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.