I’ve made dozens of small changes in my diet over the past few years. Most have improved my health or my happiness or both. None have made much of a change in my weight because I avoided the two changes I needed the most: less food, more exercise. Simple, simple, simple…and yet.
Losing weight is such a complex physical, emotional, personal and public process. First of all you have to figure out how to control your intake of something you must have. You can’t just “quit eating” like I quit drinking sodas or my friend quit smoking. You have to have food, but “what kind?” and “how much?” The answers depend on your body, health, goals, lifestyle, etc. and it can be a daunting task to balance everything without help. Unfortunately our society is not lacking in weight loss “help” and it varies from sensible to silly to dangerous. And the minute you begin to lose enough weight to be noticeable, your process becomes public and you have to be prepared to give or receive advice on a daily basis. We are a nation obsessed with body image.
We also live in a country that is obsessed with food. When you stop and think about how much time, energy, and money is devoted to the creation of “improved” food, you have to ask yourself why so many of us are fat and unhealthy. The answer is quite simple. Most of the improvements are in two areas: taste and entertainment value. It’s only in recent years, as a panic response, that the food industry has begun to focus more on nutrition. I guess they finally realized that dead customers don’t buy much! You thought they were making better food because they care about you? Think again…it’s mostly about profits and competition.
I’m not blaming my weight problems on food manufacturers. Even though they make food with far too much salt, sugar, and fat, I know how to read a label and avoid excess. I know where the produce aisle is located at my local market. I’ve researched my best options in almost every food category. So I accept responsibility for my own diet.
My recent health crisis showed me how much my weight affects my health, recovery, and even my current comfort level. I’ve made several important changes since I’ve been home from the hospital. I’ve cut my portion sizes in half. I’ve started eating scheduled, purposeful snacks. I’ve added more fiber to my diet. I’ve eliminated a few “trigger” foods that tempt me to eat too much. I no longer eat anything after 8pm. I begin each day with ten minutes of stretches. I stretch for five minutes every hour. I work on my PT and other exercise for thirty minutes each afternoon. My exercise routine will evolve as I recover from my surgery and we determine what is wrong with my knee.
I have never lied to you and I’ve shared many of the ways I have improved my diet over the years. I still think that giving up soda was one of the best things I ever did for my health! But now it’s time to be brutally honest and admit that I’ve avoided the truth that I’ve still been eating too much and moving too little. God has given me a second chance to correct that mistake and I am grateful to do so.