Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Essence of Success

Reading my fellow bloggers' posts can be frustrating, annoying, inspirational, exciting, and everything in between. Every so often, however, I get actual nuggets of wisdom that click with me - things that are worth holding onto, and using.

The What: Excess Weight

Allan (blog: Almost Gastric Bypass) has been writing a lot lately about attitudes and actions. What he is saying, in essence, is:

This is hard work. This is what you know you need to do. Stop your whining and DO it, if you want to succeed.

Okay, that was actually my quick summary of Allan's messages of late.

Do you know what that is called? Two words:

Taking Responsibility

And he's right. I've been guilty, at times, of whining - though I hope not often or for long. And I need to stop it.

I am where I am because of ME.

No excuses. No defenses.

I, and I alone, picked unhealthy things to eat, too often, and in quantities too great. And I did this over a LONG time.

It really is as simple as that.

So, now I have to fix this. It won't be quick. It won't be fun. It might even be annoying and inconvenient, but it is my responsibility.

How fast, or how slow, or to what level of success, will simply depend upon my level of commitment, dedication, and to what extent I take this responsibility seriously.

It IS a matter of life or death - mine.

This extra weight directly affects my ability to enjoy the things I want to do, and to great extent my ability to participate in life's little adventures. So, when Allan says he wants to lose weight more than he wants that cookie, I get it. I do.

The Why: Failure to Exercise Self-Control

Sometimes, words of wisdom come from comentary to posts, rather than posts directly. Karyn (blog: Metamorphosis) commented on my previous post with this:

"... I love this feeling of being in control of my actions, instead of letting temptations and a desire for instant gratification rule the day.

The ultimate gratification will come down the line when we love what we see in the mirror, and when we feel healthier than we've felt in years. ..."

Amen, Karyn, Amen!

She is speaking to the very heart of what got me to where I am today.

I cared more for instant gratification than control.

The justifications don't really matter. I cannot change the past, but only control what I do from this point forward. So, I work hard to make one good decision after another. Sometimes, the decisions aren't perfect, but you work with what you are presented. If the options aren't great, I pick the best one, minimize the impact to the best of my ability, and don't look back.

The How: Semantics

The math works. Science has proven this.

If I take in fewer calories than I expend, I will lose weight.

Now, how anyone goes about creating this deficit will vary. We all have our preferences, and varying levels of commitment. For me, I've chosen a low fat diet. I think I can sustain this style of eating, and I am enjoying it. Most importantly (to me), it is working.

If it stops working, I need to re-emphasize the math and see what I did wrong in my diet selections.

I will have failed, not the food.

So, it is up to me to make corrections and adjustments as I go along. No one is perfect.

And I recognize the science of it, so I expect the body to make adjustments that will cause the loss to fluctuate or stall every so often.

When that happens, it will be my responsibility to carry on doing the right thing, making those good decisions. No excuses. No whining.

The Who: Who Else?

Me, myself, and I.

Since I am finally putting my health as a priority, I decide what works for me and what doesn't. No apologies.

A person is either with me or against me in my efforts - and if s/he isn't with me, too bad for that person. I'm not giving him or her much of my time or consideration. (Who am I going out to lunch with next time? The girlfriend who said, "Oh, just eat the cheese on the salad. A little bit isn't going to kill you." Or the friend who said, "Send it back, they screwed up." ???)

It sounds selfish, I know, but I don't want to be buried in an oversized coffin next year, with folks milling around saying what a nice person I was.

I'd rather be alive and liked a little less.

I can be more generous, when I'm not fighting for my life.

That said, if I misstep, I expect someone to call me on it. Challenge me. If coming from a helpful position, I can respect that - and appreciate it.

THIS is the stuff that works, proven by those who've been there and done that - and are sustaining their normal weights. I've been doing a lot of general research, as well as a lot of reading of blogs, all over the place.

There is a lot of "stuff" out there, but weeding through it all, I am finding wise words which speak to me of the essence of success.


  1. Yes, it is up to each of us to make the right choices each day to ensure our own success. I am the only one who can do it for me. I do not make the perfect choice every day. But I recognize it, admit it, and try to make it better at my next opportunity.

  2. Awesome... Very nicely put, and I am so happy that you understand me. We can do this, I know you can..

  3. Selfish is often given a bad rap. You can't give what you don't have and if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing to give others.


  4. Ann, the shred I referred to is Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. Syl at the blog live, smile, run issued the challenge and I am participating. =) it's killer!

  5. Hey Ann...what a sweetheart you are! I'm glad we're doing this thing together!

  6. What a wise post! You hit it dead on... it IS about taking personal responsibility for our health. We get no where with pity-parties or blaming. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do! And it seems like TRUE friends will understand and NOT sabotage us. I think those that do, secretly DON'T want us to lose weight because then THEY WILL feel guilty for not making better choices themselves (even if they are already not heavy). I know because I have felt that way myself with others around me were losing weight. But that's me no more... I am ready to not to shove unhealthy food down others or myself!
    Good for you Anne! I am cheering you on here!! :)

  7. Jo, that is a fine insight I should have included in my post. You are right. Only I can can do this for me, you for you, etc. No one can do it for us! Excellent point!! If we don't do this for ourselves, no one else CAN.

    Allan, I should thank you for directly calling it like it is, and from a kind-hearted place. Oh, we WILL do this! I have no doubts ...

    Mary, another worthwhile point, and a major one at that! Our health is everything, and without it, we are helpless to assist others. I am so glad you included this in your commentary.

    Thanks, Thin Within. You solved the mystery for me. I'll have to check it out. It SOUNDS like a killer!! :P :) :D ...

    Hey Karyn, I'm glad we're doing this together too!! xxox

    Margene, WOW, I need to quote that somewhere. "We get nowhere with pity-parties or blaming." Truer words were never spoken. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. The sabotage comment was also insightful. We need to be aware this goes on, and not let it undermine our own efforts. You know, sometimes we do it to ourselves (for instance, shunning someone who was trying to be helpful, because we didn't like the message). Other times, we inadvertently sabbotage others, when we pat them on the back and tell them they deserve a break (or whatever), even if that isn't what will help their efforts. They need and deserve the truth - encouragement yes, but not to be told "it is okay" when it isn't. I've been guilty of that, in an effort to try to make the dieter feel better. But, to be fair, lessening the impact of their negative actions isn't what will help ultimately. I need to fight against that "mom" instinct to make it all better. I can't do it for them - only they can do it for themselves (a wise Jo once made that point) ...

    Wow, thank you, One and All. These were excellent comments - insightful, wise, and thought-provoking! A few of these would've made it into my post, if only I had these bits of wisdom sooner. Good thing it is here for others to read, and to add their own comments to as well.

  8. Great post - when you feel like it's too tough and you want to give up, you have to realize the bigger picture (how worth it all your efforts are in the long-term). Being strong enough to push through the challenging times is a NSV!

    Reminded me of a quote from an article I read the other day: "Weight loss isn't just about eating, activity and behaviors. It's really about getting in control."

    [[ ]]

    Keep up your great work! ♥

  9. Wow you just validated much of what I've been thinking over the last month. I do believe, though, that it's ok to whine, complain, and moan once in awhile. It's all part of the human condition, but it doesn't mean that you're giving up or blaming anyone. It's mucking through the mire and moving toward lighter days.

  10. ARE doing it is right, Anne! :D

    Oh_, thanks for the article reference. I'm going to check it out. It really IS about getting in control, isn't it?!! It isn't always easy to keep the bigger picture in mind, but that is what we have to do. I am going to remember your "NSV" designation, when I need to push through a challenging time - and I know its coming!

    Wanda, you are right, moaning is part of the process. It can take a while to work through stuff. Your key phrase was "once in awhile." I just hope I don't do so much of it that it turns off people (myself included). LOL Pity-parties don't equate to progress, which was my thinking. Good point about mucking through the mire! Forward movement, right?!! I need to visit your blog!!

  11. Responsibility... i LIKE that word!

    I think we all have a different essence of success. Sure, at the core is burning more than we consume each day to lose weight. But our suceesses are not all motivated the same way, not all as urgent, not all equal in the noise we need to sift through to make good choices. We do need to find the nuggets we find empowering and use them to strengthen our minds, our commitment to succeed.

    This is the last post I have time to read today, I feel like I have saved the best for last :-)