Patience is a virtue. It is however not one of my natural virtues. It does not come easily to me at all. I tend to get frustrated if I don’t see immediate results from my actions.
This has honestly been one of my biggest hurdles throughout this process. It is one of the main reasons that I stopped and started my diet for so long before I finally committed myself to losing the weight. I would lose a few pounds, see no change, and give up because it seemed insurmountable. Usually in giving up I gained the weight I lost back along with a few extra p[ounds for good measure. This made dieting seem like a much worse process than it was.
When I started to lose weight for real, I didn’t see any change in myself at first. Part of me wanted to give up again, but knowing I would want to quit after a week I made myself a small contract with myself. I swore to stick with the diet for at least a month. While a part of my brain still thought that even a month would do no good, Since I typed up a short contract and made myself sign it, as silly as that sounds, I felt obligated.
Admittedly, part of not seeing any real change was my fault. Before I decided to commit to reaching a healthy weight, I avoided mirrors. My looking in the mirror was limited to checking to see if I had toothpaste on my face and making sure my hair wasn’t sticking out at crazy angles. The full length mirror on the bathroom door was completely avoided. I never looked below eye level.
When I started seeing the numbers moving on the scale, I started looking for changes. As I was unfamiliar with looking at myself, I was consistently disappointed. To help myself out, I concentrated on the scale numbers. While that is usually something not really recommended as it can cause you to fixate, I just needed to see something change.Since every time I looked in the mirror I just said, ‘yup, still fat,’ it was not helpful. The concrete numbers were. It is one of the main reasons I take those rather boring pictures every Friday morning and post them with my weight. The scale is not the end all be all, but while my self image has gotten better, and I’ve grown more accustomed to looking at myself, I still like the concrete benchmark as a way to stay on track.
Once I saw changes in my body, the numbers took on a less important role, but in the beginning it was especially important to see the progress the scale offered. Still it is a slow and steady progress that crawls along and tests my patience on a daily basis.
One of the things I’ve had to remember is that the weight did not get put on over night. Expecting it to disappear overnight is unrealistic. Slow and steady is realistic, at least for me. Let me tell you, I am so longing to see my weight start with a one instead of a two I can taste it.
Oh the happy dance that will occur on that morning. But that morning is not now, as much as I wish it was. So for now I am wrestling with my patience and trying to enjoy the anticipation. While I am still working on deciding basic rewards, I know the reward for the first one under two hundred. It was actually the first one I set. The others I just sort of filled in around it.
Keeping my reward in mind, helps me with the anticipation angle. While there is no magical formula for instilling patience in myself, I do know that it is a skill that not only assists me in keeping on course for my weight loss, but something that can help with many other aspects of my daily life. So along with better health, my weight loss is teaching me patience. This has spilled over into my work and personal life (in non-weightloss related ways). Not a bad thing when looked at that way. Personally, I’m considering that one of the hidden benefits of my efforts. So in the end I’ll get better health, a smaller dress size and more patience. Or at least that’s the plan. And even though my month long contract with myself has long since expired, I’m still committed to seeing it through.