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Friday, September 28, 2007

The Triumph of Perseverance and
the Glory of Never, Ever Quitting

You don't just hurriedly throw a couple rocks on top of each other and call it a castle. You don't just throw a wet paintbrush at a canvas and call it a masterpiece.

At her blog today, Chubby Chick features a great Calvin cartoon (dontcha love Calvin and Hobbes!?) It's an ironic one, and it fits her post topic of persevering in this weight loss journey.

It's funny, cause this time around, I'm out to lose SLOWLY. And that's exactly how it's going. Every other time, I've psyched myself to lose 2-4 pounds a week--really aiming at 3 or more. Haven't you done that? Said, "Oh, one to two pounds a week is great" but inside you were thinking, "No, I must lose it FASTER. This isn't good enough!" Then, once the initial phase (a week, two weeks) of fast fat loss passed, and it settled to the drudgery of the daily discipline and the minimal losses, I'd get dissatisfied, frustrated, negative, and "bored."

I'd give up. Too few immediate rewards.

That's what children do. That's not what mature people do. That's not what artists out to make something that last do. That's not what castle-builders out to save their lives behind those fortress walls did.

If it's worth it and if it's durable, it will require patience, discipline, and persistence.

Well, this time, I've told myself that I must see it differently. My daily mantra: I must be vigilant and eat smaller portions for the rest of my life.

We hear that a lot about weight loss, but it's revolutionary all the same when it registers in one's own brain.

For life. No going off. No, "This is just to get the weight off."

No, it's for life.

I got fat for assorted reasons, but mostly cause I had bad habits in terms of portions and sedentary living.

I am working on the portions and calorie limits. I am still stuck in sedentary.

It's a work in progress. But, unlike Calvin, I can't afford to get bored.

I can't see this as a sprint. It's a marathon. A marathon that may last decades, depending on how long I live. And I've no doubt my bad habits and obesity robbed me of life. Things of value--like fitness, good health, weight loss--take time to do right, to do so it lasts. Anything that stands the test of time takes hard work and time: Castles, Cathedrals, raising kids, creating the Sistine Chapel...

We're works of art.

While I was in the bathroom after waking up, reaching for the t.p., I was telling myself, "It's for life."

While I got on the scale, I told myself, "It's for life, not just this week or today."

So, it was cool to see Chubby Chick's post. And her small, shimmering motto: "It's not a diet. It's a life-changing commitment."

I can't go back to huge portions of Italian food. Of emptying bread baskets in restaurants. Or eating half a pizza. Of snarfing down a slice of chocolate cake that could easily feed two. Of eating a foot-long sub. Of eating several ounces of cheese at a pop. Of generously dousing salads with dressing. Of eating the whole chocolate bar. Of having three tacos instead of one or two. Of having humongous bowls of cereal instead of measuring out a sound, sane portion. Of drinking 16 ounces of OJ instead of 6 or, at most, 8. Of forgetting to count the calories in the sides, like cranberry sauce. Of double portions of fatty gravy. Of thinking that if I share that oversized, American restaurant portion, that it's suddenly a virtuous, low-calorie entree. Half of a triple portion is still half a portion too much.

I can't just follow my appetite, cause it leads to destruction.

No. I gotta keep working at that work of art that will be called "The Triumph of Perseverance" when the labor delivers its fruit. That will be renamed "The Continued Triumph of Perseverance" when the loss is maintained.

It's for life.

And we gotta keep telling ourselves that. We don't get to go off the diet. The diet is a lifestyle, must be a lifestyle, or we will fail, cause we won't persevere.

I'm only in the earliest phase of this artwork. It's gonna be a while here, with the dust and chiseling and sketching and all those fumblings of the brush and the hammer. Inspiration is variable. The muse is often out doing errands. Still, the work goes on: If it's a pound a week, or a half-pound, then I'll say goodbye to 26 or 52 pounds next Columbus day. The scale is my friend. The scale lets me know it's ups and downs, but there's progress in the big picture.

Art takes time. Put on some music to help you keep going. We're all of us dancing and drawing and painting and sculpting our way to a better day, and we're not dancing alone. The smells of marble dust and colorful oils and metals shaped in the fire fill the air. Smell it? Nice to have company, yes?

For more on perseverance--though she might tag it "never, never, never give up-ing"--visit the terrific blog Escape from Obesity.


Zanitta said...

Nice post mir, it's esy to forget.

Also, thanks for your comment on my blog. However, At your age, I was clockwork. Clockwork. was it wrong to hate you just a little bit for that? ;). Looking at the last 6 months I go anywhere from 24 to 29 days (start to start), averaging out at 26.2. This means when I'm really lucky (like this month) it seems I get the priviledge, nay, the honour, of two in one month :X

Once Upon A Dieter said...

Don't be a hater, cause once I hit my mid-thirties and my thyroid went whack, I had shorter periods that lasted longer. Until last year, I was getting it every 21 days and it was lasting 8 to 11 days. Think about that. It was awful. I went through tampons like nobody's business and by the time it was done, I was totally abraded no matter what I used--pad or tampon--from the simple LENGTH of the thing and the intensity.

So, it was almost a relief to have it just plain stop for months. Sort of, cause then you worry about other things. Sigh.

I wish God had devised a better system for reproduction that didn't have to do with all the much. ; )

The Princess

R.E. said...

Much as we would like a quick fix, this healthy path truly has to be a lifestyle change. And scary as it seems at the beginning, with each step, hope that you will make that change grows.

Love your blog!

Nykky said...

Your posts are always very inspiring for me. <3

Scale Junkie said...

I'm in total agreement, this is a lifestyle change, a way of life. New habits and new ways of eating. Its all about making better choices and getting out there and moving our glorious bodies. Slow and steady wins the race!

Chubby Chick said...

Great post! If we all adopt this frame of mind and attitude... there is no way that any of us will fail!

Lady Rose said...

Great POST! you are so right - it's a change for life and slow and steady is the way to go (even if it's frustrating)

I'm on week 74 (lost only four pounds since June - but overall 90 lbs and a mere 62 more to go!)

We can do this!

Teale said...

I like the comparison to a marathon. The number one rule is to pace yourself, and it's no different when it comes to weight-loss!

Chubby Chick said...

You've just received an award, Your Highness. :)

MB said...

So true. What a great post. This is for life. There will be no going back to our old ways. We will learn how to deal with temptations, give in when we must and move on.

Lyn said...

Thanks for the mention! I love your blog. Makes for some great and inspiring reading. Oh... and remember... Never give up!!! :)