“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”
General wisdom says dieting is something you do temporarily with a specific goal in mind. Most people think weight loss involves lots of sacrifice, and no one in their right mind would deny themselves the good things in life indefinitely. The goal is to get back to “normal” as soon as possible. Otherwise, why would it be worth dieting?
This is how I used to think about weight loss. In fact, last year my New Year’s resolution was to be back to normal weight by end of 2011. I fully intended to then stop dieting. But things have changed. I no longer view the food I eat as a weight loss regime and I don’t want things to go back to the old “normal”.
I admit my daily diet is restrictive in some key areas. But I enjoy the food I eat and I love what it’s doing to me. I can’t remember feeling this good since I was a teenager.
Aside from weight loss, lot’s of other things have changed in my life since switching to a primal life-style. Overall, I have gone from a person who was chronically fatigued to someone who is full of energy.
- I used to hate physical activity, but I now find myself exercising with great enthusiasm. I can’t bear to be sedentary. I have to move, otherwise I get jittery.
- My mental stamina is better than I thought possible at my age. I no longer have the volatile ups and downs I used to have. My energy level stays high throughout the day.
- I wake up refreshed in the morning, and I rarely need an alarm clock to get me out of bed. I sleep better because I no longer snore, and I no longer get up 3-4 times a night to go to the bathroom.
- Somehow, I am less stressed and less anxious than previously. I don’t quite know how to describe or explain this. But somehow I have acquired a quiet confidence and it’s making a real difference to my daily life.
The way I look at it now, my new waistline is the least of my achievements. It’s no exaggeration to say I have gained a whole new life. That’s why I will never stop “dieting”. It just makes me feel too good!
The Christmas break is coming to an end and it is time to look forward to 2012. I thought I would sign off for 2011 by sharing a selection of favourite quotes:
“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” – Frank Tibolt
“You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act. It’s a habit” – Aristotle
“Whatever the situation, it is important you recognise that fearfulness is a product of your own mind. You should aspire to operate with an awareness of your fear and to contain the danger of paralysis by deliberately self-managing your mindset with great determination.” – Unknown
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit
“Attitude, not aptitude will determine your altitude.” – Unknown
“An expert is a master of the basics.” – Unknown
“Although nobody can go back and start a new beginning, anybody can start now and create a new ending” – Chico Xavier
“The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of it’s way to line up all the pins either.” – Tim Ferris
“Do not stop yourself from acting because you overestimated the competition and underestimated yourself.” – Unknown
“Purpose as a currency is more valuable than money.” – Proverb
“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.” – Lou Holtz
“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong
I made the point in a previous article that to a degree you think yourself thin.
Here is a technique I used to keep myself focused on my weight loss goals. It may sound like clichéed pop psychology to some of you, but bear with me. This really did work very effectively for me.
Some time ago I stumbled upon a piece of motivational writing that suggested a simple approach: Write about your future in present tense as if it has already happened. Then read through it once a day.
I decided to break it down under three headers:
- What I want my life to be
- How I need to live today to achieve this
- How the world will tell me I am achieving my goals
I also decided that absolutely no negative statements would be allowed. This meant eliminating my tendency to focus on what I couldn’t do or couldn’t eat.
It took a while to write something that felt right and sounded authentic. I think I went through 15 or 20 revisions over the course of a week.
I ended up calling the end result my Personal Health Resolution. And I did read through it almost every day for a couple of months. I decided to set no other goals for myself. All I had to do was read about the future I had imagined for myself.
It is interesting how this prompted me to take little steps every day, and how this in the end resulted in a lot of change.
I am pleased to be able to report that my Personal Health Resolution is nearly all reality. As far as my 7-year old son is concerned, Daddy is still fat. I also have a long way to go before I would describe myself as a proficient tennis player. But I am otherwise living the life I imagined for myself.
Here is the Personal Health Resolution I ended up with. If you decide to write for your own, leave a comment and tell us about it.
PETER’S PERSONAL HEALTH RESOLUTION
What I want my life to be
- I am agile, flexible and free of mobility impairments, discomforts and aches
- Exercise is an enjoyable social activity I share with my family and friends every week both at home and when I travel for business.
- I am a proficient tennis player who plays every week, sometimes several times a week.
- I am comfortable in my skin and wear summer clothes and swimwear confidently.
- Food is a guilt-free enjoyment that comes free of worry about weight gain.
- I enter men’s fashion shops with confidence knowing I will find clothes I like in sizes that fit me.
How I need to live today to achieve this?
- My diet consists mostly of meat, fish, eggs and vegetables.
- I avoid grains and sugary foods as well as drinks that contain calories.
- I eat when I am hungry and I eat until I am full.
- I am the guy who gets local friends together every week to play basketball in the local park.
- I take part in weekly tennis classes and I play matches with friends once a week.
- I adopt a mindset and a daily routine that makes it natural and easy for me to get 8-9h sleep almost every night
- I experiment with foods to develop meals I really enjoy eating whilst achieving my health goals
- I study exercise and nutrition to improve the effectiveness of the daily habits I adopt.
How the world will tell me I am achieving my goals
- My doctor tells me she is impressed with the health improvements I have achieved and with my insights into human health.
- People start saying things like “What happened to you? You lost a lot of weight!”
- People start seeking my advice on how to loose weight and improve their health.
- I get invited to participate in sports activities I didn’t get invited to before.
- My son stops saying “Daddy, you are really fat!!”