I didn’t let myself GO – I let myself FREE

Prior to the pandemic, I was in my stylist’s chair for hours every 5 weeks.  Every three months the process of highlighting was even longer.  For YEARS prior, my husband and daughter tried to convince me to go gray.  They said it would be amazing.  (My son wisely said once after being asked if he liked my new highlights, that he doesn’t notice my hair so much as my mood.  If I’m happy, he assumes all is good with my hair.)   I’ve been graying since early 20s slightly and much more forcefully in my 40s.  But the pandemic hit and I had an opportunity.  I didn’t have an opportunity with my jobs not to be seen – LOTS of people saw this process – a process, by the way, that my hairdresser told me she could soften and make easier.  I said no.

But I then imagined something.  Do me a favor and make believe (remember how fun it was being told to make believe?) that there was never any hair dye – ever.  No one ever invented it.  No one ever used anything to color their hair.  The world was without that one piece.  (If any of you ever saw the movie Yesterday, this is a concept they put in the movie – a world without The Beatles, cigarettes, Coke and so on.) So every person’s hair was authentically theirs – balding, blonde, brunette, streaked from sun, silver, red.   Everyone would have their color hair – a color as unique as they are (opposed to the thousands who have the exact same dye number on theirs.) And their hair would age along with their skin and their bodies.   Now imagine in this world, if ANYONE would associate gray with “grandma”.  They wouldn’t.  You wouldn’t.  It would be a realistic expectation that as we got older there would be a lot of silver going around.  Some brilliant marketing and a multi-billion dollar industry and we are convinced we all look younger if we don’t have it.  I believed this to my core.  Neil has no grays and I wouldn’t let mine go because I didn’t want it to look like Aunt Marci is taking little Neil to a movie.   I sat with my hairdresser and a calendar when big trips would be and we moved backwards so my hair would be PERFECT.  

Fast forward to this pandemic.  There are a lot of negative things about this pandemic but letting my hair free wasn’t one of them.  I’m pretty vain and put a high price on beauty.  I love my makeup, having my hair colored, doing things to my features (including my hair) to look beautiful – or as best as I could.   So was it hard to be on Zoom with this line of gray/brown?  Yes. But one of my core values is connection and I was not only NOT going hide from people, but I wanted them to see this process.   I wanted them to see that it can be done with a smile, with some humor, with some class. 

This week in WW workshops we’re talking about body confidence.  This can be a very touchy and vulnerable subject for everyone.  But the technique is adjusting the mindset from looks to what your body can do.  (For example, going from seeing big bulky legs to seeing the legs that allows you to walk or run or hike.)  I would look in the mirror and from 2 weeks in from the hair appointment, I’d see roots.  I hated them.  I was a prisoner.  My hair became this burden.  And the pandemic allowed my already-strong mindset to say – NOW.  Now is the time to release the burden of a calendar of appointments.   And this decision was followed by months of this line getting bigger and more pronounced (in my head as well as on my head!) and I joined Facebook groups to talk me in to keeping it.  To support each other.  I found strength.  I found women who were still unsure and asking others to help them.  I felt like I was watching the strongest people reach out their virtual hand and say to each other, we can accept and move forward together.  It was mind boggling and beautiful.  Throughout the process – even when I hated that stupid line in my hair, I got comments from strangers.  Some of them ridiculous and rude.  But most have been positive.  And since the transition, I’ve received more compliments on my hair from family, friends, and strangers.    

Our society and culture and family gives us messages:

fat is unhealthy
curvy is beautiful, but only to a point
fat people are lazy
wear this
don’t wear that
women who are gray are letting themselves go
men who are gray are silver foxes – distinguished

Guess what?  The stuff people can see about us doesn’t even come close to what makes us US.  Not even close.  If I walk into a job interview with my gray hair some people might judge.  But the right people won’t fear experience.  But I don’t worry about that because part of this process is owning myself – more authentically each year.  (I’m not 100% there yet!)  Plus I really don’t want to expend any energy on those who only are judging me by what they DO see.  I want my circle to be those willing to go deeper to find out what they aren’t seeing.

I’m a compassionate, connected, loving and strong woman married to my best friend.  I love speaking in 3rd person for fun. I have emotional problems and successes.  I’m Jewish and a proud mom.  I have two jobs I adore.  I have kids who are adults and have their own mishigas (craziness in Yiddish) and I love people and bacon and dogs and chocolate and coffee and the sound of M&Ms being poured in a crystal bowl.  I practice gratitude but might smack someone who told me to look at the good in every situation.  I get angry at politics and dehumanization of people and groups and bullies and stupidity and closed minds.  I love loving people.  

I also have gray hair. 



Dear Ma….20 years? Really?


Goodness….it’ll be 20 years since you’ve left this world.  But did you really?  I can still feel your heart beat when I remember resting my head on your chest.  I can still feel your hands when you reached to give me your touch.  I hear your words, the accent, the tones.  Yeah, you had a few tones, didn’t you? 

But 20 years is a long time without a phone call a true hug, a meal together, a tissue box movie together, a temple visit together, a sleepover, a confidence-boosting talk (on both sides).  Although I feel you in all these things I do, the magic you gave all of us is still here, but sometimes there’s a screen in front – or is that the blurriness from tears?  We carry on (no choice there and you’d be ticked off if we didn’t) but I still miss you holding me so close.  You hugged like no other.

Death interrupted my plans.   When you died, it felt like I lost my anchor.  This is the cost of having someone worth missing.  Yes, I hear you telling me that’s ridiculous. “I gave you a backbone for you to walk straight without me, Mawcee!” In fact all your lessons was to give your family the confidence and reliance to live without you.  It actually is the best gift I’ve ever received – self reliance.  You didn’t always have it, but you taught it. But it also makes me miss you more.  We get moments, you know, when we need reminding and sometimes I search for you or pick up the phone and dammit, you’re not there.  And in some rare moments I find myself envying all these other women my age with moms who are alive.  There are photos of them doing things together.  But then I remember a few things:  one – it’s okay to feel that envy and I stay in it for a few minutes, but also that I had you.  I had YOU – the best there was – for 39 years.  Although not long enough, look at what you did for me in that short time?  More than many do in double the years.  I had you. I still have you.  It’s hard to say that my love outlived my loved one, but the love still stands.   

I recently saw Dad and watched him struggle with finding some memories and realize I do that, too. I can’t piece them together and fear they’re lost forever.  But they aren’t lost forever.  Sometimes memories need to be protected under the covers, like I did.  I know they’ll peak out when I need them most.  You always gave me what I needed – not necessarily what I wanted – and I consider it the same situation with these precious memories.  I’ll touch something, smell something, and hear something and voilà – you’re there bringing me that memory (but never wrapped and usually without a note or just one that said one word – Love.)  When I want to reminisce, I want all the memories at my fingertips, but maybe the memory of the Halloween baked potato with Ric, and a Girl Scout camping trip with BarB (with American Chop Suey) and so many books you lent me and told to me are all memories hiding together under a blanket and will pop out when we need them most. 

I had planned (in my head) to go up to Maryland for this 20th anniversary and put some stones on your stone but realized that you’ve never been there.  I’ve never felt you there.  You’re in my kitchen, in my kids’ smiles, watching An Affair to Remember or Pillow Talk with me with a box of tissues next to us and me laying my head on your chest, you’re eating dumplings with chop sticks at my table, you’re changing your eye glasses, you’re telling me about every friend of yours and their children.  You kept up with all the children – your own and all others.  I know you’re watching them. I know you’re watching us as we all grow and learn.  And when I don’t feel your hug when I think I need it most, I know – I KNOW – you’re hurting when your loved ones are hurting.  I could waste my breath and say I wish you were here longer for my kids.  But you’d tell me not to wish my life different. 

I imagine that in your Heaven you are reading to the children, having book clubs with the authors, hanging out with your nearest and dearest  and looking and watching us make our lives, stumbling or thriving each day. “Hey, that move – all me!” I imagine you saying how proud you are of the kids and Neil and me.  I can hear it in your voice and feel you in my soul. 

Recently I learned a concept about heart brain coherence.  I won’t sit and explain as I have much more to learn, but it’s there that I find you.  And when I breathe in and out a certain way feeling my heart expand, you’re there and you’re comfortable there.  It’s where I’ll keep you so you can help me breathe and expand and grow and love – myself and others – the way you taught me to.  Death rewrote the script, but it’s a script I’m getting very good at.  It’s a road I’ve lived for much of my life.   And I’m able to help others on the pathway – the way that you’d want me to.    

I’ll close this as you closed all your notes – without a name, without a salutation – just “Love.” 

Feel. Notice. Sit with. Question.

^^^^^^ This is bullshit. Excuse the language – or don’t, but I do not always want to feel motivated and I don’t always want to be disciplined. This all or nothing garbage thinking had me reach a very self-judgy place. If I’m not either, am I lazy? I don’t have to be ANYTHING all the time. I don’t have to be happy, grateful, determined, motivated, lazy, encouraging – anything ALL the time.

This human experience is complex. It’s cyclical and messy and our phases don’t have to have dotted lines going from point A to point B. We are living in a squiggly line world and that’s okay. That’s better than okay – that’s authentic.

Each time I’m in pain or frustration, I do not have to think – “this is a God moment, He’s teaching me something.” Or “What’s the positive in this situation?” I can just be in the pain or frustration or the angry or the happy or the sad or the frustrated or the calm. (Have you never noticed why we never question life when we’re calm? That can’t be good!) Sometimes we’re not ready to feel taught or grateful.

What I’m learning as I’m noticing (powerful word that “noticing” word!) is that I do not have to give words to the feelings. That was/is hard for me as I love words and always search for the right ones. Sometimes the right ones are none at all. I’m pretty sure (I’m 58 and somewhat new in this noticing practice) that when you respect the feelings (and there are no negative feelings – there are HUMAN feelings) that are UNCOMFORTABLE and feel and honor and give them pause and say “hey, I see you; I feel you” what follows is wonderful. If then those other more pleasant ones arrive, they are FAR more pleasant. So what I’m noticing is that when I finish sitting with the uncomfortable feeling (again – not GOOD or BAD), my comfortable feelings feel greater than they did before. Talk about appreciation.

Of course I want to be motivated. Of course I want to be determined to accomplish my goals. I don’t want to just sit and feel and document all I’m feeling. I need to coach myself with the follow ups – well, Marci, what will you do next with what you’ve noticed?

Pandemic learning

In my Facebook memories are beautiful moments of travel (damn – I was in Hawaii and Connecticut and Virginia), of studio workshops and member comments, of company at my house, of my kids here of dogs playing.   

During this pandemic it’s easy to look back and think, life’s all broken now.  Will I ever _____ again?   Will I ever feel the same way as ____ again?

The answer is no.  But it’s because moments in time are as unique as snowflakes.  I might have company – it will be different.  I might travel – it will be different.  When I go back to WW studios, it IS different.  (I went this morning to celebrate a 50 lb loss for a member!  It was clean and safe and socially-distanced, but different.) 

Being at home and saying no to many things to keep safe has had an impact on many people’s mental health – mine included.  We cancel more and more and postpone planning more and more and what happens is that we can go too far inward.  I’ve emotionally eaten.  I’ve emotionally lashed out.  I’ve emotionally rested.  All the while I was thinking I need to move past the emotions instead of sitting with them.  Once I started sitting with them, turning towards the part that felt a little broken or tender or just plain bad and staying with them like I would a hurt child…. I found some valuable information inside.   Not information to put in to words, but more valuable “Marci” information I will use to go forward. 

This is what I’ve learned this week.  

What if this is the new normal?

When I was a new mother one of the best pieces of advice I received was “Don’t rush any of the stages.  Never say “I can’t wait til _____.  Relish in each stage, they’ll go so fast.”  What great advice it was, even though some of those stages were painful!  But living in the moment is very good advice.

What if this is our new normal?  I know it is for now, but truly there are many who will never be able to go back to their pre-pandemic normal.  They might have lost their income, their family, their spouse, their friends, their homes, their food sources, their sanity.  I sat in a workshop tonight where we talked about what is and what is not in our control and when, at the end, where we were declaring our intent for the week someone wrote that their intent was to treat this temporary time as if it wasn’t temporary.  How freaking beautiful is that?  We can take it in a million directions, but when we hunker down and start accepting things, that’s where we can make the most impact on ourselves.

I remember the day it occurred to me that although I might not have a weight problem, I’ll have a food problem for the rest of my life.  It was simultaneously depressing and liberating because it allowed me to accept and make changes and use some tools to manage the situation.   Surviving addicts will tell you that they had to own the responsibility of a problem in order to start recovery.  They have to face the fact that they have a new normal and it didn’t include whatever the behavior was that got them to the word “recovery.”  When people get a diagnosis of a disease, they have a plan to deal with it.  It might include surgery or medication or pain management – but they have a new normal.

So I ask again – what if this is our new normal?  What would be the good things?  What would be the hard things?  What would you need to change in YOUR life?  What mindset shift would need to happen? I ask this honestly because this wasn’t a concept that I was even entertaining in my head – and for that reason I wasn’t doing this in a healthy (mentally or physically) way.  But, if I shift gears and say –“This is it – this is the way it’s going to be – how am I going to create my life the way I want it to look?” then I might get somewhere – I might actually achieve and accomplish and practice self care and live a life that’s not temporary.

Covid 19 – Isn’t it just novel….

I come in contact with a lot of people with both my jobs.  And I’ve seen, as many of us have, many different reactions to what’s going on.  It’s okay.  Not all of us process information the same, in fact, none of us do.

Of course we have different opinions on the severity.   That’s okay, too.  This is unprecedented.  And we have to find our way – individually and together.

Me?  I’m a worrier.  I worry about those who were having a hard time BEFORE this all started and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.   I worry about those immuno-compromised.  I worry about these parents who won’t be able to pay for food and bills and have to stay home to care for their kids out of school – not knowing when things will change. I’m worried about how the people who are working health care and officers of the law who must work and are facing the sick and the ones who are truly in danger.  I worry about many different people for many different reasons.  I worry about my friends who are extraverts and are somewhat isolated.  I worry the Internet might go down.  (I told you – I’m a worrier!)

But here’s the thing.  I’ve used the word before and it’s true.   This is unprecedented.  And here’s another thing.  This virus is only fatal to few – can you just imagine if it were numbers up to 20-30-40%?  We are being inconvenienced.  We are told we can’t ____ and as people, we’re not good at hearing that we can’t ____. We stomp our feet and whine and complain.  There are people who will lose jobs over this.  There are people who will be very negatively impacted over this.  This is SERIOUS.  But I’m watching the 5 stages of death as described by Elisabeth Kubler Ross:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

We can’t rush the stages, but we can recognize them.  And while some of us might be farther ahead than others, please help those who aren’t.  Help understand that we can’t be told to just accept and move on.  We have to go through a process.

What can we do in the mean time?  While this process goes through our brains, we can listen.  We can nourish – ourselves and others – physically and emotionally! We can connect with those around us.  We can turn off the outside and reach inside.  We can turn off the inside to reach out for the outside.  We can get creative.  We can grow as people, as students of the world, as mentors, as providers.  We can reach out to our neighbor to see where we can help them.  We can cook and color and love and sleep and learn and read and run and breathe.  We can give each other room and come in closer to each other when we come out of this.  And we will come out of this.  And some may have a form of PTSD.  And we need to practice patience for that, too.

I’d love for all of us to be on the same page.  But in the same way that there’s angst in our diversity (we see that politically and socially), there is beauty there, too.  I ask patience for while I go through this as well and please call on me to help you with yours.  We can sit in angst and worry together, have a virtual glass of wine or coffee over FaceTime, collaborate on ideas and recipes – whatever.  We’re in this together, apart.  Let’s be apart together.


Say yes to you

We walk in to WW because we want something. We might want a new clothing size, a lower cholesterol, fewer pains in our joints, to be healthier, or even to be an example to our kids.

BBQ, candy, cookies, bread – all are on the plan with WW. There is no cheating since nothing is off the table. But if we say every time, “sure, I can have it, since it’s not off the table” then we’re not eating according to our goals.

I’ve noticed that as a society, we’re very in-the-moment. We want immediate gratification. When we see something, we’re not saying “no.” We’re not even saying, “not now.” People are buying food, cars, clothes, etc., because we’re making it SO easy and I’m noticing… well, we’re easy. We’re easily enabled.

But what would happen to your weight loss journey if we started saying “Yes” to your goals and “no, thank you” to the behaviors that might hinder them? What if we switched our thinking – shifted our mindset – to each time we’re faced with that over-the-budget indulgence we’re not saying no to the food, but saying no to going over budget.

When we say yes or no to food, we give food power. When we say yes or no to our behaviors, we give ourselves power.


Mindset and Balance: my 2019 words of the year

Over Christmas dinner, my extended family were talking about this commercial or that one and I looked at my husband and realized… hmmm.  Haven’t seen ANY of those! I’m somewhat thrilled that the times now that I watch TV, it’s usually recorded or on a streaming service.  I rarely see commercials.

But I can guarantee that all the weight loss companies are full on advertising right now.  You know the ones – a bikini-clad young woman, a group of runners in sexy shorts and sports tops, a celebrity that is in top shape telling you that they ate all the meals and they were “DEE-LICIOUS” and lost all the weight in hardly any time at all.  And I can also guarantee is that those companies are “promising” and “guaranteeing”.  Here’s a tip.  If you hear those two words, you should probably run the other direction.  And if companies are “promising or guaranteeing” that the results are out of the ordinary or too good to be true, please please please do not let that little button of insecurity and desperation allow you to undo years of science and logic and experience.  You see, that’s what they do.  There are marketing teams all throughout those boardrooms (or closets or living rooms or whatevers) that use our insecurities against us and to sell sell sell.  “Here, take this pill, use this cream, buy these meals and lose 17 pounds in a week!”  You’re smarter than that.  And no matter HOW you feel, the one thing I know is that you’re truly not desperate.  And if you, in fact, DID lose that much in a week, you’ll probably be sick and most likely not keep that weight off.

Logic rarely sells weight loss products.  Emotions sell weight loss products.

Although I judge these products often, I do not judge all of the people who use them.  Our buttons were pushed.  We believed that THIS is just the START we need and “once I get a good weight loss, then I’ll do something more sensible.”  Who hasn’t said that?  I know I have.  “I just need to do something really strict and fast FIRST and then I’ll do <insert whatever sensible plan here> afterwards.”

Why do we need to do anything before we do sensible? Why are we not so completely respectful of our bodies that the only thing we’d even consider doing is sensible?  I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I know we aren’t there – YET.  We’re not sensible.  We’ve been trained by our society to be divisive on everything including cats or dogs, politics, religion and definitely weight loss.

Who among you do NOT know that moderation in food and activity helps us lose and maintain weight?  We all know this and just don’t want to do the work because, you know, it is work (a 4-letter word).  No one I know wants to lose weight.  No one.  We want to lose weight AND keep that weight off so we don’t have to do it again.  I’ve never had a member asking me to help them lose weight now so they can put it back on in December.  We want it magically to happen, but we know that it won’t.  So, we spend our hard-earned money on magic and it works in the beginning and then it doesn’t work and then a horrible thing happens…. we blame ourselves and not the plan we chose, that we failed.  “If I just stuck with it, I would have succeeded.  It’s me.  I can’t stick with anything.  I’m a failure!”  That’s insecurity.   You are not a failure for not sticking out a plan that is not sustainable.  Let me repeat that.


The difference between a diet and a life is what we think when we mess up.  It’s that simple.

For years I thought the magic word was “sustainability.”  But there is no magic word.  And if there is, it would be MINDSET.

Mindset is what helps us choose to do hard things. Mindset gives us determination.  (Please, folks, do not rely on motivation as it’s a completely fickle emotion.) Mindset is what helps us acknowledge what we have.  Mindset focuses success in different ways OTHER than the number on the scale. Mindset allows gratitude and forgiveness of choices and playfulness and accountability and the desire to work for our goals. Mindset allows for balance and balance is the other magic word.

Balance means if I want cake for dinner, I probably shouldn’t start my day with pancakes. Balance means I could take a brisk walk on Monday, but practice restorative yoga on Tuesday.  It means I wear a fun dress and heels on Friday – just because, but sweat pants on Saturday and sit on the couch.  It means I’m not perfect and I’m not supposed to be.  Balance and mindset say that a bad eating meal or day isn’t the end of my world.  And it doesn’t mean I failed.  Mindset allows for balance.

The problem with most of these plans are that they make you think that you need to compartmentalize diet and exercise with mindset and balance.  And that may be what sells their product at first, but it’s not what creates a life that’s worth living. Reality tells you that if you can’t mesh these things together, you’ll never sustain anything.

When we focus on the mindset, we recognize that not all days are perfect, but we’re appreciating our moments.  Some days we’ll focus on healthy foods and some days we’ll focus on finding activities that we like.  If we don’t, then we haven’t **yet** but doesn’t mean we won’t.  There is a power that comes from sensibility and a growth mindset that just because we haven’t achieved something, doesn’t mean we won’t.  We just haven’t.  Yet.  When we focus on mindset, we realize we’re not on or off our plan just because we overate.  We’re just in need of balance.

With the new year comes the gorgeousness that is the blank slate.  All the junk leaves the house and replacing it comes workout materials and new cooking appliances that will help us live a healthier life.  Our sensible mind sets up this new year (sometimes in the form of a resolution) and starts off with a bang.  There is MAGIC in the beginning of something.  So full of hope.  And then things happen.  And the magic goes away.  Is there a way to see all the days of this coming year with magic?  There is if we focus on mindset.

You will not change the way you live unless you change the way you look at life.


Happy Anniversary to ME!

12 years ago I didn’t pick up a prescription for a statin.
12 years ago my husband knew to take pictures of me “chest up”.
12 years ago I found myself staring in to a Costco size bag of UTZ potato chips finding it empty and that I ate them all.

12 years ago I walked in to Weight Watchers as a Lifetime member over goal.  This was my 6th time joining WW, and 5th time walking in to join as a Lifetime member over goal. At the age of 25 I joined to fit in to my wedding dress.  I didn’t have a lot to lose, lost it, and fit in to the dress.  Each time I joined, the pounds that I regained brought friends and I always had more to lose and it seemed so overwhelming – the amount of work I had in front of me.  So, for those that have lost and gained over and over, I get it.  I understand.

I wish I could tell you that I knew this time would be THE ONE TIME – but being at goal for 9½ years, I still can’t tell you that it is.  I wish I could tell you that I’ll never emotionally eat again because I will and did even just last night.  I wish I could tell you that I knew something was different this time, but I can’t because it isn’t, it’s just lasted longer.   I promised myself this would be the last time – but I’ve broken promises to myself before and probably will again.  I wish I could tell you that I don’t have any more setbacks.  I can’t.  I do, I will, I will again.

But what I can tell you is that each week – no…. each DAY…. I think about how I’ve changed my life.  Each bite is now a choice, whether that be chocolate cake or roasted vegetables, I can honestly say I’m conscious – something I could not say before.  I can tell you that if one day I ate all of the food (who hasn’t said or done THAT?) that the chances of me doing that 2 days in a row are now reduced – not out of the question – just reduced!

I do not eat today how I ate 12 years ago walking in to Weight Watchers.  I couldn’t have made the change overnight.  It was a slow process.  It’s still a process.  That’s the beauty of this time.  I recognize that I’m in a process and not a specific race or event.  I’m in a life.

I get to fit the way I eat in to my life.  If I had to fit my life in to a way to eat, I’d quit.  This is one of the reasons I love this plan – especially this current plan!  I get to live my life which means I entertain, I drink wine, I travel, I eat out, I bake, I eat other’s baked goods, and I maintain weight loss (maybe not week to week, but over time).  Because I’m conscious.  I’ve been food conscious now for 12 years – it’s an anniversary for me.

Is it work?  Yes.  It was also work being overweight.  It was work shopping for clothes that disguised my bad features (or those I thought were bad.) It was work editing pictures or not even wanting to share them.  It was work feeling like “why can’t I just do this?” or “Why is it easy for those people?” or “Can’t I just get through ONE WEEK eating well?”

Joining Weight Watchers to lose my weight been a Godsend.  I no longer need cholesterol medicine.  My husband can take the picture of the whole person.  I am no longer hiding.  I no longer buy clothes that hide my thighs or hips.  I’m proud of that.  I’m proud that my closet has color.  I’m proud that I’m fairly healthy and have taken control over the small things I can take control – like the fork or the glass.  But that’s just the weight loss part of my Godsend.

The friends that I have made BECAUSE of Weight Watchers, the members while I was losing, the members who I have now, the fellow service providers, the managing staff here or no longer on board – these people are now in my heart and I cannot imagine my life without them.  12 years ago I didn’t have them.  Now I have them, a healthy and smaller body, and a life I love living.

Happy Anniversary to me!



Why do I do this?

As many of you know, I lost my weight .2 and .4 a week.

People ask me now, “How were you not frustrated?” My answer? “Who said I wasn’t frustrated?” “But how did you not quit?” Aaahhh – that’s the question.

How do you not quit when you’re frustrated?  How do you have an amazing week of doing everything right and see a gain and not throw in the towel and just say, “This is just not working!”  How do you have a week where you know that you’re not doing *everything right* and think, “I just can’t do this.”  How do you not quit when you ROCKED your week and see a loss of .2?

Well?  HOW?  I’m asking, really.  Because in the 2½ years it took me to lose my 35 pounds I wanted to quit – a LOT.

I also wanted to quit college when I had a hard class.

When I was delivering my first child and on the 4th hour of pushing, my husband remembers that I asked him if I could just stop, go home and sleep and come back the next day and finish.

When I was grieving for my mom I asked myself “when will this pain end?”  I asked God, “why don’t you let me get over this now? It hurts too much.”

I wanted to quit physical therapy for my right wrist because the pain was excruciating.

So why didn’t I?  What hard things have you gone through that you just wanted to quit – but didn’t?  One could say that I couldn’t quit grieving because I had no alternative.  I couldn’t have quit delivering my child because the laws of nature, and really…. I wanted my son to come out already!

All I heard from some people (the only voices I *chose* to hear) was, “why bother, you’ll gain it back anyway – we all do.”  I heard others say that.  I heard my own voice say that.  And through my tears, I didn’t quit.

You see, this is my 6th time around on Weight Watchers and I’ve followed other methods to losing weight, too.  Who hasn’t?  And I’d be successful at the loss and then I’d quit. Every single time I quit, I gained.  A smarter person would have figured this equation of quit=gain much sooner than I, but I’m a bit slow.   And it turns out, that learning is not all I was slow in doing.

I joined Weight Watchers for the 6th time in March 2005.  I was gung ho! (Sound familiar?)  I was ready! (Sound familiar?)  I was going to do “all the things” right! (Sound familiar?)  I gained my first 3 weeks.  WHO gains their first 3 weeks on Weight Watchers?  Why didn’t I quit then? Well, it turns out that I was still following the “Marci Plan” – which, by the way, no one in the history of the world has paid to follow for a good reason!  I joined Weight Watchers expecting (and no, I didn’t voice this) that by joining and doing my own thing by dieting, I’d be a success story. (Sound familiar?)  So I didn’t quit and decided to actually follow the plan as written.  But again – I was going to do it PERFECTLY so that I could lose the most amount of weight in the least amount of time!  (Sound familiar?)

And I did.  I gave it my all.  I tracked everything.  I was so excited to weigh in.  I lost a big POINT TWO.  I was crestfallen.  And the receptionist and the leader both told me that it was fine!  To stick with it!  That it’s a stick of butter.  I did another week.  I was PERFECT.  Again, I got on the scale excited.  POINT TWO again.  So now I’m at 5 weeks and I’m at a net gain and ready to throw my arms up in the air.  Again, I was given encouragement, which I only half heard.

This process went on and I got more and more frustrated.  But I didn’t quit.  Why?

So all of these words above come down to one word:  WHY.

The reason we don’t quit things that are important to us, is we connect to why they’re important in the first place.  That’s the reason people drop out of college or quit their weight loss or activity efforts – because they haven’t truly FELT and CONNECTED to our reason WHY we’re doing things in the first place.  But that WHY needs to be important in your moment.

I’m not a “driven” person.  No one would have ever described me as a go-getter, ambitious, cut-throat or even focused – unless I REALLY want something!  And I go through ups and downs in my weight loss and weight maintenance journey.  The downs are always when I let me “why” be vague and logical.

Vague reasons:  1) for my health, 2) to feel better, 3) to look better, 4) because I need to lose weight

Logical reasons: 1) so my cholesterol and blood sugar stay in normal range, 2) to have more energy, 3) to fit in to small, cute clothes

These are VALID reasons.  And yeah, some of them overlap.  But we don’t go through hard things because of vague or logical reasons.  We need to see the benefit for ourselves.  We MUST feel the reasons.  They must be personal TO US.  Some people call that motivation.  I don’t.  Because I don’t get motivated when I need it.  I get motivated AFTER I’m successful for a while.

I need my WHY to be something that I want more than I want that 4th piece of bacon.
I need my WHY to be something I feel during the tough days because anyone can follow a plan on the easy ones.

Years ago I embarked on my first (of a few) multi-level marketing businesses.  None of them worked for me because I didn’t truly connect to them.  But anyway, I found enjoyment and value in each of my adventures and don’t regret anything because I’m a product of all the sums of my experiences.  But in my training for this particular one, I found a true gem in sales.  “People don’t want to know the features of something, they want to know the benefit.”  So if that toy was glow in the dark (feature) who cares?  Well, I would care if it prevented me from tripping on it in the dark (benefit.)  BOOM.

I’ll repeat that.:
People don’t want to know the features of something, they want to know the benefit.
THAT is our why.  What’s in it for me?

We each have to know our own personal benefits – and we need to connect with those.  I was told by many doctors that due to the fact that diabetes runs in my family on both sides AND the fact I was gestational diabetic, I would get this.   But that’s just logic.   That’s just some doctor telling me that some day I might – or probably will – get this very procrastinatable (that is not a word!) disease.  Did it mean anything to me personally?  I didn’t want toes amputated and other health issues amplified.  I saw things that scared me and I don’t want to give myself shots.  That’s one why.  Another is the pair of jeans I needed to fit in to before a trip.  That’s more immediate – but it kept me going that first month!  Important to have a bucket of WHYs!

I hear other people’s why and I get inspired, but they are not my own.  I don’t have grandchildren.  I love who I am and did prior to my weight loss.  I’m a confident person who knows who she is and always has.  So why make changes?  Why work hard on maintaining those changes?  Because I’m a human and I needed positive growth in my mind and my heart, but not my tush or my thighs.

My original why is that I hated myself in pictures.  So that worked for a bit.  But then it needed to change.  So the trick is what do you want THIS week?  How do you want to feel at the end of the month?   Worry about down the road, down the road.

We are projects.  Our weight loss is a project.   Like building a house.  When I’d have someone build my next house, I’ll want them to have a team of people – good, trained people so that it won’t take too long, but will be done efficiently.  I’ll want him to have the right tools so that walls don’t fall on me.  I’ll want the builder to make me a big kitchen so that I can have the space for all my cooking and tools.  Your so thats are your WHY!  A good weight loss plan will help you with the how.  And that’s IMPORTANT!  Find one that shows you healthy ways to lose weight.  But it’s not enough to implement.  The why starts your project.  THEN you need HOW.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

My why helps me choose this or that instead of always having this and that.  My why helps me not to quit.  My why helps me through getting on the scale and losing point two and the eye roll that follows.  I’m going in the right direction.  And I’ve figured out that quitting makes me gain, so that’s not an option.  It’s just not an option because every time I gave in to that option, it backfired. I’ve also figured out that when I start doing poorly on my plan, I need a new why and usually a more immediate one.  And that’s the hard part.   I’ve been at goal for over 9 years, but this success wasn’t handed to me.  I fight for it.  I earned it.  History doesn’t have to repeat itself.  I don’t have to gain it back.

But I have to get through this week first.