Have you ever noticed how easy it is to let go of some things? Yet, almost impossible to let go of others? Take personal disciplines, for example. If you’ve been doing it for years and the discipline has become second nature to engage in, one can feel lost and completely out of sorts when that discipline is skipped even one time and for completely valid reasons. On the other hand, a newly chosen discipline, even when it is working excellently and gaining whatever goal it was intended to facilitate, can slip through our fingers faster than a greased substance of any kind.
A diet and weight loss is one such discipline. There is an incredible amount of energy used to sustain such a discipline because it must be done each day without let up. It is an ongoing thing and one that begs to be let go of on almost every day, sometimes every moment of every day. It is just plain hard work. Even when it has been wildly successful.
Thirty years ago, I went on a food plan and joined a weight loss program. No one was more startled or amazed than myself when I actually hit my goal weight. It took over a year, and each day was a battle against old habits and temptations that occurred at least three times a day. I managed to maintain the loss for almost three years, give or take a few pounds here and there. But then something happened. My dog died.
I know that sounds like a flimsy excuse at best, but I came apart in pieces. The dog was my emotional support and he was suddenly gone. I cried, of course, but then found that I couldn’t stop crying. And eventually I reverted back to my primary coping mechanism which was eating. Carbohydrates are heavy, heavy enough to hold down and suppress ones emotions. I stopped crying eventually, but the food program had gone out the window along with the scale and all the other paraphernalia, mainly the mind set and willingness necessary to continue.
Now, it’s thirty some years later and I have lived long enough to see just the opposite occur. I have made a lot of changes in my life and attitudes, and my daily living experiences over the past two years. I have put on several new disciplines which I partake in on a daily basis. And whallah, as I have found emotional satisfaction, spiritual and mental growth, the weight has simply melted away without any particular effort on my part.
Ah, but I am back at that place where the temptation is strong to let go of all of it. To let it slip on occasion, here and there, and I do know the danger and recognize all of the symptoms. Strangely enough, it isn’t any easier being happy, then it was being thin. Actually, it’s even harder at the moment, because I am both happy and almost thin to boot. Talk about a sudden greased slide appearing at ones feet without any fore warning or indications of its presence.
There are a few things that are helping me sustain both the contentment and the weight loss. One of them is the very real mental image of where I was to begin with. It isn’t hard to remember that not all that long ago, I was a couch potato, sitting in the living room, watching American Idol, reading non-stop, sometimes during the commercials, lol. That’s not a place I want to go back to, ever.
Yes, I got something very important from that reality. It got me up and out of the chair, and eventually even out of the books I was constantly reading. It propelled me into this place in which I now exist and don’t want to lose. But there are other things that also help me to stay in this place. My own strong desire to continue my own journey, if for no other reason than to see where it will all take me. I’m not done yet, and it would be such a shame to leave this new path and all of its promise, for what? An easy chair?
There are all of the new friends I have made. If I let go of this place, I would have to let go of them as well. And they have so much to teach me, and I have so much to give in return. It wouldn’t just hurt me, but others, and that is something I try to avoid at all cost.
But the most important thing that keeps me from letting go and sliding down that greased chute is my journal. It keeps me aware and alert. Let’s me know what I am really thinking and feeling. Allows me to actually see the danger I am in. And that danger is very real. My physical health depends on my maintaining the weight loss through control of my diet. My spiritual and emotional health and well being depends on my continued efforts to maintain these new disciplines I have put into place. And by the way, I didn’t actually know or define them as such when I put them in place.
My journal however, carried that message and made sure I finally comprehended it. And its blank pages keep asking a very simple but complex question. Why would I choose to give this all up? To once again become a couch potato? Because its so much easier to be a couch potato. A couch potato who wouldn’t be aware of that greased chute until she hit the bottom with a horrendous thud and probably a completely broken existence. Ah, now there’s a very real mental image.
Reality is, I would have to give up my very best friend in order to really let go of any or all of this new life I have created. That would be me, me and the journal that keeps me aware and alert with a desire to continue.