A Dirty Little Secret

Along the way to weight loss most people have agonizing thoughts, feelings, and frustrations that come up. Why isn’t this happening quicker? Am I doing all that I can? Am I exercising enough and eating the right foods? Maybe I’m eating too much. Maybe I’m eating too little. Shouldn’t I have lost weight by now? The thing is, there’s no magical “right” way. There are things that you can do, such as cutting back on portions, eating whole foods and not processed foods, and increasing your physical activity, but unless you’re keeping meticulous data on your food, exercise, flexibility, rest, etc. and vying for first place as Ms. Fitness USA there’s no set schedule at which your body is going to respond. You can keep copious amounts of notes like this as if you were a lab rat, but really, if you’re not trying to win a trophy for your ability to flex your greased up muscles in a gold lame’ bikini this is just going to drive you crazy.

The dirty little truth about weight loss is that the more you obsess about it the less likely it’s going to happen. If you’re calculating how many calories you ate and therefore how many calories you need to burn through exercise you’re never living in the moment. And by not living in the moment you’re sabotaging your efforts, because all of this obsessing takes away your intuition. And what that does is causes you to fall off the wagon. If you’re faced with a yummy piece of gooey chocolate cake (or a steak for you weirdos who don’t like cake) and your inner monologue rambles on about how you really want it and wish you could have it, but you don’t want to sacrifice the calories and then feel guilty and then have to work out extra and then possibly go out of control and eat not only one piece, but 3 pieces, etc. etc., then you might not have that piece of cake now, but eventually that desire will sneak up on you when your guard is down and you’ll end up eating those 3 pieces of cake you were originally afraid of having. Had you just had that piece offered to you when you could you would have felt like you satisfied a craving and later on you wouldn’t have felt deprived. You might even surprise yourself and see that you were satisfied with just a couple of bites and don’t really need the whole thing.

By not listening to your body you end up making all the wrong choices. And you take away all the pleasure in life. It’s kind of like when people play games when they’re dating. What your head tells you is never as accurate as what the heart wants. The heart wants what it wants and you can’t change that. With weight loss, you need to listen to your gut. I’m not saying that you should always give into temptation, but if you listen to your body, remain active, eat whole foods, and control your portions the weight will come off. It might not be as quickly as you thought it would be, but be persistent, have some patience, and whatever you do, don’t obsess.

“Oh Dani”, you’re saying to yourself, “you make it seem so easy, but it’s not.” I know it’s not easy, so what I want you to do is find something else to focus on other than losing weight. When I started training for my first half-marathon back in December I thought that it was just going to be another way for me to try to tone my legs up, but I was in for a huge surprise when I realized how much I was learning about myself and how far I realized I had come. It was so much more to me than simply fitting into a nice pair of skinny jeans. It was incredibly moving for me to see how far I’d come in my life and that 10 years ago I never thought I would be crossing the finish line of a half-marathon. I saw my life flash before my eyes. For me, that moment was so emotional and no size 4 could ever make me feel that way. My legs did get more toned and people did start to notice, but looking back on all that hard work is what’s important. Slimming down a bit was just the topping on my Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

What is another goal that you would like to see happen that doesn’t involve being thinner? Maybe you want to be able to do 10 “guy” push-ups, or be able to run a 5k, or even just be able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded. Focusing on something else other than your dress size will show you that you are succeeding, make you feel accomplished, and show you that there’s more to life than just what size you are. Along the way I bet you’ll drop a few pounds too.

be the tortoise

At about 3 this morning a gurgling sound coming from somewhere in my house woke me up, but I figured it was just that kooky toilet making noise and it would stop on its own. It either did or I fell back asleep and didn’t notice, because at 7am, Billiam, my dog came into the bedroom to wake me up. This caused me to shoot right out of bed, because he only jumps over the baby gate by the stairs when Ozzie, my other dog gets sick. I headed for the stairs and even before I walked down them I could tell that Ozzie wasn’t sick, but my sewage drain was. There was black sewage (yup, that’s right, the kind that comes from toilets) all over my downstairs floor, carpet, and half-way into my training studio.

Normally this would put me right into a panic, but for some reason I just took it as it was and dealt with each thing as it came up. First, I called the plumber, and if any of you think that an emergency plumber means they’ll be there within a 1/2 hour, you’re way wrong. I had to call about 10 different companies before one said they’d be there within a half hour (it was 60 minutes actually). He pumped, sucked, vacuumed, and cleaned, and about 2 hours later he left. He left me with a mostly clean floor, but then I had to get on my hand and knees and scrub other people’s poop out of the grout on my tiles with a toothbrush.

Why am I telling you this? Because it made me think that patience really is a virtue. Had I freaked out and lost control I would be stressed out and upset, but that wouldn’t change the fact that I had poop streaming down my floor and that I had to clean it up. Losing weight slowly is so much better than losing it quickly, because you will keep it off for years to come. Be nice to yourself and don’t try to rush things. If you slip up don’t panic, learn from what went wrong and pick up your perseverance again. And most importantly, take things as they come and don’t look too far ahead. Looking too far into the future leaves too many possibilities and it becomes too overwhelming. Just pay attention to the here and now and do what you can little by little. Be the tortoise not the hare.

Oh, and the silver lining… I now have a sparkling floor!