Start where you’re at

I have this friend.  She is a funny, loyal, tough, insightful and creative trailblazer.  She’s relatively self-aware, and she pushes herself to great lengths to be the best person she can be.  She does struggle with her issues sometimes. She can be her own worst enemy, especially when it comes to eating and exercise.  She is an obese middle-aged woman, living a mostly sedentary lifestyle.  When she tries to implement change into her life with food and body movement, she often sets the bar too high and tries to do too much at once, setting herself up to fail.  She doesn’t often talk about it, but her body hurts every day of her life due to the inactivity and extra weight.  She has problems with her knees and feet, and she has lost a lot of the strength and physical vitality she had even 5 years ago.  Sometimes, she doesn’t know if her legs will support her when she has to get up from a sitting position. She has an all or nothing attitude about food and exercise, eating either very healthy food or complete garbage; there is no middle ground.  She can’t exercise for more than a few minutes at a time because she has little physical stamina.  She gets discouraged about this, and she gives up.  She doesn’t see how five minutes of walking- the only walking she can really do- can help her at all.  While she understands the concept of building endurance, she lacks the patience and gives up far too easily when it comes to this area of her life.   I love this friend, but sometimes I just want to smack her too.   This friend is the Fat Me, and this is what I want to say to her:

Hey you;

You have no idea how much you are loved.  I am here for you to help in whatever way I can.  You have to do the work, but YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  I want to be your cheerleader, encouraging you to any minute victory that moves you in the right direction.  You are so smart most of the time, but you are lying to yourself about your physical state.  You have transcended so much pain and grief in your life.  You can do this too.  You never thought you would accomplish the things that you have.  Your life is just now getting really full and rich and interesting,  I  really wish you could enjoy it more!  I want what is best for you, and that doesn’t include struggling to get out of bed and feeling hopeless about your situation.  This is a very fixable obstacle.  You know what to do.  I know you have issues with follow through,  I know that you are on some level afraid to be smaller.  Big equals power for you,  but I am here to tell you that you are a being of immense power that has nothing to do with your physical size.  You have huge energy, but you don’t have to have a huge body.

I also know that you never will be truly THIN, and that’s fine.  I wish good health for you, a concept completely removed from body size.  You’ve always been a little zaftig, and there is no way you will ever look like an emaciated cover model.  Nor do you really want to.  But, in the recent words of a beloved friend, it’s not going to get any easier.  If you are waiting for the Weight Loss Fairy to thunk you upside the head with a miracle cure for fat, it ain’t gonna happen.  You already have all the answers about what you need to do with food intake.  It’s simple math, and you have learned in the past year that when you eat a certain way, you feel FANTASTIC, energetic and optimistic.  Clean and clear.  And when you make other less stellar food choices, you feel like crap.  Pay attention to this, and let it be the barometer by which you measure whether or not to put something in your mouth.  If it makes you feel like shit, STOP DOING IT!!  Believe that it’s possible to create a healthy lifestyle that encompasses food choices beyond carrots, celery and tuna (the holy trinity of “diet” hell).  If I had the power to give you one gift, it would be to stop using food to punish and sabotage yourself.  I wish you could make more food choices out of love and respect for your body.  I know this is a process, and I know you can do it.

And the same thing goes for moving your body.  Cracking the whip and saying you are going to go from inertia to exercising 30 minutes a day 3 times a week is a load of crap.  It’s impossible for you- you have proved this time and time and time again.  Start where you’re at.  Keep a record.  If you can only do 5 minutes (or 3 minutes) on that exercise bike, don’t judge it.  Embrace it as 3 less minutes of inactivity.  Be proud of it, celebrate it, and notice how your body feels after a few days.  Your body used to be a lot stronger.  It remembers how to get back there.  Don’t get in its way with your defeatist attitude and let it do its thing!  Your body doesn’t want to be fat and immobile.  It wants to be strong and energetic and in pace with the rest of your life.  Make no doubt, this is a priority for you.  It is time to do whatever you need to do to motivate yourself to take those first steps.  That’s all you have to do.  Once you get in a groove with a little activity, your body will encourage you to push a little harder.  You may never run a marathon, but you’ll eventually be able to take the dog for a hike without dying.  Just walk around the block.  If you can’t do it yet, walk down the street.  You admire other overweight people you see out exercising.  It’s time to give yourself a little of that same admiration.  Trust me, it WILL get easier.  You WILL build endurance.  You WILL amaze yourself if you just stick to it.  You have overcome so many obstacles in your life.  This one is a piece of cake compared to some of the shit you’ve transcended.  I am here for you.  I love you.  Read this every day if you need to in order to get started.  It is okay to start where you’re at.  It’s okay to ask for help and encouragement.  It’s okay to indulge in a little cheerleading.  Give your body a chance to show you how amazingly transformative it can be.  Start where you’re at and just keep moving forward without judgment or harshness.  You deserve this, and you can do it.



~ by dancingwiththeshadow on November 4, 2012.

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