Floating not Bloating
Well, so much talk lately about fairy tales and continuous bad habits and perpetual lying to ourselves that at times I forget that there are a lot of new readers and many of you who may need a refresher on how this all works. The hardest time of the year has just passed and I know that you are all feeling that “itch to get started” feeling, that feeling of “weight loss” again! Why? Because you must be tired of feeling like the big rolly polly that the summer humidity has left us all feeling. Because it feels so good to feel slim again, to feel like our efforts are not for naught, that we can do this, and that we will do it! Time to take the next step, and please think of it as the next step, a fresh one and the appropriate step to take, rather than the perpetual feeling that you are starting all over again, re-losing those same pounds that you inevitably lose every year. This is a process, and I hope that you by this point understand that there is no getting off of this ride once you have truly bought your ticket, you may go up and down and all around but that is all part of the trip.
Hopefully, you have all learned some valuable lessons over the summer and have also understood that this is all one small part of the whole picture and that without each and every step that you take, without every lesson you learn, without every pound that you lose and gain and lose and gain and get so sick of doing that, that you put an end to all of the silly games and diets and fads and keep placing one foot in front of the next and keep keeping on. That is how it is done, by understanding that it is hard, by holding on when you think you can’t any longer and that perhaps this time for the first time you may have not thrown in that proverbial towel, that this time you just held on and now you can say that you did not do badly standing here at the end of a hot summer, that no matter what happened it was ok.
There are some lessons that I learned when I was young, granted hard to learn them as a young girl but they have stayed with me all of these years. One of them is pertinent to this feeling of holding on. When I was young, my father thought it was very important for all his kids to be strong swimmers and was determined to teach us, sink or swim! Well, we swam, and one time he took me way out in the ocean, I was young around 8 or 9, and a little scared but away we went. I remember that we swam way out into the ocean and I started to get nervous because I could hardly see the beach any longer, I trusted my father but I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it back. So, when we were really far out, he told me to get on my back and float there. So I did and then we just stayed there for a while, floating, breathing, and resting. I was still nervous but when I realized that nothing was going to happen other than the fact that we were resting I started to enjoy the peace of lying there on my back in what seemed an endless ocean, only hearing the water splash around my head, and hearing the sound of my breath begin to slow itself.
After a while, he said okay, and then we swam back to shore. What does this have to do with what I have been talking about? Well, you see it is in the journey. You may think that you go on and off diets and you are continuously thinking that you have failed and restart again and then you fail again and so on and so forth. But one of the things I learned when I was swimming is that it doesn’t always look like we thought it would. I thought I was just this young little girl, scared of going out into the ocean, not knowing what to expect, and not knowing if I would be strong enough to make it all the way out there and then be able to return. But somehow I did and when I got too tired to go on, my father taught me that I could rest and the rest was part of the swim, part of the journey.
I didn’t swim out there and then get tired and then drown. That is not what happened, I rested, and then after resting, I swam back. There was no break in the journey, resting was not a failure, drowning would have been and if my father had not shown me how to rest on my back I may have not been able to get back. Just as I am now teaching you how to rest in between the moments that you feel like you should be drowning, when you are struggling and want to quit and let it all go, I want you to remember that no matter what, you are always going to want to make it to the end, that just because you are tired does not mean that you are done, that you have lost, that there is anything that you can do to mess this up as long as you understand you are still on the path, that you have always been and may always be until you have accepted the fact that your path is going to look different at different times.
If you don’t know how to flip over on your back and rest and enjoy that part of your journey too, you will get tired, and you will make the mistake of trying to tread water, but you won’t realize that you are tired and you can only tread water for a short period of time, you think that something is wrong with you but there isn’t! This is what it looks like, the road is long and scary and even though there are others swimming by your side, this is your journey and no one can do it for you, but I can show you what it looks like and what you need to do when you think you can’t go on any further.
This is important, there is no difference between losing weight and holding on, and to be honest, gaining weight as well. But if you understand what it looks like then you can learn to float on your back until it is time to drop down again. There is no difference in this path, you will be up and down and you will stay the same, but every time you give up, every time you say to yourself that you don’t care, you are first of all lying to yourself and second of all only making everything so much more difficult for yourself.
I have had some clients who were mostly disappointed that they did not go down in weight during the summer, and I want to shake them because I remember the summers before when they went up in weight, year after year. Now this summer almost everyone stayed the same or went down. That is not a failure that is a success! That is the same as me floating on my back to take a rest before swimming back and not drowning and failing. You may think that doing it that way will take forever, actually, it won’t. What takes forever is stopping and gaining your weight back. Losing weight and then holding on then losing some more only gets you lighter, year after year and before you know it you are maintaining your ideal weight, and that is success, that is the way it should be.
So stay the course, pat yourself on your back, unless you’re floating on it, and swim yourself back to shore. It is not as far as you may think, and if you get tired again, no biggy, flip over and take a break.