[media-credit name=”Photo credit: Cammy Chapel” align=”aligncenter” width=”274″][/media-credit]
When I started this last weight loss endeavor, my goal was to lose X amount of weight, where X was some undefined number. I wasn’t shooting for “skinny” or “thin”; I just wanted to weigh less and feel better. I wanted to be free of the physical, mental, and emotional chains of severe obesity.
Along the way, I figured out that I wanted another kind of freedom as well, and that was the freedom to live without obsessing about calories consumed or expended, the number on the scale, or the size of my pants.
- I wanted to wholeheartedly agree to meet friends for drinks or meals, without having a conniption over the extra calories.
- I wanted to dread the family reunion because of the drive or the awkward conversations with people I don’t really know anything about other than that we’re third or fourth cousins, and not because there would be food there.
- I wanted to approach vacations with shiny anticipation of the new adventures (and restaurants!) they would bring.
- And I wanted to enjoy a 2-inch square of cake with my co-workers during the monthly birthday celebration without feeling like I was committing some mortal sin.
I wanted to live fit and free.
By the time I reached goal, I’d made progress. I could eat my square of cake without trembling. I chowed down with the rest of the gang at the family reunion. I looked forward to vacations because they were changes in my routine. After each and every event, I’ve moved almost effortlessly back to my normal (mostly-healthy) way of doing things. And without regret!
While on my walk yesterday morning, I was thinking about all of this “living fit and free” business and wondering, Am I there yet?
The best answer I could come up with was No Yes I think so.
The free part of “fit and free” doesn’t mean free for all. As someone who can easily get caught up in the joy of living and lose track of minor details like nutrition and consistency, I’ll probably always have some sort of “control” in place to help with mindfulness. My current method is keeping a general list of what I’ve eaten and what type of exercise I do each day. The idea is that should I suddenly be unable to button my pants, the reason will be evident in my journal and can be addressed.
But other than my mini-journal, I don’t think so much about either food or exercise. My shiny new auto-pilot (a.k.a. habits) seems to be steering me well. While I do sometimes worry if this is too much or that is too little, it’s not pervasive in my thoughts. If something feels like a problem, I ponder it and come up with a plan to fix it. Or at least address it.
I’m sure there will be backsliding from time to time (I’ve heard rumors it’s not fatal), but for now this feels right to me–a balance of mindfulness and living my life freely, without obsessing about the scale, the menu, or my beloved exercise schedule. I can only hope that the friends, family members, and blog readers who had to endure “the frantic times” will someday forgive me.
So. With that, I’m off to take a nap. (Hey, sleep is an important component of a healthy life! Besides, it’s hot as hell outside and I’m not about to go do anything.)
But before I go, let me wish you all an Independence Day that’s happy, healthy, and–perhaps most of all–free!