It just sort of hit me out of the blue last week. I have to learn how to be healthy. I don’t know how to live a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t come naturally to me. It feels hard and takes so much willpower every day. My mind is so consumed with food and choices and regrets. I feel like I’ve been at this for so long that I should just know it. I should be running half-marathons and killing it at boot camps and eating a healthy diet and broken all of my unhealthy habits.
And I’m not. I’m constantly failing. I’m trying to take baby steps, but even those baby steps feel like too much. I have to go back to the very beginning. I have to start with the building blocks.
At its most basic level, losing weight is about two things: eating less and moving more. I’m typically awesome at the moving more part and bad at the eating less part. But, as the saying goes, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet and I am proof of that. I used to work out five days a week for an hour, at a moderate-to-high level, but wouldn’t eat as well as I should have been eating and my weight wouldn’t change. So then I decided I would cool it on the exercise and focus more one eating well. I wanted to be less focused on exercising so much and having that take up so much of my time and energy, and more focused on eating better.
Well, that brought me to where I am today. Heavier than I’ve ever been, someone who has lost that drive for exercise and eating right. On my way home from work the other day, I had this talk with myself about being uncomfortable. I can choose this sedentary, eat-whatever-I-want path that I’ve been on and be uncomfortable with my body and my energy levels and my inability to sleep. Or I can choose another path, an equally uncomfortable path, where I have to wake up early to exercise, learn how to curb cravings and eat a consistently healthy diet. Both ways are uncomfortable. One way leads to more uncomfortableness and feeling bad about myself and the way I look. The other way leads to feeling better, looking better, and having more energy. Put it that way and it’s a no-brainer.
I failed at all the goals I set for myself last month. I rarely exercised, am still drinking more soda than I should be, and my sweets habit is out of control. So I’m going back to the very basics of losing weight. I need to learn how to be healthy and that comes from educating myself on what I’m putting in my body and getting back to a consistent exercise practice. I just need to take it one building block at a time, start from scratch and keep telling myself this is a learning process. Each day is a new day to learn how to be a healthier eater.
With that in mind, my goals for the next month are:
- TRACK. I am not a fan of tracking my food, because it’s so tedious and time-consuming, but I doubt there are many people in this world who actually enjoy it. I will be using My Fitness Pal and aiming to try to use it at least six times a week to give me a better understanding of what I am eating and how it affects me. I’ll be sticking to the daily calorie, carb, sugar, protein, etc. limits MFP has given me as best I can.
- EXERCISE. I am aiming for four days of exercise a week for 30 minutes at a time. It’s the same goal I had last month, and it’s just something I need to do. It’s not as if my schedule is so jam-packed that fitting 30 minutes of exercise four times a week is difficult, it’s just laziness. I press snooze too often in the morning and come up with excuses for why I can’t do it after work. I just need to get back in the habit of exercising.
That’s it. Two simple, easy goals that someone who has decided to get serious about losing weight and living healthier would give themselves.
I’ve been at this healthy living game that I feel like I should have my shit together by now. I should get it and I don’t. Not yet. So I have to start at the very beginning. I have to forget about how long I have been trying to lose weight, forget about all my past failed attempts and all the regrets I have and all the ways I have badmouthed myself for failing. I have to pretend like this is my very first time. Tracking my food, and learning to become an exerciser.
It’s a learning process. And I’m a stubborn learner who wants to have it all figured out right at the beginning. But I don’t and I need to stop pretending I do. I have to remember that slow and steady is the way to go, and to give myself grace when I mess up. The important part of losing weight is your will. The will to lose weight, the will to be healthy, the will to feel better. I so want to feel better, mentally and physically and emotionally. And if I need to go back to the very basics of losing weight to do that, then that’s what I have to do.