Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Why Do We Make It So Hard?

"In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest."
Henry Miller
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been seduced by the promise of the "quick fix." I've tried many fad diets and even tried Phen-Fen, damaging my heart in the process. Each time I dropped 10-30lbs, I eventually gained 30-60+ back. I resisted the idea that "diet and exercise" would cure me. I mean, really. How many times did I have to hear it: every truly successful diet guru, health nut, doctor, etc. The message has always been the same: eat a low fat diet and exercise regularly. But, noooooo. It certainly couldn't be as easy as all that. Surely, I'd rather eat 14 grapefruits a day; or eat chicken & fish Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, then vegetables & fruits on the other days. How 'bout I starve myself for a week? A head of lettuce and a Snicker's bar daily? Or wait, it might be easier to try and throw up those last 3 tacos, 20 Oreos and pint of ice cream that I consumed in 60 minutes flat. No, no, no. Even better, why don't I just lay myself on a gurney and let them cut into me, shrink/staple/deform my stomach and intestines so that I have to take 42 vitamins an hour, drink 14 gallons of water and pray that when I'm 50 all the side effects we don't know about yet don't start to kick in. Why not drink a gallon of some foul-tasting pseudo-cherry-flavored concoction that celebrities use to "flush" the weight away? Here's one? How 'bout I travel to a foreign country and try to 'catch' a tape worm that could just eat my fat from the inside out!! Or I could just go get a colon-cleansing, because surely ALL this fat is just a pile of shit waiting to be pushed out. Getting stranded on a boat for a month with nothing but water to drink and raw fish to eat? (Hey, it worked for Tom Hanks in Castaway!) But eat a low fat diet and exercise? Are you kidding me?? That's just waaaay too hard!
Are those of us who struggle with weight issues really that dumb? I mean, no offense, but has NutriSystem really taught us anything we didn't already know? Did we not know about a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables, protein and good carbs? Did we not know about the benefits of drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day? Did we never hear that we should exercise for 30 minutes 3-4 a week? Was it news to learn that we must eat breakfast? About the importance of portion-control? About eating several times a day in order to keep our metabolism going? Frankly, if any of it was news to any of you, you've been living under a rock for, like, your entire life.
But, in effect, we were. Once the weight problem took hold, no matter how long ago it did or why, we became ostriches. We buried our heads in the sand. We justified our condition and gave ourselves a pass:
It's okay that I'm like this, I've had 3 kids;
It's okay that I'm fat, I'm big-boned;
It's okay that I'm fat, everyone in my family is too;
It's okay that I'm fat, God made us all in different shapes and sizes;
It's okay that I'm obese, I've always been this way;
It's okay that I'm fat, everyone loves me anyway and I'm happy with who I am;
It's okay that I'm killing myself, because I don't care anymore.
Excuses, excuses, excuses. Not reasons, excuses. Lies, might even be a better word.
Because, IT'S NOT OKAY!!!! I'm tired of telling myself I can do no better, of limiting myself, of giving up. I am not yet dead. Life is a journey, it is about progress and moving forward. How fulfilling is my life if at the tender age of 31 if I am content to just give up?! My weight issues have negatively affected my psyche, the development of my self-esteem (or lack thereof), my perspective on our society, my ENTIRE life. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't been fat growing up. Would the kids have picked me to play? Would I have focused more on my studies, instead of trying to make friends so I wouldn't be ostracized as the "fat nerd"? Would I have gotten kissed at my Sweet Sixteen party? Would I have been asked to the prom? Would I have been homecoming queen? Would I have gotten the lead in the school play? Would I be the married mother of two, owner of the 4/3 home with the white picket fence and a dog? Would I be happy?
Who knows? What I do know is that I cannot change my past; I can only focus on my future, and I have the power to make it a happy one. I still have about 90+lbs to lose, but my outlook on life and my self is soo much better than when I started. Maybe that's what NutriSystem has given me: the tools to look at myself objectively and accept that I have the power within myself to do what I want and be who I want.
All of that to get to this: low fat diet + regular exercise = weight loss success.
"In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest." --Henry Miller


Leigh said...

Once again, dear friend, you described me to a T. We will do this. I won't LET you fail now. You're so close.

Erika said...

Wow... This was exactly what I needed to "hear" today :)

You are such an inspiration to me and thank you for being a friend too :)