At Catch Your Limit we’re big on taking time to celebrate our victories. Particularly when you’re working on long term projects you need to be able to replenish your commitment well. That’s my term for your reserve. The place within you where you draw the energy and will to persevere.
Just before last Thanksgiving I stepped on the scale and was shocked and discouraged to see that I weighed more than I ever had in my life, 222 pounds. To make matters worse I had a closet full of bespoke suits that no longer fit. My shirt collars were tight.
Anyone who knows me, knows I subscribe to Cary Grant’s dictum that, “You remember the well-dressed gentleman was well dressed. You do not remember what he was wearing.”
Looking at myself in the mirror, the only thing I could think of was that I looked like a six pound sausage in a five pound wrap.
So, with the holidays approaching I knew it was unrealistic to think I would lose weight before the new year.
I decided to concentrate on not gaining anymore weight before New Years and to reach my 1995 weight of 198# by July 4th.
As with all change initiatives, it’s important to have a clear goal and to monitor your progress. It’s also imperative to have a plan for how you’re going to get from A to B.
Because I hate exercising for the sake of exercising, my first strategy was to limit my intake.
For a man my size and age, 1,800 calories a day was supposed to keep me at the same weight.
I decided to aim for 1,600 calories a day.
One other piece of information I haven’t shared is I crave cookies. In particular Girl Scout mint cookies, Keebler Rich and Chips with the peanut butter chips and ginger snaps. I’ve a framed “Plugger” cartoon that says, “When a Plugger is left alone the serving size on a bag of cookies is One.”
The simplest strategy I adopted was DO NOT walk down the cookie aisle at the grocery store. If you don’t bring the cookies in the house, you won’t eat them. Cause you can’t eat what isn’t there.
This was working pretty well until I hit the 208-210 mark. My daughters have laughed over the years as I have celebrated 208. Only to regain the lost weight and have to start again. This time when I plateaued I decided to add a little, dare I say it, exercise.
So, I started walking the 3/4 mile to the Hardee’s for breakfast. That gave me an average of 4+ miles a week coupled with walking the pipeline along the James River to lunch. Pretty soon I was dropping weight again.
Now there were some set backs along the way. I was in Martin’s and there in the middle of the aisle in front of the cash registers was a siren display. Ginger Snaps! On sale! Two bags for a dollar. Marie wasn’t feeling well and ginger snaps settle her stomach. So good husband that I am; I bought 4 bags.
I had eaten them all in 4 days.
Back to walking AND staying away from the cookie aisle.
Yesterday, I got on the scale and it settled on 198. In the days leading up to that weigh in I thought I wasn’t going to make the goal, but I was not discouraged. I was closer to achieving my goal than I would have been had I not had a goal on which to focus my attention, energy and will.
Unintended consequences, the Virginia Blood Service put out an emergency call for donations and Marie and I went to contribute. In preparation for giving they took my blood pressure and it was the lowest it’s been in a while: 130/80.
So, I’m celebrating. I’m not watching what I eat this weekend, because I know come Monday I’m going to set a new goal of tightening my stomach muscles, losing a few more pounds and a couple of inches around my waist.
I expect my back and knees will feel better and my clothes will fit , feel and look better, but most importantly, I’m looking forward to what unintended consequence may come of this next stage.
I leave you with these thoughts. It’s better to have a goal and fall short than not to have a goal. I’ve been trying to get back to 198# since 1995. I didn’t quit although I fell down many, many times.
Pick a goal, make a plan and monitor your progress. I believe you’ll get there, sooner or later. But without the goal, how will you find the will to dip into your commitment well and keep plugging away?
><(("> Gayle Turner
Gayle is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a consulting firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.