Those are the two words I would use to describe the most important skills I’ve had to employ so far during this journey toward being healthy and losing weight. Without discipline and determination, I would have failed a long time ago.
We are faced with temptation daily, and often not only at mealtimes. For those who work in very social offices, it is a common occurrence for someone to bring in some bagels, donuts, or even pizzas for lunch. These are all foods that I can’t eat, so I have to resist the temptation to partake. In the beginning, it created some awkward social situations (people don’t understand how someone would pass on such yummy foods and perceive it as some sort of slight or display of rudeness), but I explained that it was for my health and that while I would love to have some and I’m sure it is delicious, I just can’t. Everyone understood. Now, friends try to make sure there is some sort of Paleo alternative available for me.
There are the lunches and dinners with friends, family, or co-workers that are at restaurants where chips or bread is served. Again, foods I can’t have. It takes a lot of discipline to pass on what I know to be utterly delicious bread or amazing salsa. I have to keep it in my mind that the detour of sabotage just isn’t worth the short-term gratification. I have to keep my eye on the prize: a thinner, healthier me.
Snacky snacks. I was never a snacking person, or so I thought, until I did my Whole30. I then realized just how often I’d sneak off to the kitchen to grab a snack of some sort. Now that I only eat three times a day, there are times when I’m bored or depressed when I feel like a snack would be the perfect thing to have. Now, in the past, I’ve said I don’t have cravings, and this is still true. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s not so much a craving because I’m hungry, but because I just want to experience eating. Therein lies a huge difference in what my body is saying, and now that I’ve learned to recognize it, I know that I need to occupy my mind to make the craving go away. However, to do so requires great discipline, something I never thought I had when it came to resisting a craving.
You have to want to be healthy and/or to lose weight more than anything else. You have to tell yourself, “Self: this is the most important thing I’ve ever attempted, and nothing will get in my way. You got that?” I literally had a conversation with myself (yeah, I know: that’s weird) where I told myself that I will not accept defeat. I will not lose. I will not give in to temptations. I will not slip. I will not sabotage my progress. I will not let myself or my wife down. I will not ever wear the same old fat clothes again.
It is not easy to stay determined to reach a goal. I’m sure you can think of some long-term goal you’ve had in the past that was hard to reach. There are times when you feel like giving up, or you re-evaluate why you want to reach that goal in the first place. You might even re-think the goal and scale it back to make it more easily achievable. I face doubts from time to time, but in the end, I always come to the same thing: I will not fail. I will not be one of those people who loses a large amount of weight and then gains it back. This is not a diet plan I’m on: this is a lifestyle that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.
My wife tells me that I have more determination than her. I’m not so sure about that. Maybe because my health was worse off than hers, I had more motivation to get healthy, and thus my determination is amped. I don’t know. She is pretty hard-core on sticking with this new lifestyle, and she even told her mom that this is something she sees doing for the rest of her life. That makes me smile, because I want both of us to be healthy and strong and thinner than we currently are. It will make it easier for me to do.
I’m not Super Man, and I’m not using any Jedi mind tricks to do this. Just some discipline and determination. These are things that you possess. It only comes down to how well you harness these two skills to reach your own goals.