Today is an overcast day; the fall colors have come to the trees and my second favorite time of the year has arrived. It’s a time of harvest in Iowa, with the corn and soybeans turning brown and drying naturally. The apples in the orchards are being picked to eat, can and make pies. Grapes are being gathered in handfuls to make grape juice or snack on and the local wineries are having grape stomping festivals and musical events to bring attention to their facilities.
As we take care of the land and the crops that have been entrusted to us, it bears forth its bounty in abundance. Our hard work is paid tangibly in the produce that is created and, as we toil and labor; our bodies physically become toned, agile and improve in stamina, endurance and strength. However, there is an intangible reward that is just as beneficial. Mentally, our minds clear, we feel pride in our accomplishments and there is a general sense of well being from having completed tasks well. The tangible and intangible rewards combined, make the entire experience very well worthwhile and create many fond memories over a lifetime.
Now, you may wonder, what does all that have to do with weight loss? How can these journeys, which many of us enter with dread and fear and a constant longing for it to be over quickly, be one of our greatest treasures?
Just as the farmer tends to the land, we are called upon to tend to our bodies. We can learn many lessons from the farmer and establish the same ones for ourselves.
The farmer gets up early, eats breakfast and begins attending to the work at hand. Follow the farmer’s lead; get up early, eat breakfast, begin your day with a purpose of tending to yourself.
As the farmer tills the land, he is clearing the land of weeds and preparing it to accept the new seeds. For weight loss, it means clearing our cupboards of the “weeds” that try to stand in our way of success.
The farmer plants the seeds, provides them with nourishment and keeps a constant look out for weeds. As the weeds occur, and they are bound to, he faithfully and gently does not give up and keeps tackling them with additional time and effort and the belief, that in doing so, the crop will survive and he will be rewarded at a later date. As we change our lifestyles, we also need to be vigilant about our “weeds”. We need to work to keep our trigger foods at bay, strive to learn about ourselves and establish a better relationship with food.
We need to choose better nourishment for our bodies in order to remain healthy as we gently and faithfully move forward in caring for ourselves. We must not allow ourselves to give up; we need to faithfully and steadfastly continue our efforts. We need to believe in the new vision of our healthy self, which we are assured will come with patience and perseverance.
It is important to notice the farmer’s attitude here. He rises each day with renewed spirit to do what he can to protect the crop. He doesn’t spend his time wishing the plants would turn into the harvest crop overnight. He realizes that t here are joy, perseverance and character built into the slow journey it takes to partake in the finished product.
You see, the journey is how we spend the days of our lives and, as those days unfold, we are blessed with countless rewards that would otherwise be missed. I f we focus only on the end of our journey and spend all our time trying to figure out how to jump from spring to fall, we miss out on the countless successes, the many joys and our accomplishments along the way.
In the eyes of the farmer, he would miss the flowers of spring, the leaves budding out, the birth of wildlife, the birds singing … the change into summer where the sun shines warmly on the land and our face, the activity of young animals, the shade of mature trees, the activities of summer … to the beginnings of fall with the leaves turning, the squirrels storing acorns, the hum of tractors and combines and children returning to school.
In weight loss, we would miss the friendships that form along the way, the knowledge that is gained in sharing our journeys and, if we lost that , how would we stay successful if we could jump from beginning to end, fat to thin? In facing the inevitable setbacks, we learn strength and perseverance and the reasons behind our unhealthy relationship with food. The journey allows us to plan and readjust our plans to find a workable long-term solution that not only allows us to lose weight, but also provides us with one that can be maintained throughout a lifetime. We learn of our inner strength and are surprised because we weren’t sure we had any. We put in the work that makes the end reward so precious; one that we tend to the rest of our lives.
As I traveled my journey over the past 27 months, I have enjoyed the friendship, support and knowledge shared by the most amazing group of people I have been privileged to meet. I have learned to like myself, forgive myself and that I can face the emotions that were the root cause of my unhealthy relationship with food. I learned I am determined, that I can persevere through the difficulties of life and I can “feel” the sadness and loneliness that is sometimes found in life.
I also learned I will survive those times and, rather than living in them and dwelling on them, I remember them and move forward to again find happiness and friendship. I’ve realized there is a balance between the two ends of the emotional spectrum because each one helps us to better appreciate the other. The key is to find balance for the majority of our lives and allowing the highs and lows to make us aware of what a blessing the emotion and finding balance is. I’ve learned I am strong, much stronger than I thought. I’ve learned I can succeed and enjoy the fruits of my labor in increased health, better self-esteem and physical fitness. I’ve amassed much knowledge. I’ve learned to believe in myself, in others and in life! I’ve learned to set goals, have dreams and go for them!!! These are our greatest rewards … found within this journey … and it is most cherished and culminates in the most precious days of our lives!
Won’t you please join us in a slow, rational and steady pace to appreciate and realize the journey of your lifetime? We Believe in YOU!!!