleeping hours, so not enough sleep doesn't allow for full recuperation. I've discovered it also hinders my weight loss.
5. BE INSPIRED BY OTHERS. What are other people doing in their lives and careers that is an encouragement. One of my friends just completed a marathon in under 5 hours! To some, that's not a big deal, but considering it would have taken me all day and maybe more to go 26 miles, I'm not only impressed, I'm inspired to want to move better. I may not ever run 26 miles, but I don't have to be the tortoise anymore either! The best part of inspiration is that it can come from anywhere. It doesn't just have to be about health.
6. COUNT THE VICTORIES. Remember often where you've been. Celebrate the accomplishments. The can keep you going and get out of discouraging moments.
7. ESTABLISH NEW MILESTONES. As you celebrate where you've been, set short-term, reachable goals in addition to the long-term goals you dream about. As you conquer the short milestones, you'll realize you're on your way to the big ones. Keep putting reachable, but challenging milestones in front of you. In fact, I'm hoping to pass a personal milestone in the coming week. It's a big one for me personally. I'll let you know if I get there.
8. REWARD YOURSELF. This is tricky because if food was your weakness before, you probably don't want to celebrate losing 10 pounds with a trip to 31 flavors for ice cream! But, if 10 pounds was one of those milestones, celebrate with a personal reward. Perhaps its a movie night or concert, a day off from work. Whatever you decide is up to you--but it is a big deal--so make it one.
9. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Personal authenticity is one of the most charming and attractive traits a person can have. Lying to others is detrimental, lying to yourself can be devastating. I wasn't happy with who I was or how I was living. So when I decided to make a change, I realized it was going to be far-reaching and all-encompassing. So for me, I remind myself daily that my choices will be a reflection of what I want to become, not who I was.
10. YOU STILL HAVE TO LIVE. My coach said these words to me and they ring in my ears every day. The world won't stop spinning for me if I do have some ice cream or a slice of pizza, but for now, those aren't decisions I'm really struggling with. However, I will be traveling out of the country for 10 days this summer. I have no idea if I'll be able to stick to my plan. In fact, I'm thinking I probably won't be able stay on plan. I have decided I'm going to do the best I can, and the rest will be okay. I'm going on the trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land. So when it's time to eat, I will make sensible choices, but I will also enjoy the moments I have been granted in a new place. When I return from the trip, I will pick up where I left off. Who knows, I might even stay successful enough to shed a few pounds on the trip!