Sunday, July 18, 2010

It Takes Courage To Do This Thing

Courage - the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery
I can honestly say that my weight loss journey has been one of the most courageous experiences of my life. People don't realize until after they begin this journey just how much guts it takes! The everyday battles of resisting food temptation, exercising even when your body doesn't want to, dealing with people's unwanted comments and opinions, all of this takes courage! And these are just a few examples of some of the struggles you go through while on this journey.

Food Temptation
I am in no means perfect and although I am much happier with my new healthy lifestyle including healthier foods, I do still get tempted! I've never been a "sweets" type of person, I've never been big on desserts and I'm one of the few people who doesn't like chocolate (I can eat some, but for the most part I'm not a chocolate lover at all) so me not eating cookies, cake, ice-cream and other sweets like that doesn't really bother me. I have low calorie options that I eat from time to time but eating the real thing is not a temptation. I am a meat and potatoes type of girl. I love REAL FOOD! Steak, potatoes, french fries, onion rings, macaroni, bread, fried fish, fried chicken, and any type of PASTA! :) That's the type of stuff that got me in trouble and that's the type of food that I am tempted by. Everyone has their temptations and I don't think the answer is to eliminate those foods from your diet completely but find healthier options of the same thing. For example, when I want to eat steak, I get the healthiest type of steaks I can find, thin sliced and heart healthy. Instead of french fries, I'll have a baked potato or baked fries (I cut the potato up in fry like strips, put a little extra olive oil on them, season and bake the strips instead of frying them - my own version of french fries), baked chicken and fish instead of fried, whole wheat, half and half and low carb pasta... there are tons of options you just have to put in the effort to find them.

There's also one saying that I live by when it comes to food temptation that I've found works for me, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Some people don't like hearing that, they counter that with, "I'd rather die happy and fat than thin and miserable". Well once you start eating healthier you actually do crave healthy food and there's only so much unhealthy food that you can even eat (your body just can't take it) so actually, I would be "miserable" eating unhealthy foods at this point. I've been on both sides of the fence, I spent years being overweight and I've been what people consider thin for 1, almost two years, so I can tell you, in my opinion, this side is MUCH BETTER! I can buy any clothes that I want from any store I want! I'M HEALTHY!!! My body is in the best shape of my life! I can basically do anything physically that I want to. My confidence is much better than it was when I was overweight! I had never been a person with low self-esteem but after losing the weight I realized that I did have a somewhat negative view of myself, but all that is gone now. So I can honestly say that for me, nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

Diet + Exercise = Results
Getting your diet in check is only half of the battle, if you don't exercise it really isn't going to work. You may lose some weight but your body needs to move, you've gotta' burn more calories than you take in and the only way to do that is to exercise. You gotta' exercise! Even on those days when you just don't feel like it, you gotta' suck it up and do it anyway. This journey isn't for the weak! You gotta' sum up the courage to put in that exercise dvd into the player, step on that treadmill, get in the car and drive to that gym, walk into that exercise class and get it moving!

And it really does take courage no matter what your method of exercise is. If you're exercising at home you may not think that you really can accomplish anything on your own but oh how untrue that way of thinking is. Like I said before, I never set foot in a gym and lost dozens of pounds. Work up the courage to push play and step out on faith knowing that YOU CAN DO IT!

It takes a lot courage to workout at a gym. I admire any overweight person who can walk into a gym full of already fit people and have the confidence to work out anyway. You would think that the majority of people who workout in a gym would be overweight because those are the people that gym commercials and advertisements are targeting, right? Wrong! Well, you would be right about the marketing strategy, most advertisements are targeting the overweight, but most people are too ashamed to go to the gym while overweight - this wasn't the case for me, I started out at home because I didn't have the money for a gym membership and now that I do I've found that I'm just not a gym person, you've gotta' find what works for you.

No matter what becomes your thing, whether it be working out at home, working out at a gym, joining an exercise group class, it's all about summoning up the courage to do it. Some people wouldn't think that starting an exercise program is such a big deal but it is. Everyone is starting out coming from a different place mentally. This may be the 100th time you've started a program, never succeeding, but it's having the courage to start this one last time and making a commitment that this will be the last time, this time you're going to stay committed and you are going to see results! Or you may have never started a workout program before, this may be your very first time exercising, ever! That can be discouraging, but be brave and give it a try! Everyone was a beginner at some point and that only lasts for a short time. Courage is the word.

Your Opinion Is Neither Desired Nor Required But Thanks Anyway
When you first tell some people of your desire to lose weight and get healthy you might hear, "I don't think you should lose weight, you look fine just the way you are." Well, thank you and this may be true but I don't like the way I'm looking right about now and most importantly, I'm not healthy at the weight I am right now and that's what really counts.

Once you start changing your eating habits and eating healthier foods, don't be surprised when you hear comments like  "What are you eating?!? That looks disgusting!" or "How can you eat that?!?" Well, I was actually enjoying my food until your comments, but thanks. It's amazing how some people can be so rude. To give them the benefit of the doubt, some of the people who will make these types of comments don't even realize how rude and thoughtless their comments are, but it still doesn't make you hearing them feel any better.

After you really start going with your weight loss you will inevitably hear, "You've lost enough weight. You don't need to lose anymore." or "You're already thin, if you lose anymore weight you're going to blow away." I honestly don't know what to make of these types of comments. It's kinda' like a back-handed compliment. How do you even respond to that? Most overweight people are a little insecure to begin with (I know I was) and as you lose weight your confidence builds and you're sense of security grows as well, but comments like that can slide you right back where you started if you let them, suddenly you start thinking, "Am I too thin? Maybe I shouldn't lose anymore weight... I don't want to look weird."  People just don't realize the effects of their comments - you can't take back your words people, so choose them wisely. I've heard all of these comments and more. It's been a learning experience to realize that losing weight is not only courageous but can be a test in patience as well because trying to be the bigger, better person and ignoring these types of comments is not so easy for some of us to do.

You Will Be Victorious!
Whoever said losing weight was easy is a liar. It's not easy, mentally or physically. It's a long road! But it's so worth it in the end and the end is never that far away. Stay strong and keep good courage because the victory will ultimately be yours!

My Definition of Courage:
Committed - A person who has courage is committed to do what he/she has to in order to achieve their goals.
Obedient - A person who has courage is obedient in doing what it takes to succeed.
Unwilling to Give Up - Try, try, and try again! Nothing beats a failure but a try and a person who has courage realizes this. 
Resilient - A person who has courage is able to recoil or spring back after being mentally and/or physically tested.
Ambitious - A person who has courage is an ambitious person, they want the best for themselves.
Giving - A person who has courage is willing to give what it takes to achieve their goals.
Expactant - Expect a change! A person who has courage claims their victory and expects it to come true!


  1. You are SOOOO right! At 67years I'm healthier and more fit than I've been in 20 years! It took me 7 long years to get all the pieces of the puzzle right! Never looking back, never going back. I know the drill, and I'm sticking to it.
    I do however, love my gym time. Nothing calls my dishwasher, microwave, clothes dryer, or phone needing my attention. Just me and getting down to business!!! :)
    Best of luck to both of us! and all who follow in our path.