I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m incredibly patient, and in some respects I can be. I get calls at work from people who clearly have done zero research about our program and want me to hold their hand while they navigate our website. Sometimes they ask the same question multiple times because they weren’t really listening the first two times I told them or their grasp of English isn’t great. In the sense that I take my time with these folks and help them get the information they need, I guess I am patient. Does it mean I don’t want to scream into the receiver or just hang up sometimes (a LOT of times)? No. I frequently want to do both of those things, I just don’t. It’s important to my livelihood and, quite honestly, my self esteem that I handle these people gently. Hatefulness has two victims – the hated and the hater.
Fitness/weight loss is an area that I would say I am distinctly lacking in patience, which has resulted in a lot of time wasted being hateful to myself. I want results, oh…yesterday. I have metaphorically hung up on myself many times. The difference that I’ve noticed this time is a new level of attentiveness to the more subtle changes that are taking place. I am taking my time to be aware of how much better I feel right now. In doing so I feel better about myself, about my food choices and strong in my workouts. I’m also able to reason with myself rather than make excuses. For example, this morning as I was lying in bed feeling extremely tired I thought, “but I’m not any more tired now than I used to be on mornings when I wasn’t working out.” The fact is, I have a two-hour commute and driving makes me tense. Going from the office to the car to get my gym bag and then right back to the rec center is easy. I’ve made it as easy as I possibly can. Getting on the treadmill to run – or lift weights on alternate days – gives me that strong feeling, eases any tension from the day and puts me in a better frame of mind for the drive home.
In this way I am handling myself gently. I don’t go home, plop on the couch and eat to ease stress anymore. Why? Because feeling bad about myself and berating myself feels bad and increases that stress. I also don’t deny myself all of my favorite foods – I just don’t consume them in mass quantities or even consume them every day. I get that Starbucks beverage now and then. I have an actual measured single serving size of potato chips (and I really have a deep love relationship with potato chips). And if I’m pushing my calorie limit, I put in a little more time in the gym to defray the caloric costs and keep me from wanting to throw in the towel and pig out.
Even with all of this, I still fear that I will fall back into my old habits. That at some point my weaker side will revolt and declare that it DESERVES to sit on the couch and pig out. Manipulative inner voices will tell me that results aren’t happening fast enough, so I should just quit and learn to love myself as I am.
Wow. For the first time I have looked at that thought pattern and I can see that I am telling myself that I deserve to treat myself like crap. Ouch.
I’ve been at this for almost four weeks so far. As of March 3rd, I’m down about 5 pounds. Part of me is whining that this isn’t enough, but the other part is thinking that about a pound a week is a good, sustainable pace. That same “other part” is reminding myself that I feel better about myself now than I have in ages, that I’m running again and that I have races planned. I was even mentioned on my favorite podcast! So while today I am especially tired (traffic last night was awful) and feeling like I’d like to nap, I still don’t feel like drowning my sorrows in chips. I feel like hopping on the treadmill (it’s very cold outside) and working up a good sweat. THIS is a triumph and one for which I am deeply grateful.
Run on, y’all!