When taking on a new challenge, it’s important to declare our goal and the timeline we give ourselves to achieve that final outcome. It’s equally important to create a list of guidelines and rules pertaining to the project and its ultimate goal. This is the list which sets up our boundaries. Why is this important? Without boundaries, we tend to swerve into lanes we don’t belong, and those lanes contain hazards for us. Those hazards slow our progress, and if we spend too long in the wrong lanes, we get completely lost. By swerving too far one way or the other outside of those boundaries, we invite delays to our arrival at our desired destination. Boundaries keep us in the lanes we’re supposed to be in, which is the most direct route to success.
For the sake of this current project we’re in, which is to level out my blood counts, lower my blood pressure, and move me safely away from diabetes [and other health issues], the rules and guidelines are lengthy and strict; but if followed, my chances of reaching the positive outcomes I’m working towards are possible. My timeline is four months for the first check-in with the Dr. We’ll have a pretty good idea at that point if the boundaries we’ve set are narrow enough. We are all three committed to this journey, and no detours are allowed in our travel plans.
The List of Guidelines and Rules
As discussed above, lists are important, but we need to be aware of how those lists are written and presented. For example, if the Dr. tells us that we need to be “gluten-free,” our list will show the things we need to remove from our diet. But more important are those items we are free to enjoy. I believe that putting the “can do’s,” “can have’s,” and “can eat’s” at the top of the list to start my day on a positive note. It’s much better than starting out listing all the things we’re not allowed to have. Put that information way down at the bottom of your list. We need to let our list rejoice in the things that make us smile. Seriously! Good stuff on top, hard stuff on the bottom, so our brains can confirm positive choices to concentrate on and be so busy celebrating the positives that we don’t have an opportunity to be pulled down to a point where we’re feeling sorry for ourselves because we’re being deprived. Directly under the “Can have’s” and “Can do’s,” you want to list the items that are approved for occasional consumption…and then list how frequently these items can be enjoyed. A strict list does not have to be defeating. Remember the goal! This is how we get there. Let’s get there together and celebrate!
For my particular journey, there are several check-ins I’m able to do prior to the four-month Dr. appointment. Since my rules include dietary changes and restrictions and increasing healthy activity levels, I’m not just about stepping on a scale every day. Know why? Because our bodies just don’t lose weight easily, and certainly not on a steady basis. There are weight roadblocks…and they’re mean. So here are a few tools I’ve added to my toolbox:
- Weigh yourself…and get a weight scale that weighs you down to a 10th of a pound. You’d be surprised how happy you are after several days of scale stalemate, and 0.2 of a pound loss is reflected. I’m taking that victory! Weight Watchers has great scales that measure down to 0.1 of a pound. I weigh myself once a week.
- Measure yourself…chest, midriff, waist, hips, thighs, and arms. You’ll be glad you did when the scale refuses to budge. I measure myself every 4 weeks.
- Take photographs of yourself…front, side, and a picture of your face. Then as you move through this journey, you’ll be able to also watch your progress visibly.
- The last thing to do is pull that pair of pants, dress, or clothing item out that’s been sitting in the back of your closet because it’s been too small or too tight to wear and hang it right in front. This will become an incentive…just in case you need more. After my 4th week, I tried on a pair of pants I’d ordered but had never been able to wear. The button wouldn’t button, and the zipper wouldn’t zip. But on the morning following my 4th week of staying within my boundaries, I was able to slip the pants right up, zip, and button them without a problem. I can tell you there was a celebratory cry and a call made to the rest of my team. I immediately found another pair of pants further back in my closet, and they’ve become the next incentive. These little victories confirm that we’re moving in the right direction.
- More important than any of your other tools…you must surround yourself with people who celebrate with you, encourage you, and most importantly, believe in you and make sure you know it. They aren’t just your roadside cheerleaders; they are your lifeline to success. If you have family or friends in your life who tend to waiver in their support or make you feel like there’s a chance you might not succeed, then let them know you love them, but during this journey, you are taking a break, so you can do what needs doing…which is moving forward. It doesn’t mean they’re no longer part of your life, but it does mean they take a serious back seat for a while. Save the front seat next to you for those who are taking on this journey with you.
Mostly, we want to encourage you on your journey. Strict rules are no excuse for failure. They’re important, and following them is important. Don’t give up! If you make a detour and get a little lost, light up a flare, call one or all of your support group, and get back on the road. We believe in you!