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Beating Kevin

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can I Trust Myself?

People often say that maintenance is harder than weight loss. How could that be possible???? asks the sane person. You made it! You're at your goal! The hard part is done. Now it seems to be about keeping momentum and good habits up even when you don't have the endorphin kick of a loss at the scale. 

When I hit goal, I started to understand this. I was suddenly overcome with fear that I was going to lose control again and slide back into sloppy eating. Please don't imagine me with a bib on covered in bbq sauce- not that kind of sloppy eating! The kind where you sneak in an extra brownie here because you've "earned it," or you stop measuring out food because you're a pro by now. Many of us, me included, have been repeat Weight Watchers offenders, having to rejoin multiple times. 

How do I trust myself not to slide back into old habits? I hate to admit this, but I don't have a straightforward answer. I cannot predict the future. Who knows what stresses life will throw at me? There are all sorts of reasons why we gain or become less focussed on our eating. Sometimes other things need our focus!

But I do know that we are in a very important time, the month leading up to the High Holidays, which offers us great strength and insight. The buzzword for this time of year is teshuva, which you can translate as repentance, but I find it much more satisfying to translate it more literally as "returning." This is the time of year in which we return back to ourselves, and to others in our lives. But this blog is pretty selfish, so we'll focus on what it means to finding our way back to ourselves. I call this returning to factory settings. 

In these weeks we sit down with pen and paper and look at ourselves honestly, asking tough questions:

1. How have I disappointed myself?
2. How have I lived in my my body?
3. When did I take risks this past year?
4. What positive habits have fallen by the wayside?
5. Am I happy? What small steps could I take to get back on the right course?

This is so hard to do because sometimes it is painful to look at ourselves too closely. We might not like what we see so we often gloss over things or pretend they are not happening. It feels easier, but it gets us in trouble and leads us away from our goals. 

This is another of Judaism's greatest gifts, the periodic opportunities to return to ourselves. I'll share a private Jewish practice that is important to me which goes along these lines. On a monthly basis, I visit a mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath. After my monthly cycle, I go to a beautiful spa like mikvah and go through a process of returning to the most basic and honest version of me. I take off all of my jewelry, remove all make-up and nailpolish. I am bare. I take that time to sit and write in my journal about successes and failures from the previous month and hopes for the month to come. I examine my body to make sure it is ready for the mikvah and take an honest look at what has changed and what has stayed the same. It is a very grounding practice, one that ensures that I do not stray too far from myself. 

It is unreasonable to expect that I was always be at this weight or in this same condition. I also don't discount the possibility that I can grow and change and push myself harder. Holding my breathe and hoping I don't mess up is not an option. Life will happen and get in the way, but Im working on trusting myself to be honest, return to meetings, and return to myself. 

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