A Powerful Question

I was on Facebook this morning when I happened to see a post from a friend, she was sharing a post from a marathon runner website and my friend shared her thoughts as well.  And she asked a question.  A powerful question.  One that made me stop and think…. And think….

What am I doing today to get me closer to my goal?

Wow!  I have been asking myself this question all day. 

I have my goals —

  • To get back to my official WW goal weight
  • To then lose more to get to my personal goal (one I never reached) of losing 100 lbs. 
  • To finish my fastest 5k EVER in January 2020 at the She Power 5k
  • To be my healthiest and fittest self by my 55th birthday in January.

These are my goals.  They have been my goals for a long time.  And I have struggled.  But I am determined to get myself there.  I am determined to NOT give up.  I am determined to see what that version of “me” looks and feels like!

There are a lot of things I can do to get myself to those goals.  I can…. Yes, a lot I can.  But will I do them?  Will I do the work necessary?  Will I create the habits needed?  Will I make the healthy choices?  Will I shift my mindset?  Will I change how I think about exercise and sweat?  Will I believe in my abilities? 

Every WW workshop has an activity to work on for the week, relating to activity, food and/or mindset.  As a coach I would present the weekly topic and then lead members in a discussion about the weekly topic.  At the end of the workshop I would present to them the thing to work on for that week and I would end the workshop with two questions to my members-  Can you?  Will you? 

Yes, we can.  Yes, I can.  But the real question is Will I?  Will You? 

“Will you?” has always been a powerful question.  One that made me think and made me commit. 

But this question my friend posted today, for me, is even more powerful. 

What am I doing today to get me closer to my goals?

Well, it was NOT the small packet of mini-doughnuts or the bag of Doritos that I had for breakfast.  I didn’t plan to eat those.  I didn’t plan to buy them.  I had my plan in place for a healthy breakfast of eggs and bacon.  I could have had that healthy breakfast.  I was willing to have that healthy breakfast….But sometimes life happens. I was awake extra early this morning, taking my husband to work (before 6am) and running my son to an early clinic appointment with a stop after for something he needed. And the plan went out the window!  I picked up the mini-doughnuts and the bag of Doritos.  And I ate them when I got home.  UGH!

No, that definitely was not getting me closer to my goals!

I know what I am doing that is keeping me from reaching my goals. 

So, what am I doing today to get me closer to my goals?

Forgiving myself.  Being kind to myself.  Not letting the slip derail my plans.  I tracked my breakfast (40 smartpoints!  Oh my!  Good thing I have all those weekly extras!  They were needed today!) And then I moved on.  A healthy lunch and a healthy dinner planned and prepped.  That is what I am doing today that is getting me closer to my goals. 

This journey is not perfect.  I am human.  I slip up.  But being kind to me is one of the things that gets me back on track.  No more beating myself up…. That would defeat my efforts. 

The question posed by my friend got me back on track today.  The question kept me from throwing in the towel and going down that hole. 

That question is powerful. 

What am I doing today that will get me closer to my goals? 

Not what I will to do tomorrow?  Not what can I do next week?  Not what happened yesterday? 

That question puts the focus on TODAY.  This moment.  Right now.  It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or earlier in the day and it doesn’t matter what tomorrow will bring or what my plans are.  It is all about THIS MOMENT.  And the ONE thing I am doing right NOW, today, that will get me just a step closer to my goal.  And if each day, I do one more thing, just one, that gets me another step closer, then before I know it I will reach my goals! 

One-step-at-a-time.  One-day-at-a-time.  One-moment-at-a-time.

I am going to ask myself this powerful question.  Every. Single. Day.  What am I doing today to get me closer to my goals? 

What are you doing today that is getting you just a step closer to your goals? 

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That “E” Word

That “E” word.

 Exercise.

 I am not big on exercise.  I lost my weight originally without exercise.  Which kept me from developing a habit of exercising.  I just watched my food, tracked it all and really paid attention to portions and I lost the weight.  I was proof that exercise was NOT necessary to lose weight.  But I wish I had developed the exercise habit while losing weight.  It would be much easier to keep the weight off and to get back on track if I exercised, regularly. 

But I DON’T like to sweat!  So, therefore I don’t like to exercise.  I find exercise mundane, at times boring, difficult and mostly a chore.  It is hard to get going and hard to stick with it.  Though I have found ways to partake in some sort of exercise over the years and even found some I enjoyed… for a bit, I still have not been consistent.  And I need to be.

Exercise has many benefits.  There are health benefits, especially for my heart.  There is the mood boosting benefit.  If every time I was angry, hurt, worried, anxious, bored or lonely, I exercised… what a big impact that would have on my health and my journey to lose and keep weight off.  Not to mention my mood.  I would be a very happy person…. Maybe….. but I don’t like to sweat.

One way to begin to change how I view exercise is to approach it with a different mindset.  Instead of saying “exercise”, I am now saying “activity”.  Activity doesn’t sound as boring or difficult as exercise does and it elicits more positive feelings.  By changing just that one word, then I will change how I look at it.  The mind is a powerful thing.

But, I still don’t like to sweat…. have I mentioned this?  And that means that my activity is not as consistent as I would like it to be or as I need it to be.  I have spent some time this week thinking about the times when I have stuck with activity, the times when I have enjoyed it and I found that there was a “reward” associated with the activity, one that made it enjoyable and made the activity feel less like a chore.  A reward that made me ignore the sweat!

I know that to create a habit and make it stick, I need to get something from it, some sort of reward.  And I don’t mean a reward that is food related or monetary.  No, the reward for me needs to be impactful, meaningful and fun.  So, I started looking at my activity and how I can get something out of it that would motivate me.  And I found that there are a few rewards that keep me wanting to move and to be active–

–Bling!  Why do I do 5k’s or 10k’s?  The bling of course!  I love the bling!  So, yes, I will sign up for and walk (sometimes adding in a little jog) for a 5k race or a 10k race for the bling.  It makes it worth it!

–A goal!  I have set a few goals related to activity the past few years and those goals give me something to strive for.  A goal makes me focus and makes me get out and exercise.  The goal didn’t always get me to really commit to the training, but it did get me to go do that race or to keep swimming.  And achieving the goal, that is the REAL reward!  The PRIDE I feel when I realize that I DID IT is invaluable!  I set out to do something and I DID IT!  Yes, that pride in myself is a GREAT reward.  And so is seeing the pride in my husbands’ eyes when I finish my race.  THAT is PRICELESS!

–Companionship!  For me this one is HUGE!  What got me to go to spin classes regularly for a period of time?  A friend to go with.  What got me to do my first 5k’s?  My husband doing them with me and my friend doing my first big 5k with me at Disney World.  What got me out walking, even on hot, muggy Louisiana days?  A friend to walk with.  That time was therapy!  What gets me out hiking?  My husband and friends that I hike with (and my camera.. I do love photography!)  And what has got me signing up for and completing 5k’s and greater distances this past year?  Friends!  A group of ladies who make walking fun and keep me accountable.  Better together could not be truer when it comes to being active!  Any activity is better with others and being with others makes me tolerate the sweat!

–Inner peace!  This one is why I swim.  It is my “me” time.  It is a time when I can shut out the world around me and just be.  The water is calming.  The solitude is calming.  The inner peace is necessary.

Now, realizing what rewards motivate me and keep me going, I can find ways to keep moving.  I have always said that awareness is the first step to change.  Being aware of what works for me to get me moving is the first step in making real change, in creating new habits.  Knowing the rewards means I can find ways to be active and find things I enjoy. And enjoying activity is important.  If I don’t enjoy it, then no reward will work. 

To get me going and to help me stay motivated I created this board— My activity motivation board.

On this board are quotes that help motivate me.  The bling from my races hang on the board as reminders of what I can do and have done.  The map from the Amerithon Virtual challenge is on this board because I am continuing, on my own, after my team of 8 finished the race—3521 miles across the USA.  And I have a goal to finish all 3521 miles no matter how long it take me!

All of this will help to motivate me as I prepare for my next activity goal—to finish the She Power 5k in January with my fastest 5k time, EVER!  My goal is to beat my Disney World 5k time of 40:26 from 2009.  I have a goal to strive for…. a reminder to keep me focus.  And with my bling, my family and friends, and a change in mindset, I WILL reach my goal and be more active while doing it.

All while not liking to sweat!  I will work on that another day! 

I Am Worth It!

This week’s topic “Ease Emotions without food” really talks to what I have written about a couple of times already.  And it applies to my journey and my AHA moment on my journey to goal and lifetime.  I am an emotional eater, but you already know that.  So, I wanted to share my story, my beginning with you to let you know where I come from on my journey. 

I joined Weight Watchers for the 5th time in March 2006, after having tried many different methods/programs to lose my weight.  I had tried meetings 4 times before and I never reached my goal….. I never lost more than 20 lbs on Weight Watchers.  But I needed to do something.

My doctor had suggested that I lose just 20 lbs.  I had back issues that would land me in the hospital every couple of years, in immense pain and unable to walk much.  He thought that losing “just 20 lbs” would help take some of the pressure off my back, and hopefully would help me get to a point of not having to have back surgery, something I was adamantly against. 

While the suggestion from my doctor had me thinking about joining Weight Watchers again, it was what happened the night before I joined that really got me through the door.

I was in the kitchen, standing in front of the sink with an open bag of Oreo cookies in one hand and tears flowing down my cheeks.  I was shoveling those cookies in my mouth, eating them without tasting them.  And talking to myself, out loud.  I was hurt and angry and not being kind to me at that moment. 

And then I said the words, out loud, that made me stop dead in my tracks—“Terri, you are killing yourself…… and I DON’T care, no one does, and no one will care when I am gone”.

Talk about a smack upside the head and a moment that made me hold my breath.  Did I really think that?  Did I really not care that my overeating was killing me?  That one day this unhealthy way of living would be the end of me?   Saying those words out loud, actually hearing myself say them, well it scared me.  I HAD to do something.

And I did.  The next morning, I walked into that Weight Watchers meeting.  I was scared, nervous and ashamed.  I had been to that meeting before and I didn’t want to see anyone I had seen before.  I was at my highest weight, ever!  And I was embarrassed.  Something had to change.

I sat through the meetings that first year, which was the longest I had stuck with Weight Watchers.  I learned to track my food, to eat the right portions and to make healthier choices.  I was making friends in my meeting and I felt safe.  I also loved my leader, she inspired me each week and she cared about me and the other members.  And that made a huge difference for me. 

I lost 20 lbs that first year.  The most I had ever lost on my attempts with Weight Watchers.  But I was struggling and I couldn’t seem to push past that 20 lbs.  I still had over 50 lbs to go.  I was feeling frustrated and was on the verge of giving up.

It was at that point that my leader gave me a popsicle stick…. She said it was to remind me to stick to it.  I took it home and taped the popsicle stick to my pantry door, where my comfort foods waited for me to eat them.  Later that same day I got a phone call from a family member.  That phone call upset me and when I hung up the phone the first thing I did was walk straight to the pantry.  I wanted… NEEDED… the peanut butter, chips, cookies…. anything that I could eat that would stuff those emotions all back deep inside me.

And then I saw it…. The popsicle stick.  I stopped.  I did not open the pantry door.  Instead I turned around and sat down on the couch.  And then it hit me!  I am a food addict.  Food was my answer to anything in my life and food was the answer to how I felt about myself and how I dealt with the pain of my abusive childhood. 

That AHA moment changed everything for me.  I realized in that moment that I did not think I was worth it.  I was not worth the effort it would take to lose the weight and get healthy.  I spent my young years and teen years being told just how worthless I was, and I realized in that moment that I believed I WAS worthless.

I knew I needed to change something or I would never succeed at this journey… or at anything in my life.  I sat there and cried.  And then I grabbed my laptop and I began to write what was to become my weight loss journal.  And I titled it “Stop Eating Your Emotions”.  It was while I was writing that I decided I needed to start each morning looking in the mirror and saying 4 words.  Those 4 words are the most empowering words I have EVER said to myself:

I AM WORHT IT!

I started saying those words the next morning.  And I did not believe it.  But I kept saying those 4 words, every morning.  I did not believe them that first week, or the next.  It was a couple of months of saying those 4 very empowering words before I started to believe them.

I am worth it!

I am worth more than that jar of peanut butter.  I am worth more than the chips, cookies, cake, ice cream and candy.  I am worth it to go to my meeting every week and I am worth taking care of.

Those 4 words changed EVERYTHING for me.

It took me another 10 months to lose my last 52 lbs.  I lost 72 lbs to reach my goal weight.  I felt amazing!  I liked myself and I believed I was worth it.

I reached my goal weight on January 10, 2008 and lifetime 6 weeks late on February 14, 2008.  I had done it! 

And while I am now 23 lbs over my goal (I weighed in today and lost another 1 lb for a total of 2.4 lbs in 2 weeks), I KNOW I will NOT go back to the girl I was before Weight Watchers changed my life.  While I forget some days, especially during the difficult times I have had these past few years, that I am worth it, it is easier for me to get back to that mindset, easier to remember that I am worth it! 

I am not that little girl any longer, the girl filled with pain and wanting to stuff the uncomfortable feelings deep inside.  I am not the girl who didn’t care that I was killing myself, slowly.  When tough days come, I remember how far I have come.  The weight has gone up a little, but because of the confidence and self-worth I gained on my journey to goal and because of the tools I keep in my back pocket, I can stop the gain before I lose too much control.  And that is the difference between the “me” of today, and the “me” before Weight Watchers.

I am worth it! 

No matter how imperfect.  No matter how many slips I may have.  I am worth it!  And this journey is worth it! 

I still have the popsicle stick that my leader gave me all those years ago.  It is now tucked away in a keepsake box…. maybe it is time to bring it back out and tape it onto my pantry door…. A gentle reminder that I can do this and that I am worth it!