Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wishful Thinking vs. Patience

“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” – Doctrine and Covenants 24:8

I came across this scripture in today’s morning reading. At the time I read it I was enjoying the glow of peace that seems to envelope me when I’m immersed in reading scripture. I felt warm and capable of enduring during those minutes this morning on the couch. But now it’s almost noon, and I’m back in the land of daily doings struggling to be patient. Struggling to endure my dose of afflictions.

Specifically, I’m discouraged with my health and my lack of success in losing weight. I re-joined Weight Watchers the Monday before Christmas and have been following the program guidelines for two weeks. The result? A weight gain of 1.6 pounds.

I’ll be honest. I re-joined Weight Watchers because of the heart scare I had on December 8th. When the Holiter monitor results came back showing that my heart rate was over 100 bpm for 42% of the 48 hours that I wore the instrument, I became rattled. Having my doctor advise me to discontinue strenuous exercise until I could have a stress echocardiogram also unnerved me. The stress echo didn’t take place until December 29th, and until then I contemplated my mortality as I’ve never done before. (It made for a really crummy Christmas season.)

The heart testing all came back normal. My heart is in fine working order. But my metabolism is another matter. This fall my doctor told me that my genetics have combined to give me a body that is very good at gaining and maintaining weight. I guess my recent experience at Weight Watchers is just another confirmation of that diagnosis.

It’s possible that Weight Watchers may not be the best way for me to approach weight loss. Its methods and teachings are sound, but given my metabolically conservative body, paying money to maintain my weight contributes to my frustration and impatience. I want to get a good weight loss bang for my buck, and that’s not happening.

I’m beginning to see that I can’t chart out a nice quick timetable for weight loss. Like so many other things in life, it’s going to happen slowly, maybe even sporadically. It might stall. It might stagnate. It might even slip into reverse. A sluggish metabolism is one of my afflictions. How can I endure it patiently?

First of all, I can choose what I focus on. When I become fixated on the number on the scale, it has a tendency to rule my life. I’m happy when it’s down. Discouraged when it’s up. That’s not a good way to live. And if I learned anything during the holidays, it’s that I want to live! And I want that living to be quality living.

I may not be able to control my metabolism, but I can control what goes into my mouth. If I’m not hungry, nothing should be going in. During these two weeks at Weight Watchers I’ve been graphing my hunger. I’m amazed at how seldom I feel hungry. A small handful of almonds and a cup of herbal tea will often keep me satisfied through the morning. I’ve also noticed that eating sweets begets eating more sweets. They’re a trigger food for me, and I know that they’re low on nutrition. I can do a better job of feeding my body high quality foods when it’s hungry and finding something else to do when the hunger is all in my head. And when I slip up, I can repent and recommit to healthier eating patterns.

Moving more is a proven way to give a sluggish metabolism a boost. Here, again, I’m a bit afflicted. I’ve had four knee surgeries on my left knee and experience swelling and joint pain in my other knee, hips and ankles. But, hey, I can walk. I can ride a bike (indoor stationary bike in the winter). I can snowshoe and hike – I just have to take it easy. Go slowly. If I start to compare myself with others who are running half marathons and using double risers during step aerobics, I can make myself miserable. They’re not living in my body, I am. This is what I’ve got. Any time spent wishing I had some other body is a waste and an emotional drain as well. Now is the time for me to use the body I’ve been given to do what I can do. Hike. Walk. Dance. Laugh. Sing. Pray.

Wishful thinking is the enemy of patience. It’s my prayer that with the help of the Lord and the support of those around me I’ll be able to exercise patience and do what’s right for me and for my body. As I endure and live the life God intends for me, I pray that I’ll be better able to serve Him and bless and help those who cross my path.


Allie's Antics said...

Christie. I have some words of advice for you that have helped me over the years. THROW AWAY THE SCALE!!! You really must do it. It's liberating, and just think how many happy over-achievers you would satisfy at the DI. Just do it. You will be much happier. Life's too short to worry about poundage. Love ya!

Christie said...

Allie, your advice is tempting. Tell you what I will do, I'll delete the weight tracker on this blog. I'm not quite ready to toss the scale. But I could hide it. Under the bed. In the Christmas decorations. Yeah. That's what I'll do. (You really don't own a scale?!)

Flashlight Girl said...

I tried not using the scale for a couple of months a few years ago and ended up gaining 10 pounds. Not happy about that. Even though I try to not let my scale ruin my life (it has in the past), I try to look at it as a tool. I give myself a couple of pounds leeway now and then. I am going back to WW, but I don't have the same metabolism issues as you do. My oldest sister does. She has been working for a very long time, but not a lot works. She has decided to keep trying regardless of the results on the scale. Although numbers do matter, regular exercise is truly a magic bullet. Seriously. The Health class that I took last semester just kept that fact firm in my mind. If I only took one thing away from that class it would be that exercising regularly truly is the best medicine for so many things. Even when the scale says that exercise doesn't matter. It still does. "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. . ." :)

Sondra said...

Christie, there is a free site you will LOVE. It is called SparkPeople.com. Totally FREE!. They have great tools that let you log your food, water, fitness and any other goals you would like to track. It is an awesome site. I joined over a year ago and lost 50 pound... but then I quit and most has come back (I'm an Oprah). I have started again strong today. There are groups that help motivate you - lots of different ones per your own interest/goals/health issues - tons! Even an LDS group. Everyone is on the same journey and help with daily challenges, motivation. Best of all it's at the tip of your fingers when you have time and TOTALLY FREE. My user name on SparkPeople is think2bfit. You should check it out!

The one thing that I totally love is that you can follow their diet, or input your own food plan, you can add your own recipe and it will calculate the nutrient and calories for you - the goal is to stay within a calorie range each day. At the bottom of the food tracker is a chart that tells you how much nutrition you get from eating what you ate that day. It was an eye opener for me - and the nutrition information inpired me to work on getting a healthy body and that is how I lost the weight until I fell off the wagon. I am at a point where I want/need to be healthy again and am working on that this year. Just because we are over weight doesn't mean we are not malnutritioned - by not giving our bodies what it needs to be healthy. If you have questions - let me know. My blog: www.murrayandmathews.blogspot.com/

Christie said...

FlashlightFriend, thanks for your words. I loved the 'keep swimming' comments from Finding Nemo. Don't worry. I'll keep moving.

And Sondra, thanks for the heads-up on SparksPeople. My doctor also recommended it. I may give it a try, but I've found that I like tracking on paper and doing something that's fairly simple -- K.I.S.S. is my philosophy. Keep It Simple and Sustainable. Thanks for your encouragement. That's why I started this blog and why I read others -- because I need support from real people like you!