Thursday, May 22, 2003
posted by Julie |
(Note to readers: It's probably obvious how my travels are distracting me. I am having a difficult time doing my normal amount of research on these pieces when I'm disconnected and away from my library. It's just two weeks until I return to business as usual. Meantime I so appreciate you hanging in there with me while I take this time. I'll be back at my daily grind soon enough!)
When you have been working for a long while on a new eating method, a new exercise program, new ways to cook, eat, shop for groceries, there come times of frustration with all this newness.
There come times when you really feel cranky about it, mad that you have a crappy metabolism, mad that you're a binge eater, mad that you can't be like, live like, eat like, lounge around like those other people over there. Tired of meetings, tired of weigh-ins, tired of the scale and measuring cups and label reading. And in those times you will break your new habits.
You will. You might as well face up to the fact that none of us can make such drastic changes without the occasional hiccup.
Don't beat yourself around the head and shoulders about it. Don't make any drastic conclusions about your lack of worth or your weakness of will or the ineffectiveness of your potty training.
Instead, try this: Grab your journal, sit a long while, and make a list of the successes you've had in your life. Write down the times when you really accomplished something. A simple list of your life's accomplishments. They can be small things. You managed to make your bed every day for a whole week. You knitted a sweater. Or not simple things: You gave birth to a beautiful child. You keep an old person company. You donated a kidney. You won the Boston Marathon.
I don't know what your list is going to look like, but you have succeeded at various sorts of things in the past, plenty of things. So what are they? What are you good at doing in life? Make the list as long as you can. Can you roll your tongue? Make your ears wiggle? Reach back to your childhood. Did you win a three-legged sack race? Get a gold star for a lovely portrait of the Prime Minister all done in macaroni and glitter? Split the atom?
How about recent successes? Going to a pot luck dinner without overeating? Passing up the ice cream aisle on your last grocery trip? Giving up soda pop?
Fill up a page or two with everything you can think of. Don't edit it. Just write as much as you can as fast as you can.
When you think you've exhausted your list, run off to the stationers and get a packet of those sticky flags. Mark that page in your journal with a bright flag so you can find it easily. Come back to your successes page on the days when you're feeling frustrated with your health program, and just meditate on it.
I hope you're not going to be such a cool player that you ignore this exercise, or think I'm speaking metaphorically or something. No. There is serious medicine in actually DOING these little assignments. Something happens in your brain when you actually remember, actually use an actual pen and paper or keyboard to actually write down this list. Write it down. Do it.
And you will discover the truth. The truth is you're not a loser. List in hand, you will plainly see that you have succeeded in all sorts of ways all your life. In fact you have it in you to succeed here and now, with this endeavor, though it might be one of the toughest challenges you have ever faced.
Living in a healthier way is hard work. There is so much working against your success. There is no rest. It's tiring. It feels like punishment when it's actually just the opposite. But with time, you will make new habits, and it will get easier. It takes time. And patience. And an attitude check now and then to remind yourself that you're more than capable of managing it.
You can do it,
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