I was tall, skinny and underweight for most of my life, but pregnancy, child-rearing, sedentary jobs and middle age saw my weight increase over the years. Late last year I reached a stage where my weight became annoying. My clothes had ‘shrunk’ and I was feeling uncomfortable. My BMI had tipped into the overweight category and bloating had become a concern. When I saw my immediate boss lose a large amount of weight over half a year and increase his fitness I decided it was time to do something. He warned me that it had been hard work and he and his wife had totally changed their lifestyle and eating habits.
My liver function had tipped me into ‘fatty liver’, finally identifying the cause of upper stomach bloating present for the past few years. I has been avoiding gluten and lactose and eventually soy on most occassions, and while it helped, i still included it in my diet in some form, as well as refined sugars. I joined a gym and started reading about healthy eating and fitness. I wasn’t interested in following a ‘diet’ per se. But I did want to lose some weight and the bloating and increase my flexibility and strength. Seems I wasn’t the only one motivated to get fit. It’s always interesting how we notice others who are doing the same as we are, but prior to any life change we don’t seem to. Our focus changes and brings different things into our ‘circle’ of consciousness.
My decision was to make a complete lifestyle change, not just for awhile. I set my goals and started well. I lost about 5kgs in 5 months. A bit slower than I’d hoped but definitely noticeable. Another 10 will put me in the mid range of healthy for my height and bring back slim. Of course most of that is sitting around my middle and a result of baby belly hanging around forever and sliding into post menopause. Our bodies really do change at this stage of life. But the 5 is visibly noticeable to myself snd others. I’m rather amazed how so ‘little’ in many ways can be so noticeable.
Looking back over the past few weeks, its easy to see how old habits can slip back in. I got frustrated by the lack of movement on the scales, the autumn hours of lessening daylight, long hours driving with work, and a pile of other excuses. My motivation fluctuated and by evening my long days had tired me out. I had got bored with it and the drop on the couch by end of day was too inviting. Its easy to swap the healthy habit for the whatever habit. My weight had stabilised, my exercising stopped and I was lucky to walk 5000 steps a day. I was bringing in bad food again. Iced coffee, chai latte, licorice, and jubes are my killers. Skipping proper meals in favour of frozen snacks is a disaster. The the stomach started to tighten as the bloating returned somewhat and the scales crept up one kilo.
Rather than giving in I took this as an indication that if I want change, then I must do what I had decided needs doing. Time to get out my food diary, unwritten in for a few weeks, grab out my motivation notebook, and revisit what I had written. It’s also an opportunity to stop and assess what was working that I have since stopped doing, and what really doesn’t agree with my system. The choice is do I want to stay healthy or return to the ‘yukky’ feeling.
Back to my goal statement, back to my ‘list’ for this year. When I decided it was time for a change, I wrote a list of goals, activities and attitudes, and placed it in my notebook and on the wall of my home office. But the notebook was closed and sitting amongst a pile of others and I wasnt working from home much. Now with my car in for hail repairs, I have a few days working from home and the opportunity to revisit and get back on my path.
This is what life is about. Determining where we want to go and how we are going to get there. What the path looks like. Life style changes are exactly that, a change in the style of life we lead. Throwing out the old and replacing with new thoughts, actions and directions. What has been constant in my mind is that if we take a break from our path, we can always get back on again. We can choose to quit, to keep going, to take a break and get back again. Ultimately the decision is ours alone and every excuse is just that, an excuse. Bottom line, do we want the change or are we doing it for others? When its our own decision, we can easily get back on the path. When its not, its very easy to quit. Either way requires effort, conscious choices, sacrifices (or so we can choose to think) and rewards. But ultimately when we choose for our own self, we make the changes in our life that we want.