It’s funny, but trying to lose weight is a process that opens you up to many of the unknown parts of yourself. I have discovered, for instance, just how much I really dislike exercise.
It’s not that I would rather be sedentary and sit on the couch staring into space, but rather that structured workouts feel so... forced.
When I’m outside walking the dog, cleaning my apartment or vacuuming my car – during which I actually do use muscles and can work up a sweat – it feels much more natural. Climbing onto my exercise bike, however, and pushing myself to stay on it for 30 or 40 minutes is like diving into an ice-cold lake and remaining in there although every inch of my body screams in protest.
I have also learned that it’s easier to pace myself in terms of trying to eat healthy instead of leaping to make an entire lifestyle change all at once. To demonstrate, I can’t go from eating a few sweets one day to cutting them out completely the next. So my solution is to take each day minute by minute, without planning a whole 24 hour period starting at seven in the morning. If I’m hungry at two in the afternoon and need a snack - which I generally do - I take it as it comes.
I’m not one to sit down, plan each meal for the day and then stick to it without any flexibility. I do much better if I let the day evolve at its own leisure and respond to my body’s needs as they arise rather than as I expect them to be.
The Woman in the Mirror
And I’ve discovered it’s much easier to be unkind to myself and my mirror reflection than to be gentle and accepting, but the former is so counterproductive. So I am trying to see me, the real me, when I look in the mirror without wrinkling my nose in disdain at the way my flesh falls.
My theory is that if I can love myself for being just the way I am, then I can finally expect that same kind of love from others. This means learning not to compare myself to women who are thinner, wear their clothes with more style or have longer locks than I.
I’m not going to lie, however, and say this is easy, because it isn’t.
It’s a battle that I struggle to win every day, and if I let my guard down for even a moment, I’m doomed. But the comparison game is one I’ll never win, so it’s time to bow out gracefully and accept that I’m me for reasons that have nothing to do with exploiting my shortcomings.
With all of these lessons in mind, I’ve only lost four pounds since I began this venture.
Learning to Be Strong
I’m not discouraged, though, because I know why I haven’t been overly successful. The truth is that I’m on a journey to become better acquainted with myself as I am right now without worrying about diet and exercise 24 hours a day.
Since leaving my husband, I’ve realized my self confidence is in desperate need of a makeover, and while losing weight is sure to help me, I now see that deeper issues also need to be confronted. So I’m slowly examining my habits and trying to integrate weight loss with self improvement. And improving myself starts with acknowledging my strengths so I can realize my own worth and, in the process, discover who I am.