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Joy vs. Drudgery: Weight Loss and Hopping

Posted Sep 24 2010 4:35am
Every time I see Claire lately, we have the same conversation:

Claire: Grammy, your boo boo all better?
Me: Almost.
Claire: You can hop wiff me?
Me: Not yet, honey. Soon.

Claire’s a hopper. And a jumper and a skipper and a runner and a tricylcer. But mostly she’s a hopper. It’s in her blood.
Mommy Cassie hopping
Auntie Carly hopping

I introduced Claire to hopscotch last year. I drew a great big hopscotch grid on the driveway, and while she didn’t understand the rules, the grid gave her hopping a focus. Now she hops up a curb, she hops down a curb. She hops over cracks in the sidewalk, hops up stairs, and hops from one brick to another on a cobblestone street. When we went camping in August, she found two logs she could hop between. In parking lots, she hops between the concrete parking guides.

We think of hopping as fundamentally easy, but if you watch a child hop, you’ll see much more than carefree fun. Hopping is serious business. In the year that she’s been hopping, Claire’s fallen enough times to know hopping requires her full attention. Before she hops, even if it’s a split second, she concentrates, calculates how much oomph she’ll need in regard to distance, and executes her move with precision.

A lot of people think of weight loss as fundamentally easy, too. The formula – eat less, move more – is simple enough, right? So why is it so damn hard to lose and even harder to keep it off?

I think it’s because we forget that weight loss and maintenance can be fun

Watching Claire hopping yesterday, I saw fun within her determination and concentration. She knows hopping takes a lot of energy, but she also elicits a great deal of joy from it, and it’s that joy that makes it worth all the effort.

In my last blog, I wrote about finding balance in how we lose weight, incorporating healthy eating into our everyday routine rather than viewing it as temporary, like it’s some kind of injury (see “ Lynn’s ‘Balance Plan’ ”). In a comment, Ruth wrote: “…the reason for such high recidivism in 'dieting’…(is) the view that it is a restriction, not a choice.”

Weight loss – or any big change toward the positive we make in our lives – is tough, but it can be fun, too. Maybe not circus fun or theme park fun. But fun is knowing you won’t be so full that you’ll have heartburn every day. Fun is knowing your body is running more efficiently. Fun is dropping a pants size. Fun is learning to work parts of your body you’d ignored for years. Fun is waking up in the morning fresh, knowing any “falls” you might have had the day or week or month before are all in the past.

I can’t wait to hop with Claire again, to not be on the sidelines or on the outside looking in at total joy. The same was true with weight loss. Almost six years ago I got off the sidelines and allowed weight loss to become the joy I’d been looking in at for so many years.

So…how are you having fun with weight loss or maintenance?
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