Shrinkin’ Thinkin’

Sometime at the end of 2013 and Mardi Gras 2015

Sometime at the end of 2013 and Mardi Gras 2015

So just for fun, I made one of these:

Lil bit of a difference huh? I think so. I’m not sure how much difference in weight because I have not been friends with the scale in quite a while. I’m somewhere around 40 inches lost altogether.

First and foremost I’d like to say that I found no shortcut, no quick fix, no magic pill. Boy do I wish there were a magic pill. There isn’t. I took advantage of a two for one offer at Ultimate Change fitness boot camp and a year later this is me. I get up at 5am and exercise for an hour. I’ve slowly made a few changes in my food intake, mostly focusing on learning hunger and fullness sensations. I’ve learned a few things along the way.

1) Exercise is my friend. I’ve always hated exercise. Even in elementary school I couldn’t run a mile. I never played a sport. Most times I enter a gymnasium my head seems to come in unfortunate contact with a ball. But I’ve made peace with my old enemy exercise and have learned she’s kind of a bitch at first but when you get to know her she is worth your time. I’m sleeping better than ever. I’m noticing an increase in overall ability and a decrease in stress level. And you’d be surprised what an hour of hard effort at 5:00 does to your willpower when somebody drops donuts on your desk at 10:00.

2) My body already knows what to do. If my emotions would just shut up and let her tell me. If I’m really honest, and if I slow down enough to hear it, my body lets me know how much food is enough. It’ll also tell me to pass by the cake and pick up the apple. It’ll tell me to drink water, eat wholesome stuff, and take a walk. My emotions on the other hand, they want the cake, the donuts, the cookies and ALL the wine…all in front of the TV. My intellect is currently trying to become more skilled as a mediator between the two.

3) This stuff takes time!!! Probably forever. Whoever said it only takes 30 days to make a habit does not grasp the depth of my love for frosting, casseroles, and bread. This is why I don’t weigh. There were people around me when I first started who dropped 20 pounds in a month. I became so frustrated with the scale and the lack of rapid decrease in my own weight that I just quit it. Over the past year I’ve let go of the start to finish idea. Yes there was a time when I didn’t take care of myself. Therefore I have a start date, a time I began learning how to take care of myself. However, I don’t plan to QUIT taking care of myself which eliminates the finish line. Even though I do want to reach a certain size/weight range, I’ve stopped thinking in terms of “when I’m done losing weight” and started thinking about getting better and better at taking care of my body mind and heart.

4) My health is important. One of my cousins was recently diagnosed with early diabetes. My dad is diabetic. My grandfather was. Several of my dad’s cousins are/were diabetic. (I say were because some have already left us for that special place in heaven for diabetics where Jesus makes all the cookies.) This newly diagnosed cousin is a little closer to my age. Yikes. And when the doctor found out he was in the Jeffries family, he was immediately familiar with the situation. You know it’s bad when your family has a reputation for diabetes, heart disease, and weight issues at the local clinic, when the mention of your family name elicits a knowing look from the physician. All that to point out that though vanity certainly is part of my motivation for learning to take care of myself, I definitely have bigger fish to fry. (Hehe…See what I did there?) I’m motivated by looking better, yes, but also by the idea of a possible future without insulin injections, heart surgeries, and strokes. I’m motivated by being able to do more reps than I did last week, by running a mile without stopping for the first time in my life. I’m motivated by the ability to look up at the morning or afternoon sky and enjoy being alive without dreading the sweat and shortness of breath. I’m motivated by the pleasure of getting out there and releasing my frustrations, replacing them with a nice feeling of accomplishment.

Part of living life to the fullest is learning to take care of myself lovingly and positively. It’s a long learning process for an obsessive unrealistic perfectionist like me who wants things done right and done quick. Knowing this tendency would trip me up, I didn’t set out that first month at boot camp to eventually show a before and after. I don’t like calling it that because I’m not moving toward an after, I’m just moving forward. I’m sharing now because hey, it’s cool after months of slow progress to see the visual. And also because among the chorus of quick fixes and Dr. Oz’ s latest weight loss tricks, and all the other people yelling about what diet and which exercise works, SOMEBODY needs to share the real stuff, and somebody needs to talk about self care from the premise that everyone’s already lovely and all of us could use some help taking better care of our whole beings in some way. I hope it motivates you to do somethin nice for yourself.

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