I don’t know about you, but as you can see from my picture, I’m overweight. I’ve been struggling to lose weight since college. I’ve tried most of the popular diets and lost weight on them, but I’ve never been successful at losing all my weight and keeping it off. Why? Because, I find the process of counting calories, cooking, exercising, and logging my food boring and uninteresting.
Sure, there are programs out there that claim they can help you lose weight without having to do any of the drudgeries, but they haven’t worked for me. I have lots of food allergies, and I have to eat six times a day to manage my blood sugar. Neither of these situations is terrible, but it makes it more challenging to lose weight.
Recently, I’ve come to believe the real key to losing weight is focus. To be successful at losing the weight and keeping it off, I must change my lifestyle. I must make exercise and healthy eating a priority. I’m not very good at that. I always start out my diets with enthusiasm and a willingness to do what it takes, but then something more interesting, more fun, distracts me. I forget to keep track of what I’ve eaten. I forget to exercise. While I’m focused on something else, I don’t even notice myself falling back into my old habits.
That’s my problem. There is always something more interesting going on. Something more fun to learn or do than cooking and exercise, neither of which are fun things for me. Writing has made it especially difficult to focus on dieting. I love to write. If I could, I would just stop eating, and then I wouldn’t have to waste time on food and cooking. I could just write all the time.
However, it doesn’t work that way. I can’t stop eating. In fact, if I eat poorly I inhibit my ability to do the things I love, like write. My health, my physical fitness, and my creativity are all linked together. Eating healthy and exercising will help me become a better writer because it will help my brain function more efficiently. It’s hard to imagine, but living a healthy lifestyle is probably as important to my success as a writer if not more important than studying the writing books I love to read.
So, I have to ask myself. What is it worth to me to be healthy and creative? Is it worth making an effort to cook healthy meals and exercise? Is it worth counting calories and logging my food? Today my answer is yes, but what about tomorrow? Can I stay focused long enough to lose all the weight and keep it off? I don’t know the answer to that, but I need to try. When I feel weak, I’ll just ask myself—what is it worth to you?
Your goals are probably different than mine. Perhaps you want to get a promotion at work, paint a masterpiece, or put your children through college. Whatever your goal is, it will probably require the same effort to achieve as mine—time, focus, and dedication. So, ask yourself the question, because you are the only one that can answer it—what is it worth to you?
Portrait of Susan L. Davenport is by Smooch Photography. Contact at: http://www.facebook.com/smoochiephotography