Last year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had a career shift. It happens to the best of us. Corporate downsizing. Survival of the fitness and all the jazz. After fifteen years of service, I found myself out of a job. Since then, I’ve bounced back. I’m working again…but NOT for the same company and certainly NOT at the same insane intensity. A good thing! I used to be away from home 50-70 hrs a week. Now, I actually SEE my family.
“Who’s that lady in the kitchen? Is she homeless or something? Is that a bag lady? She looks strangely…familiar.”
“Noooo! Don’t you recognize her? It’s MOM!”
Before I lost my job, I noticed my weight was slowly creeping up. I LOVE food. It’s delicious. It’s comforting. When everything else is going wrong, when everyone else seems like they’ve deserted you, that bag of chips…isn’t going anywhere! They’re so good! Those donuts in the break room are your friends. They don’t care how bad you feel. They don’t judge you. Chocolate has NEVER let me down.
I don’t mind the extra weight. I can still fit into most of my clothing. I carry the weight well. I’m fairly tall. The weight is evenly distributed. My knees, on the other hand, are complaining. Loudly! My feet are grumbling and cursing. I put on an extra 20 lbs, a little at a time. And since my career shift, I found 13 more! That’s…33 lbs heavier than where I’d like to be.
That’s a 20 lb bag of kitty litter, plus a BIG bag of cat food.
Yeah! That’s about how much extra weight I have on me.
And I’m carrying those bags with me.
All. Day. Long.
Going to the mailbox? I’ll just lug this bag of kitty litter and my BIG bag of cat food with me. I’m taking them EVERYWHERE! I’m taking them to the movies. I’m taking them to work. I’m taking them on that walk around the block. (Because I’d like to get fit?) Look at me! I got 33 lbs of cat supplies with me…but I don’t know why my knees hurt? I don’t know why my feet are so sore? I don’t know why it’s so hard to climb up and down the stairs? It couldn’t have ANYTHING to do with all this extra weight…could it?
I’ve seen diet gurus visually demonstrate weight gain with everything from sticks of butter to gallons of milk. I’m not sure if any of them questioned how how many bags of dog food that is? Or water softer salt? (Those suckers are HEAVY!!!) Or cat litter? Need inspiration to lose weight? Find something around your house with approximately the same weight as you’d like to lose, and pick it up. Now imagine…carrying that weight with you. EVERYWHERE. Think about it! You’re going carry a bag of dog food with you and go to the mall? You want to play outside with the kids or grand-kids while carrying around that jug of laundry detergent?
I know I’m going to sound trite and cliche, but… Let it go! Set it down! Stop carrying around all of those extra bags.
I know. I KNOW! Easier said than done. And yet, I was talking to a coworker who proudly proclaimed that they were fed up with being overweight. He said, “I’m going to lose 30 lbs. Ask me how.” So of course I asked, “How?” He said, “I’m going to lose 30 lbs…in 9 years. Who’s with me? Who wants to join my weight loss plan? We could all lose weight…TOGETHER!” We all laughed at first. Nine years? A nine year diet plan? Then he pointed out that in general, most diet plans are unrealistic. Everyone wants to shed their extra weight too quickly, then hope they can keep it off. But a nine year plan…that’s a LONG time. That’s only 3.3 lbs of weight loss per year. Anyone can do that! And honestly, what difference does it make? If I stopped worrying so much and just shed the weight slowly, a little at a time…I could FINALLY drop the 33 lbs of extra weight I’ve been carrying. It’s not like any of us put on our extra weight overnight. The goal is to drop the weight in a realistic time frame.
So yes, I’m in! I’ve accepted the 9 year challenge. It’s the new joke around work and at Yonder Hoffman Haus:
I’m losing 33 lbs…in NINE years.
But…just by giving myself permission to lose the weight at a snail’s pace, to NOT have a “perfect diet plan,” to make a joke of it, to NOT beat myself up over every morsel of food that enters my mouth… Umm…yeah… I’ve already lost 5 lbs. Sure, it was a SLOW 5 lbs, but I’m not stressed out. I’m laughing at myself. I’m laughing at my goal. I’m having fun with this! I’m enjoying my weight loss. I don’t feel like I’m taking on an impossible task. This is probably the easiest and silliest diet challenge I’ve ever encountered. My inner Perfectionist LOVES it! I’m 5 lbs lighter than I was when I started, that puts me almost a YEAR ahead of schedule!!! YAY!!!!! My inner Procrastinator is quite pleased. Nine years? That’s a LONG time from now! I’m not afraid of failure, thanks to the outrageously long time frame. My knees feel better. My jeans fit better. And because it was a SLOW 5 lbs, there aren’t any excuses to ruin my thunder. It doesn’t count because it was probably just water weight? Pfft!!! I laugh at your water weight! I lost approximately one small bag of cat food, or 1/3 of a BIG bag of cat food. I’m NOT taking it with me to the mailbox, or to work, or out to the movies. Not anymore!
Anyone else ready to take on the NINE year diet challenge? Let me know in the comments! :)
Have an awesome day! xo Juli
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*Legal Mumbo-jumbo: I am NOT a doctor, dietitian, nurse, palm reader, etc. Please check in with someone who is QUALIFIED before taking on any new diet/exercise routine. Thanks!