“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

I love Elanor Roosevelt quotes. I wish I were as wise as she was! One quote I refer to all the time is her quote about how someone can’t make you feel inferior without your permission. So true. We get upset at those around us for bringing us down, when the truth is, they can’t bring us down unless we allow them to. And this quote is even more powerful for me when it comes to working out. When I first started working out in 2002, I felt very overwhelmed. I did some weight lifting in high school, but mostly took the class because it was a non-thinking class located near the parking lot the last period of the day. Yes, seriously. So when I bought my first Firm DVD I was overwhelmed and didn’t think I’d ever finish that first workout (Cardio Sculpt). But a few months later I finished it. And a few months after that, I was ready for a new challenge. And I decided that challenge was running. When I was in good shape in high school, I couldn’t finish a mile. Even when threatened with a non-passing grade if I didn’t accomplish a nine-minute mile (which I did with the infamous “run the straights, walk the curves”) , I still couldn’t bring myself to run for long stretches. I felt like I just didn’t have that gene in me. I could do “Hell Week” for basketball and volleyball, but couldn’t run a straight mile.

Well, until I did.

After I got past that first mile, I felt like I could run for forever. It was all mental. And I’m so glad I overcame that (and that first Firm DVD). Now I feel like there’s nothing fitness-wise I CAN’T do, except the things I tell myself I can’t do. Some things take some training, but I can do whatever I want. I’m lifting heavier weights than I ever thought possible (people are always impressed when they come into my workout room, one friend even said, “Are these an ex-boyfriend’s weights?”). And I’ve run farther than I ever dreamed I would.

So if you’re saying you can’t do something, realize you’re the only one holding you back.

Now, where are my running shoes?

“The groundwork of all happiness is health.” -Leigh Hunt

Although I don’t base health on weight because I believe you can be fat and healthy or thin and unhealthy, I do believe that healthy means happy. Well, happier than if you were unhealthy. The healthier I am, the better I’m treating my body, the better mood I’m in. I’m not sluggish and depressed. My body’s more able to adapt to a lot of things, whether it’s playing with my nieces and nephews or cleaning my house. And in the long run, the healthier I am, the less I should have to go to the doctor, the less I worry about being able to stay mobile, the less medicines I should have to take. My body will respect me for respecting it.

Plus, if I’m not self-conscious about the extra weight I’m carrying, or have taken care of the way I look and feel, then I don’t have additional things to worry about on a day-to-day basis. Although I’m not even in the ‘obese’ category, plane rides sometimes make me self-conscious. When I’m down to a healthier weight, I don’t even think about it. So if I start to consider all of the things I think/worry about when I’m being unhealthy, they really do drag me down. Whether it’s feeling guilty (or judged!) for eating fast food, or being the friend who can’t keep up with everyone else on an active outing, being in shape and treating my body well always pays off.

So while being healthy may not make you happy, I believe you can’t be as happy as you would be without being healthy.

“Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.” -Napoleon Hill

If I never stop eating right and never stop working out 5 hours a week, I’ll never NOT lose weight, right? I continue to fight to get to weight loss, and continue to fight the right way, and I can’t lose. Victory is imminent. ‘Nuff said.

“You must act as if it’s impossible to fail.” -Ashanti Proverb

Have you ever had those friends who EVERYTHING goes right for? No matter where they turn, it works out. I have a friend who ALWAYS got the guy, got a full ride to college (and talked that guy into majoring in the same thing as her – meaning they spent all of their time together, fell in love, got married), has always found good jobs, gotten into graduate school, has a beautiful house, and a great job. I know all of these are just things. But many of my friends are trying to do the same thing. After I stepped back and started watching her, I realized she did it because she acted as if there were no other path for her. I’ve never seen her waver in her faith in herself. And never seen her fail.

This can either be annoying or motivating. On some levels it’s annoying, but we won’t discuss those. After awhile I started applying the same principle to my life. And it works!

And the first time I lost weight, I applied it. In subsequent times, I’d lost that faith in myself because I’d gained back the weight with less effort than it takes to think about losing weight. But this time, I’ve decided, no matter what, I’m doing this. AND I’m not gaining it back this time. I know those are big words. And in other instances, they’ve been said but shrouded with doubt. Not this time!

Why can I do it?

  • It’s a simple plan, really. Make healthy decisions (eating, getting sleep), do healthy things (exercise, cook for myself) and think healthy (relaxation, make time for myself).
  • Many people live the same life, putting themselves and their health first. Because, after all, this is MY life.
  • Many people have lost and kept the weight off. I can do the same.
  • When motviation runs out, habit kicks in.
  • While there will be times to celebrate and cheat, focus on not over-doing it and getting back on the wagon. Immediately.

There are so many reasons I can do it. Even more I want to do it. And endless reasons I should do it. And knowing that it’s impossible to fail, helps me stay focused on doing just that.

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

The very first time I heard this quote, it was motivating, life-changing. A “duh” moment. Why would I eat something for a second that would take away the pleasure of being healthy in the long-run? But as the years went on (and I fell off the wagon), the quote lost its luster. Became annoying, even. But I want to bring it back! Even if it’s just for this one blog post. So for all of you out there who are sick of this credo (made popular by Weight Watchers, I believe), jump on board for just a second. Then you can jump off again! Or not.

When I first read this quote, I felt like a part of me changed, even if just for a short moment. I love reading quotes and then wondering what state of mind the person quoted was in. In this case, it seems pretty simple she (or he, but probably she) is faced with a decision. Decadence of some kind (for her probably chocolate, but for me it’s things like pizza, cheese dip, etc.) faces her. How does she deny herself the pleasure? And why should she? I mean, it’s just ONE treat (for me, which turns into another and another and another – the excuses for having treats are endless – see “Never trade what you want the most for what you want in the moment”). In the big scheme of things, and after keeping a food diary for just a week, you can see how those treats add up. And, honestly, do they teast good NOW? A week later, when you haven’t lost a pound? You can’t even taste them anymore.

And this weekend I really tried to put this quote into play. I ended up at the keeper of the dieters evils: a buffet. Which, honestly, rarely have healthy food. And the foods that used to be healthy (like chicken and fish) are stuffed, or fried, or covered in heavy sauce. And how hard is it to only have fresh fruits and veggies or broth-based soup? I tried. It’s not easy. But, I did avoid the “create your pasta” station, and the pizza, and the bread. I walked around and chose ONE treat. The one thing that looked the best (crab-stuffed ravioli, which if I had seen on a menu I probably wouldn’t have chosen so I thought it was interesting). I was “that girl” pacing back and forth among ALL of the food choices. It was brunch so there were the delicious breakfast items like waffles, omelettes, sausage, and toast. And then the lunch items I mentioned: several kinds of pizza (which I forced myself to not even look at because buffet pizza is always gross), make your own pasta, heavily sauced meats and pre-made pasta, crab legs with butter sauce. The list goes on. But I came across the ravioli and for some reason it sounded interesting, and looked delicious with a white sauce and fresh spices. And I took one (YES, ONE!) little ravioli along with my plate of some kind of premade salad with spinach and other greens and strawberries, fresh fruit, roasted potatoes and tomato soup. And I was satisfied. I savored the ravioli but filled up on the healthier stuff. I know I have no idea what was in the tomato soup (but it was tomato basil, not tomato bisque), how the potatoes were cooked (they weren’t fried), or what the salad dressing was made of (even if it was olive oil, that’s better than the caesar salad, and more appealing than an entire plate of fresh fruit).

Although the perfectionist in me wished I had walked away without the ravioli, I look back and realize another day, another time, I would have filled my plate with EVERYTHING. Waffles and sausage, drowned in syrup. Several pieces of (likely unsatisfying) pizza, made my own pasta with probably a heavy sauce I wouldn’t even like that much, and maybe thrown in an omelette for measure.

The next night I was in a similar position, having appetizers with co-workers at a sports bar with no healthy options. I ate what we had, but limited myself from over-indulging, then chose three things at the buffet stations. Two of which weren’t good and I threw out without eating. And the third was divine.

And the truth is the divine things don’t now taste as good as skinny feels. But remember, neither did all of the stuff I passed up. I notched a 1.4 pound weight loss on this week’s tally. And feel confident that had I eaten with reckless abandon, I would have shot five days of hard work (1400 calorie diet, about an hour a day of working out) in less than two days.

I’m glad I didn’t. Because those 1.4 pounds, although a small feat, feel a lot better than even fifteen pieces of pizza!

“You may delay, but time will not.” -Benjamin Franklin

This quote hits home for not just weight loss, but everything you want to do in life. You can delay everything, but that’s not really giving you any time. I know with weight loss I tend to delay starting until things are perfect. Or re-starting until a set time. But why not do it NOW? Even if I fell off the wagon this morning, don’t delay, get back on before lunch. Even if I know a weekend, like this past weekend, is coming up and I’ll have a hard time eating healthy, I can’t delay the week before because that weekend might not be perfect.

I can’t delay going on vacations I want to go on. Finding hobbies I’m good at an enjoy. Spending time with my family and friends (especially this!). The more you delay, the more time you waste that you could have been doing those things that are important.

And if you delay taking care of yourself, you might actually end up with LESS time to have to delay.

Whatever it is in this life you want, do it now. I keep telling myself I want a new wardrobe. Nice stuff that makes me feel good. So I’m starting to save for it. Why wait? I shouldn’t wait until I lose all the weight. Maybe the nice clothes will help me lose MORE weight. But it’s also possible if I delay feeling beautiful, I won’t lose any weight at all.

“The time to hesitate is through.” Go out and get what you want!

“If we defend our habits, we have no intention of quitting them.”

Oh, how this quote cuts me deep. I’m the queen of excuses. I blame my unwavering perfectionism. I always have to explain WHY I didn’t do something right when I do it wrong. Not to not take accountability for it, but to explain to the person I’ve let down (and myself) why. So that person (and I) is (am) not disappointed in me. And all these explanations are is excuses. And after awhile making the excuses also makes it OK to make the mistakes.

“It’s OK if I have fast food for breakfast. It’s just this once. And it’s not THAT bad.” (Do I ever eat a homemade breakfast with as many calories as the lowest calorie item I get through a drive thru? No.)

“After this week, I deserve to go out to dinner. And I’m doing it big!” (Except this is happening several times a week. Or day!)

“It’s not like having a few chips is that much different than having fruit, calories-wise.” (Except I only eat one serving of fruit. And about four of chips!)

“My family doesn’t get together that often.” (Yes we do.)

“It’s been a long day. I’ll workout tomorrow.” (Come on. My life is NOT hard. If I’m too tired, unorganized, etc. to workout. It’s MY fault. And usually I can make the workout work, but I’d rather sit around.)

All the little excuses add up to big problems. And when I defend my bad eating habits, over-eating, or
not working out, it somehow makes it OK. Obviously I know I should have done better if I’m making an excuse, but the excuse defends the action.

From now on, I’ll be honest with myself about what I’ve done. And work at NOT doing the wrong thing to begin with. The excuses for doing whatever I’m doing generally comes BEFORE I do it. It’s not like it’s mindless eating or not working out. I’m mindful of breaking a promise to myself. I rarely ever break promises to anyone else. I should hold myself in such high esteem.

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