I’m not sure I trust conventional wisdom about how long it takes to adopt a new habit. Three weeks? Three months?
I’ve spent years eating badly, avoiding exercise, and being unhappy about my weight, but doing nothing to change those facts.
I hope that nearly a year of eating nutritious foods in reasonable quantities while exercising on a regular basis means I’ll stay on the path I’ve been on this past year, but I’m a realist: I’ll always have to work at it.
I can’t hope that it comes naturally, because hope isn’t enough. I need to keep doing what I’m doing to keep getting the results I’m getting.
Our assignment last night was to come back to class next week with a list of ten reasons that we won’t let ourselves gain the weight back and relapse into unhealthy habits. I’m starting to compile my list:
- I sleep better and wake up feeling happy now that I’m eating well and exercising regularly.
- I like not spending the time and money it took to be on prescription medication to control a condition that arises from being overweight and out of shape, like high blood pressure.
- I was at risk for diabetes before I lost weight. I do not want to find out what it would mean to have diabetes.
- When I flex my arms, I can see where my triceps are. In a pinch, I’ll now allow myself out in public in sleeveless clothes. (This is Houston, where we’re already having temps in the mid-90s, so that’s critical.) I have defined muscles in my legs, too, and I am strong.
- Almost all stores carry clothes in my size. The ones that still don’t, I can’t afford anyway.
- I have a neck, and most necklaces fit around it with ease.
- I don’t have to say a magic spell while sucking in my stomach to make an airline seat belt fit.
- I can actually walk, skate, or run to get places instead of using my car.
- I’m not afraid to be in pictures, and I’m even using a photo of myself on Facebook.
- I’ve accomplished something that took hard work, and I’m proud of that, and I’m feeling more confident because of it.
That’s the start of my list, without too much reflection. It boils down to being scared of being sick, and ashamed of how I looked while carrying extra weight on my body.
Shame and fear.
I posted these because I’m trying to figure out if shame and fear are motivators that can keep me from going back, or if I’m setting myself up for failure by having negative motivators instead of positive ones.
Maybe that’s a false dichotomy anyway. Saying I love feeling healthy really says just as clearly that I hate/am ashamed of/don’t like feeling unhealthy. Or is it?
What would some of your reasons be? Do you think it is bad to have negative reasons that reflect fear and shallow thinking about appearance?