I am a very boring person, a woman who loves her dull routines and does not enjoy deviations or unexpected interruptions and distractions or even uninvited guests (like the dozen gas company guys in yellow vests who are currently occupying my driveway with drills and trucks and machines for a town-wide revamp). Every morning, I wake up at six a.m. to a TWIN PEAKS ringtone. If I hit snooze on that alarm, the next one rings at seven, the JAWS theme, a bit louder and more intimidating, threatening me out of bed. If I dare to sleep an hour longer, at eight, I'll be audibly assaulted by a VERY loud ringtone that is the old-school Legend of Zelda castle music. When I do get up, I stumble into the kitchen in my PJs, make sure my boyfriend is all turned on, then grab my eggs from the fridge, break them in the flip skillet with some cooking spray, butter spray, pepper, salt, and oregano, then find something to fill in the remaining calories I have; depending on how many eggs I eat, that could be a 60-cal Carbmaster yogurt or maybe a 130-cal pack of low sugar maple and brown sugar oatmeal or maybe a piece of fruit, if my daughter happened to leave any in the basket for me, since she likes to gobble it up before I get to it. Then, I let my dogs back in the house, set up my couch office for the day, pour a big ol' mug of hot-lovin' from my boyfriend, then plop down on the couch and turn on Hulu to see what's landed in my queue. As Coffee wakes me up and I finish up that very routine breakfast, I hop on my lappy and get to work, cleaning out the email, checking bank accounts and Paypal and Ebay watches and auctions, then start editing. While I'm doing all this, Hulu auto-plays through my queue of daily/nightly news shows. Unfortunately, when it gets done playing through my favorites, it then decides what I should watch next. For some reason, it is under the mistaken impression that I want to see/hear THE VIEW, when I couldn't give a flying whoopi about anyone or anything on it.
Today, while I was working and using the TV for background noise (which is something I have to do, as silence annoys me. My daughter's middle name is Alanis because I used to love Ms. Morissette, and there is a lyric in one of her songs that screams, "Why are you so petrified of silence?" I never could answer that question, but I simply HAVE to have TV noise on while I'm working - not music, because I find that too distracting, and... Shoot! There I go again, on one of those rabbit trails that leads to run-on sentences. Sorry.)... Anyhoo, while the Hulu was blaring in the backdrop, I heard something that boiled my blood. One of the hostesses (I couldn't even tell you who any of them are, because I don't care) said something about marriage being give-and-take, to which another of the annoying hostesses answered something akin to, "That's why I don't ever want to get married..." At that point, it was enough to spawn me to get up to find the remote. I cannot stand the cackling women on that show, and I cannot stand the idea that someone would so openly admit that they are not willing to do something that requires give and take. The show IS my aerobics, because hearing it gets my heart rate up, and it forces me to actually walk across the room to get the remote; when we were kids, we had to get up to change the channel, so I leave my remote out of reach on purpose to force a bit of movement. Every burned calorie counts, right? For those of you who are fans of THE VIEW, this is not meant to be insulting. To each his/her own, folks. After all, life is all about give and take, even if Joy Whats-Her-Name or Raven Who's-It doesn't think so.
I can't comment much on marriage, since mine is recently over. (Please send your congrats and not your condolences, as this is a GOOD thing for all involved. While you're at it, if you happen to know a brown-eyed fella who would qualify as my Mr. Neon, feel free to send him too. Now that I think about it, I wonder if one of those yellow-vested boys in my driveway just so happen to be Mr. Neon? Hmm. Maybe I oughtta put on something a little more attractive than my PJs and go out on the porch and pretend to water the fake flower I keep by the front door, just in case...) I do know, though, that EVERYTHING in life that is of any value at all is about give and take, and this couldn't be more true for our weight journeys. In an effort to mentally prep myself for the maintenance part of my own journey, I've been reading a few articles for tips, and I came across one today (http://fitopportunity.com/blo
ty-its-all-about-give-and-take/) that is exactly about this issue. The person who wrote it, Hannah, seems to be very focused on food groups balance, which wasn't/isn't exactly something I've focused on, but I completely agree with her wise assessment:
"By allowing yourself a treat without compromising the balance...you create a certain kind of likeability about your diet. It doesn’t feel as restrictive. Furthermore, because you are allowing yourself to eat what you want (in moderation), you reserve your willpower for harder tasks like saying no to the donuts at a work meeting or grabbing fast food when you are tired and in a rush... This way of eating is not as drastic a change as you might think. All you are doing is making a small shift... It requires a bit of forward thinking: Does my meal have balance? Will that balance be thrown off by something I choose to treat myself to later that day? It can be as simple as adding water to your smoothie in the morning instead of milk because you know you will be having a giant latte at 10 am..."
If you are not willing to give and take with yourself and with your diet, you will not see as much success, and it will be very difficult to sustain any success you do see. I learned this firsthand in 2003, after I lost over 140 lbs. and quickly gave up the give-and-take and started mostly taking. Within a year, I'd gained back all I'd lost. By 2013, ten years later, I'd gained back an additional 30 or 40 lbs. on top of that, resulting in a monstrous, Godzilla-sized person looking back at me in the mirror. I knew better than to take, take, take everything I wanted to eat whenever I felt like it, but I really didn't give a care, until 2014, when I realized I needed to start taking my life back.
I know my blogs about cereal bars and snack cupboards and celebrations and school festivals make it sound like I'm some sort of naughty nibbler who just got lucky and lost weight, but that's not the case. I have given much to get where I am. I have not bought a bag of actual sugar for my household in two years. I have given pasta and pizza away, for the most part. I have given some hours of my day, because there have been times when my cravings for snacks in the evenings were so intense that I literally went to bed early to avoid the binging. I have even given up clothes that I loved; there was something super comfy about the 4X hoodie I used to wear, and I kept it for a LONG time, even when I could have fit in it thrice. I have given up some social times when I knew my willpower was weak and I wouldn't be able to withstand the culinary onslaught and didn't want to sabotage myself. I have given up "real" cheese and replaced it with the lowfat stuff. I've given up Reese's Cups, Big Macs, Ruffles, butter bread, dumplings, Chinese buffets, Coca-Cola, and even the addictively amazing tuna melts from the little Kone Korner down the way (man, how I'd love a tuna salad sandwich with olives and melty provolone all over it right now, but last time I checked, it was 680 calories for a small one!) I've given up some shoes and jewelry that I simply cannot wear any longer (Yes, folks, my feet even got smaller, and my rings and bracelets began falling off). I've given, given, given for the sake of my weight loss, but I've also taken so many things - like better health, more joy and hope, more confidence, the ability to inspire/motivate others, and even a reignited passion for my writing that I'd back-burnered for so long, because so many of you have said such kind things about these blogs. My weight loss journey demanded my giving, but it also gave to me in return. Any worthwhile pursuit is a matter of give and take.
So, if you are just starting out on your journey, please grasp this truth from the forefront: You WILL have to give in order to take the lbs. off. There WILL be foods, places, situations, and even people you may have to avoid or completely give up, especially when you know your will is weak, which happens to us all at times. If you're in maintenance, you already know this, but you will have to keep it in mind each and every day. Still, for all we give, we WILL take a lot out of it, and my personal view is that it is well worth it!