For a long time I meandered through my daily life as an obese woman without any specific goals for myself. As a young mom with two small daughters, I often thought that just taking a shower was a big accomplishment. And if I put on make-up that day I was doing really well. I remember so many times where the whole day would slip by and I would get nothing of substance accomplished. I did all the proper “mom” things. I cooked, I cleaned, I played with the girls, I read books to them, I did laundry. I feel like I was a good mother during that time, but I wasn’t taking any time to improve my own personal health.
At 300 pounds I couldn’t even fathom what losing over 100 pounds would look like. The thought of losing that much weight was absolutely overwhelming and seemed impossible. Not to say I didn’t try. I was always on some kind of diet, trying some kind of new recipe and always thinking about losing weight. Unfortunately, what I never did was move beyond thinking about it, to actually doing it. Part of the problem was that I couldn’t seem to set any realistic goals for myself.
If I did think about setting a goal, I automatically went for the “big goal.” I’ve got to lose over 100 pounds. That was the goal. I never thought of setting weight loss goals in increments. Had I done that, I might have been satisfied with the random 10 or 15 pounds I lost over and over.
Instead, when I did manage to lose a few pounds, the “big goal” seemed so far away that I just gave up and went back to the pantry for more chocolate. Chocolate may have made me feel better for a few minutes, but it only hastened the regaining of my lost 10 pounds.
When I finally started with my Fit to the Finish plan, I realized that starting out with the “big goal” wasn’t going to work. After all, it had never worked in the past. So that time, instead of looking at the enormity of the weight I had to lose, I broke it into steps and pieces. I knew I couldn’t lose 20 pounds in one day, or in one week, or probably in one month. So rather than just looking at the pounds lost, I reoriented my thinking in terms of five pound steps. When I got to 279, that was fabulous, and instead of looking ahead to 199, I thought about when I hit 274. And then what I would feel like at 269, and 264. I went down five pounds by five pounds on the scale, until one day I did hit 199. And then I hit 179, and 169 and so on.
Step by step it worked. By focusing on small pieces of the big picture, I was finally able to move from “thinking” about weight loss to actually “doing” weight loss. And with each five pounds I lost, I gained a little bit of confidence that this time was going to be different. This time I would finally lose more than 10 pounds, and I would actually keep it off. It worked. Thirteen years have gone by now, and throughout those years I’ve had struggles like the rest of you. But I never lost sight of what it felt like to be overweight, and knew I never wanted to go back.
So as you begin your weekend, what small goals can you set for yourself? They don’t have to be huge, sweeping goals, but rather just small changes to move you closer to where you want to be. My goal for this week is to break out my cookbooks and get some new recipes on the menu for October. Some recipes that are tasty, healthy, and ones that even my four-year-old will like. Wish me luck!