Strong Will is Better than a Pill
I am overweight. There are times in my life that I have been the correct weight, but I have had to be diligent about getting a couple hours exercise every day and eating between 1200-1500 calories every day. To lose weight I've had to eat between 750-1200, plus really boost the exercise. I've felt great when I've done this, but I haven't always been diligent about taking the time to plan healthy eating or extra exercise.
Each of us metabolizes food differently. Fad diets and pills, supported by doctors and clinicians, will keep appearing. Ultimately, anything can work if you lower your calorie intake and increase your activity. It's important to get to know your own body and what foods might hold you back. Many today find that they feel better if they cut out fatty and sugary food and if they limit or cut out gluten altogether.
I think that this life was given to us partly so that we learn how to manage ourselves, including bridling our passions. Americans, generally, want a quick fix today. Consider how many months, or years, it took for you to get to the weight you are. If you desire to lose 20-80 lbs, you can't expect to do that in a week or a couple of months. Another part of this life is to learn to be patient with ourselves, forgive ourselves, and not to give up on ourselves. So if you want to lose weight, you should develop a realistic plan, chart a course, and stick to it. As you do so, you will find that your extra weight will not continue sticking to you.
I have just recently committed myself to try again. Some of the challenges that we have in life are ongoing. That does not mean that we are losers; it just means that we haven’t mastered them yet, and that there are many things that we can learn along the way, if we have the right attitude and if we are humble and seek appropriate help.
What do I consider appropriate help? First off, you need to be able to count on yourself; so you need to be honest with yourself. I have found that paperwork is important. President Spencer W. Kimball said that a goal is not a goal, but only a wish, until it is written down. Well, if you want to lose weight, you might have a specific target in mind, but break that up into smaller increments, so that you can readily reach smaller goals that will lead you to your ultimate goal. (Losing 1-3 pounds per week can be a healthy and doable choice provided that you are increasing your vegetable and fruit intake and getting plenty of exercise. If you lose 5 pounds the first week, do not expect to continue that way, but keep it realistic. If you can a little the first week, you might actually be improving muscle tone, so do not get discouraged.)I have found that to be honest with myself, I must write everything down. This time around, I am writing on a paper tablet that I can carry with me, and then I am transferring the information to three different Excel documents. One is titled, Food Intake, and I need to let you know that I plan on having at least 5 fruit or vegetable servings each day and a minimum of 8 glasses of water (which usually becomes 10); other than that, I am NOT cutting out sweets or junk food altogether this time around, but they are being truly limited so that I can eat the 5 necessary servings, plus other healthy meals and still keep my calorie count below 1400. (I realize that this is higher than what I said earlier in this post; but I am much more overweight than at earlier times in my life. After I have met a target weight, I may have to adjust calorie count to continue to lose, but I am hopeful that I’ll be more energetic and can boost my activity instead.)
The second chart is entitled Measurements. So I took key measurements when I began my “diet” or “change in life-style.” I measured my neck, bust, under bust, waist, belly, hips; then I measured upper arms, lower arms, wrists, thighs, calves, ankles. I am planning on measuring 4 times each month. I really haven’t done this before, but I feel like it will help me in seeing results that the scale might not always show. I’ll measure again on Friday, so we’ll see what that information holds.
The third chart is entitled Daily Activity. Right now I am using a glider (while I listen to the Book of Mormon), a Ab Lounge, and a stationary bike (while I watch Dr. Who). I also count minutes walking, either outside or while shopping. (Disneyland days will be great walking days.) As I lose some, so that my legs will not have to be supporting so much weight, I will start my outdoor walking on a regular basis again. A year or so ago, I was walking 2-8 miles a day, about 4 days a week. (Not everyone that is overweight is incapable, like so many believe. But I know that I can be capable of so much more.)
What else is appropriate help? Look to your Heavenly Father. Pray to Him morning, all through the day, and again at night. He knows your desires, and he can help you obtain your goals better, more quickly, and more long-lastingly than anybody or anything else. I think as you prioritize your day and your life to meet your food and exercise needs, you will find that the Lord will help you prioritize other things in your life that will help you feel more in control and more successful. After all, He glories in your happiness and success.
If it is possible also find a mentor or an inspiration. If you have a spouse, child, parent, of friend that you can trust with your goals, tell them. Those people can kindly help keep you on track. They can encourage you and even exercise with you. They can be your personal cheer team. Maybe you can find a walking or a running partner or group. Make sure that whether or not you have someone to report back to that you always report back to God.
Now, I need to give my son credit for being so inspiring. In his young adult life, he had gotten really overweight. Before his mission, he was overweight, but he was still pretty fit. On his mission, he lost a lot of weight, and returned home looking fantastic. He was involved in BYU’s swing dance team and he played a lot of soccer just for fun. Then he hurt his knee, and he gained a lot of weight again. (Family genes.)
Well, this determined young man decided that this was not going to define him. Upon graduating BYU, he came home, took the CBEST and began student teaching. Then he enrolled at LaVerne and earned his Master’s in Education degree and his teaching credential in English. While being a student and either substitute teaching or student teaching, he developed a plan. And he saw it through.
Since he had hurt his knee, he began with weightless exercise. He used our exercise bike, cranked up to the fullest tension, and would pump hard for two hours while watching a movie. To kick off his diet he was only eating between 600-800 calories a day (which I would not suggest to any 6 foot man). He had determination, and he got results. Then he started playing basketball at the ward on Tuesday nights, first with the older group, then with the younger. So he was playing 5 hours straight from 5 to 10 p.m. Yeah, he was losing the weight quickly. Then with his busy schedule, he also started doing Dance, Dance Revolution on the Wii to get a quick workout when he didn’t have time for longer ones.
He got in shape and he looked buff. People were awed. But then he went on to even bigger goals, He started running. And he is fast. While working on his master’s, he was running about 30 miles a week. Usually, this was broken up into 4 days: two 5 miles, one 8, and one 13. He has participated in many ½ marathons.
When our ward ride bikes to the beach, he decided to run. But he just decided the night before, so he hadn’t stored up on carbs. I’m glad that he had the sense to stop when he knew he should, but he almost made a marathon that day. (He would have made it if there were people handing him drinks along the way.) I think he ran about 20 or 21 miles, then he walked of the trail for another to find a convenience store. He bought a Gatorade and a large fountain soda. When he paid for them, he asked the clerk if he could pay for a refill on the drink right then. She looked confused, and he said, “’Cause this one will be gone in a couple of minutes.”
I know this wasn’t supposed to be a post about my son, but I am pretty proud of him. He is now an officer in the Air Force and he is currently in flight school. He is training as a CSO (Combat Systems Officer). The CSO is way more than the navigator; he needs to know everything about the system, the weapons, and the crew, and, essentially, oversee it all.
Anyhow, this post was in response to the many fad diets and pills that circulate and show wide controversy on the Internet. I don’t believe in them. But I believe in myself; and I believe in God, and I know that He will be my help as I put my trust in him. I admire many people who are meeting the challenge of living healthy lives in unhealthful environments and against odds stacked against them. I’m thankful for the challenges that God has given me that of necessity help me to be humble, and also give me understanding into the lives and hearts of others who have weaknesses and sadness. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27) The Lord’s promise is that He can help our weaknesses become our strengths. No pill can promise that.