Mar 31, 2011

Stay on target, stay on target.

Remember the iconic climax of Star Wars where that guy on the Gold team repeats "Stay on target, stay on target" like 12 times in a row? Sometimes I like to picture that he's saying it to me. My weight is like the Deathstar and I want to destroy it. The difference between the Deathstar and my weight is that it will not be destroyed/fall away simply by one well timed explosion. In fact it's the exact opposite. Instead of one grand event, what helps me lose is the little victories. The tiny little hits chipping away at the fat one calorie at a time.

I've learned over the past few months why weight loss is so hard. It's not because of willpower. If it was just will power, then it would be easy. I have a lot of will power. Weight loss is a long, complex series of events towards a goal that one must incorporate into your life.

Take high school graduation for example. It's not exactly easy to graduate high school. We take it for granted for the most part. It's not just will power that allows you to get the knowledge and graduate. It's a slow series of steps over the years that allows graduation. If it was all about knowledge, kids would graduate at different times instead of only after their senior year. I'm sure there are kids who have enough knowledge to graduate at 12 years old, while other only get what they need at 24. However, everyone graduates around 18, after 12 years of school. We focus more on the process and not just the individual achievements. We look at education, not as a goal, but as a process, an experience. Sure, we could graduate after 8th grade, but then you would miss prom, homecoming, high school sports, dances, academic teams, student council, and just having fun. All of these things are an integral part of the "high school experience". No one really wants to give that up just to graduate early.

In many way, weight loss is similar. With Weight Watchers it isn't and shouldn't be only about the goal. It should be a process, an experience. Yes, it would be amazing to wake up tomorrow at a perfect size. However, if that happened, it wouldn't be appreciated. None of the hard work, feelings of accomplishment and pride, increased esteem, etc. would be associated with it. I'd be skinny with the mind of a fat person. I'd be an seventh grader with the mind of an 18 year old. It wouldn't be right and it would be trading one set of problems for another.

I've learned so much about food, eating, myself and others. I've learned how weight loss is a series of small choices, not a big bang. Last week was a stressful week at work and my schedule was messed up so I didn't go to bed on time. Because I didn't go to bed I didn't wake up early to work out. I was too tired after work because I had to work late on a special project. I didn't go to the grocery store on Sunday, so I didn't bring my lunch on Monday. Then, I didn't have time to go to the grocery store during the week. I stayed within my points but I didn't eat as well as if I had brought my lunch. Consequently, I felt more blah, less likely to eat well and less likely to exercise. Fortunately, I'm back on track this week. Just the decisions to exercise and go to the store have had a domino effect on my mood and motivation.

So, weight loss is difficult not because of the strength it takes to overcome an obstacle. It's difficult because it requires the same strength to overcome a series of tiny obstacles, day after day after day. It can be done, but some days it's harder than others. I'm glad I have the Gold Team to remind me to stay on target. Actually, now that I'm looking back, I think he died. Ok, maybe that isn't the best metaphor.

No comments: