No Guilt From the Past; No Fear of the Future: Living in the Present
Posted Mar 06 2009 2:17pm
“All guilt comes from living in the past; all fear comes from living in the future; live in the present; live in the now.”
~Author Unknown (I heard it from my therapist!)
In October of 2007, I weighed 283. That’s the lowest I had weighed in several years. I lost 60 pounds to get back down to that weight. And I should have just kept going since I had plenty more excess weight to lose, but Thanksgiving arrived, and I overate then, and then the Christmas holidays followed, and I kept eating. And since then, I never could seem to get back “in the groove.” My doctor asked me why I was picking up weight again instead of going in the other direction, and I told him that Thanksgiving got me off track. He said, “Well, Thanksgiving is only one day!” True. I’ve looked back to Thanksgiving of 2007 hundreds of times. Why did I do it? Why can’t I get started again? Why? Why? Why? And all that comes of all that reliving of late 2007 is a bunch of guilt. And all that comes from examining every start and failure in 2008 and now 2009 is more guilt, more broken promises, more failures. It’s depressing!
I had sworn to myself back in 2007 when I was losing the weight that once I got below 300 pounds, I would never go back there again. But I did. More than a few times. I would get over 300, and then I would crash diet and get below the mark again and then let go, and back up over the mark I’d go. That’s what we call yo-yo dieting. Up and down, back and forth, like a yo-yo. And guess what I weighed this Monday when I got on the scale to see the damage? 313. Unlucky over 300 and unlucky 13. Right? No. There is nothing mysterious or prophetic about my weight, and the number isn’t lucky or unlucky; it just is 313. What will happen if I keep on going the way I’ve been going? Up, up, up! How long before I get back to my highest weight ever: 347? There is so much fear in that. I was on blood pressure medication back then. My blood sugar levels weren’t very stable. I got off that medication by losing 60 pounds. My blood sugar levels evened out with medication and losing those pounds. I felt great. I looked so good; I had to get new clothes (clothes that are very tight on me now). What will become of me if I keep on gaining? I gave away all those clothes that fit me at 347. I’ll be naked if I keep gaining weight! Fear. Unadulterated fear.
All guilt comes from living in the past. Regretting choices I made. Regretting choices I failed to make. My therapist way back about 10 years ago told me that it wasn’t healthy to live in the past. It’s okay to examine the past. It’s even worthwhile to examine the past. Learn from the past. But don’t relive it and beat yourself up over and over again. The past is the past. It’s over and done with. You accomplish nothing by living back there in the guilt. She also told me it’s not healthy to live in the future, full of fear, afraid of the consequences of things to come. She said to me, “The worst fears you have are of things that will never be.” She told me that I needed to start living in the present. Today. “Just live right now,”she said. “Live today. Live this moment. Are you okay this very moment? Don’t even worry about the next moment. Just right now.” One day at a time, those in recovery say. One hour at a time if necessary. One minute at a time. The now. Concentrate on the now.
So, on Monday morning, the number was 313. Okay. That’s the now. Start with the truth: 313. What am I going to do with that? No looking back. No looking forward. Just for today, I’m going to do better. No. Not even better than yesterday. There is no yesterday. There is only now. Just for today, I’m going to do the healthy thing. No crash dieting. I’m going to eat healthy. I have read hundreds of books on nutrition and dieting. I know what to do. I’m going to get some excercise. So what if I can’t run five miles. I can walk around the block, and if it’s too cold to walk outside, I have a trampoline and a ton of video tapes and disks I can exercise with. How about “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”? I have several tapes that are still in the plastic wrap, all just begging me to dance along with them. I’m going to get some good sleep. Sleep is as important as exercise. I don’t have to stay up late watching TV or reading or doing anything else. I choose when I sleep. I’ll do these things just for today. I don’t have to promise myself anything about tomorrow. My only allegiance is to the now, just this moment.