It made me laugh, and it was the perfect segue to introduce my book. But it got me thinking, what do I know about weight loss?
After struggling for many years with the scale, my weight, my health, and how I saw my body, here is my top ten list of what I know.
1. The scale doesn't work, and we aren't meant to be enslaved by it. Weight loss that comes with freedom from obsessive behaviors like tracking food and exercise, or weighing in, will happen naturally once we make peace with food, exercise and our own body.
2. Food deprivation doesn't work, either. It is punishment for not being good enough, thin enough, and our souls know it. That's why we instinctively rebel. Food is a powerful source of nurturing, and it is painful when we withhold it. (And why we naturally share it when someone is hurting.) Diets don't work.
3. Eating lots and lots of quality food does work. It makes our bodies so happy to be well fed, with the good stuff. If you've ever had a blood sugar crash, you know it doesn't feel good. We need to be fueled up for life. We just need to choose that fuel well. I dare you to eat as many vegetables this week as you can. You'll feel amazing.
4. Water and sleep are such necessities, yet we underestimate how they can screw us up if we don't get enough. Water and sleep! Do whatever it is you have to do to get enough of both. I mean it. Go to bed.
5. Lifting weights is the foundation of fitness. I don't say this just because I am a trainer. I say this as a participant of fitness and one who hurts when I don't lift regularly. When I got back from the Canyon hike, I didn't lift for a few weeks. Need to recover, right? Ugh. Everything started to hurt worse until I got to the gym and lifted. Lower back, SI joint, sciatica...then just like that, I felt better.
6. Walking is the ultimate functional fitness. I know it's important to be able to hoist mulch out of the truck, or whack the golf ball a few hundred yards, but if walking is difficult or painful, every area of our life will be affected. Think of the walking it takes to travel around Europe, or see a National Park, or watch grand kids for a day. Then get out and practice. Daily.
7. Fitness doesn't happen if I don't schedule it. I'm not kidding. I have always been like this. My day will slip away like sands through the hourglass, right along with every intention I had to work out. I can find all kinds of craziness to procrastinate two things. Cleaning, and working out. But, if I have signed up, and know someone is expecting me, I will be there 100%. I almost never cancel once I'm registered. This is my secret weapon.
8. Emotions don't have the kind of say-so they used to. I may feel blah, but I'm going to choose exercise anyway. I might be mad, sad, tired, or bored, but I no longer use that as a free pass to stuff myself with junk. I learned my lesson on this one. This is self-destructive. This is sabotage. Emotions may need to be heard, but not always fed.
9. Regret sucks. I learned this being a trainer for women, many in their sixties and seventies. I see the women who got moving in time, and I see the women who wish they'd started earlier. I see how these women suffer, and wish for a do-over. I decided not to waste another day wishing and hoping I felt better, and I made a commitment to do something about it now. Not tomorrow. Not Monday. Not January. Now.
10. I am worthy of a healthy life. This was the hardest thing on my list to learn. I was in a pit of shame and regret, and didn't think it mattered much whether I took care of myself. I was alone, what did it matter. I had messed up my life, what did it matter. But it does matter because it turns out that my story wasn't over, and God wasn't done with me yet. God's not done with you, either. And you matter more than you can ever comprehend.