It’s a marathon, not a sprint

One of the other things that helped me in this latest effort was finding a book totally unrelated to weight loss. I like to think of it as one of those serendipity things. Back in January, I had seen a show on Dr. Phil about money makeovers (part of his New Year’s resolutions series). Watching that, I realized that getting my own financial situation under control needed to be a priority too.

So, a week or so later, I was waiting for a friend at the mall to catch a movie. I walked into the nearby bookstore, and found David Bach’s Start Late, Finish Rich. Turns out he had been on Oprah several months before, but I don’t remember paying much attention to that show.

Anyways, I do recommend the book for money issues if you’re so inclined, but his point re marathons and sprints was both an “aha” and a “duh” for me in the whole weight loss/overeating space too.

I say this was a “duh” because on the one hand, it sounds like the “you have to approach this as a long-term lifestyle change, not a short-term diet” maxim we’ve all heard a million times. But I think there’s a bit of a subtlety to it that I’ve made work for me. And that’s that it was okay for me to not try and make over my entire life at the start.

So, part of my approach earlier this year was to decide that I was only going to spend my energy on things that had a direct impact on my overeating.

Thus, eating healthier foods was in, as eating sugar and fat have a significant role in cravings. But physical exercise (a la the gym) was out. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been an athletic person (played hockey in college and was an avid skier), but while exercising will have an important role later, the ROI (return on investment) just wasn’t there for me at the beginning…that is, exercising might well cause me to overeat if I stressed out about how little I could do, how fat I looked, and so on.

Similarly, I knew I needed to work on the overeating first. Part of my plan was in not getting too caught up into the whole behavior mod thing. My apologies to Bob Greene, but his six steps are about as useful as my telling you the six steps to riding a bike. That said, I did not do the Overcoming Overeating thing and stock my pantry with all my binge foods.

As I mentioned last week, I decided to try and eliminate the overeating by making health a bigger priority. More about that later. But for now, I just wanted to point out that “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” was really helpful to me. Because one thing that’s implicit in that statement is that you still have to do something. You don’t have to do a lot, but you have to do more than order takeout and sit on the couch for six hours after you get home.

When I coupled this together with my emphasis on energy (i.e., viewing all my actions as either contributing to my level of energy/wellbeing or subtracting from it), I found it easier to begin to make small steps that turned into longer “distances” (read: longer periods of feeling well). And as I’ve felt better, I’ve started to add other things into the mix. For example, I’m starting to feel ready to add more formal exercise into the equation.

As I’m still 150 lbs from where I want to be, it’s clear I’m not even remotely close to Heartbreak Hill. But I’m not at the start either. To steal from Martha, it’s a good thing.

Worth a visit