Wednesday, July 19, 2006

With an eye on the future

First, thanks for all your comments yesterday. I love having my own little pep squad. Stretchy, what you said has made me think more about how I can support staying at goal when I get there. Jonathan seems to have figured it out, but I know, as he does, that it's an ongoing process. And I also am thinking that it can't be limited to the physical goal of a number on the scale. My goal needs to be all-inclusive: not just how I look or what size I am, but how I feel and how I relate to others.

I've been recovering in and following the principles of a 12-step program for more than 15 years. A phrase from one of our books says:
"We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it."
To me, that means what's done is done. Let's learn from our mistakes – and successes – and move on. I've tried to be mindful of that this year, because I've spent so much of the past several years feeling frustrated about my inability to release excess weight.

Another important recovery concept is that of living one day at a time. I know it's trite, but I really only have this day, and I really should make the best of it, because I'll never have it again.

Sometimes it's challenging to always do the next right thing. I've had some good examples to follow, though, and my Inner Bitch doesn't come out quite as often as she used to. I'm more comfortable staying calm, thinking things through, making a plan and following through with it, than I am pitching a fit [is that a Southern expression, or do people all over the country/world use it?] and creating chaos.

My motto used to be "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space." Now? Not so much.

I'm not very comfortable looking ahead, not knowing what will happen. I can "plan the plan, not the result." But past experience can show me what might be likely to happen.

For the next six months – and beyond – I can pretty much count on a fit, healthy body and mind if I continue to nourish it properly and exercise it regularly. I don't want my future to look anything like those of my parents and grandparents.
My mother died at 59, of cancer. She wasn't particularly active, fought a lifelong battle with her weight and probably suffered from depression.

Her mother died at 90, of pancreatitis, COPD and emphysema. The last 10 years of her life she sat in a chair, watching television and her birdfeeder, tethered to an oxygen tank. She had severe osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and could break a bone walking from the living room to the bedroom.

My grandfather died in his late 60s of heart failure and cirrhosis. What I remember most about him was his impressive temper.

My father is 76, has had two knee replacements which didn't help his pain or mobility and takes a handful of prescription medications two or three times a day. He has to control his blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes with pharmaceuticals. He's too heavy and in too much pain to even walk one block. [Fortunately, he has a wonderful outlook on life, in spite of his physical limitations.]
No, I don't want my future to look like theirs. I want no – or at least few – limitations on what I can do, how comfortably I can do it, how far I can go. There are no guarantees in life; I don't know what's going to happen today or tomorrow or next week or 10 years from now. But if you keep on doing what you always did, you'll keep on getting what you always got.

If I keep doing what's good, what's true, what's right, I can pretty much count on more of the same.

So can you.

5 comments:

loretta123 said...

Living one day at a time. Ah, the blessing or curse of recovery! When I’m in a bad place with food, it translates into “I might as well eat that cheesecake because tomorrow may never come.” When I’m in a good place, it says “I may have that cheesecake tomorrow, but today I’m going to eat healthfully.” Attitude is everything!

When I’ve got the right attitude, it’s so easy. When I don’t, boy oh boy, it’s a mess! The good news is I choose. And if I make a bad choice, I get to choose again! What a deal!

EJ said...

My grandmother-in-law is in her late 70s and still teaches classes in yoga and tai chi. She lives independently, uses computers, and travels around the world. She is physically, mentally, and emotionally centered and vital--very much unlike most of my birth family. I wish everyone had a similar role model, not just for aging, but for living! She'd like what you have to say.

Greta said...

I totally agree with you. Even though I have a certain vanity about my appearance, my desire to eat healthful food and exercise stems from a desire to stay fit and healthy. There's a huge difference in how I feel when I am close to goal weight versus even 10 or 20 pounds more than goal. It seems to me it's easier to eat right when the focus is on good health. When the focus is just on weight then it gets too easy to healthy food for trade junk food because the calorie count is the same. I understand that your eating plan is not like that Debbie, but several of my friends follow Weight Watchers "Points" plans and they eat a lot of junk food in their daily Points allotment. I found when I switched away from Points and towards eating whole grains, beans, veggies, fruits that my cravings decreased, my hunger was met, and I felt healthier. WHAT you eat is so important. It's not all about weight loss at all.

Debbi said...

Greta, I also ate junk when I was following WW. I especially ate the WW-branded, packaged, processed junk -- frozen treats were almost a daily indulgence. As long as I was within my Points allowance, I figured I was doing fine. But I didn't have enough energy to get through the day, let alone exercise.

I'm so glad I've found a better, more healthful way to nourish myself.

Anonymous said...

"But if you keep on doing what you always did, you'll keep on getting what you always got." Man, did that truth just hit me between the eyes, or what? Thank you for that wisdom, and continued good luck and success on your journey!

- Connie