You Can’t Always Get What You Want



I’m pretty sure we’ve all done the same thing at the beginning of a diet. We calculate how much we think we can lose by a certain time and reach a certain size.

And then it doesn’t happen.

I used to do that, but the big diets I have been on later in my life have made that all but an impossible feat, although I certainly had high hopes the first time I lost a major amount of weight. As I’ve said before, this time I started with a tiny sliver of hope, but I really didn’t believe that 3.5 years down the road, I would end up being more successful than I’ve ever been with a weight loss program.

What he said.

In part, as I’ve also explained, it’s because this time I see this as a journey and a process, not so much a diet. I knew from previous experience that I’d have to roll with the punches, change things up, adapt, change my goals, reconsider, review, research, and renew. Bodies change with weight loss and our thinking has to change along with them.

Some general goals, though, have stayed constant. I want to improve my health to lower my health risks as much as possible. I want to regain as much of my physical abilities as possible. These two things, combined, outweigh any other goal I have, because they are the combo that will extend my life and bring as much quality to it as possible. I am no spring chicken, and as I near my retirement years, I want to enjoy those years as much as I can.

These are the areas where I still struggle, and where I need the most work. At this stage, eating the right things is easy; it’s the rest that’s challenging.

This week, I hit a bit of a wall. It’s been a struggle to meet my step goal the last few days; the weather hasn’t been cooperative and I’ve also had a number of appointments that prevented me from getting out and walking. I was annoyed, to say the least; I know I need those steps. My leg muscles need the strength, and I’d just feel bad if I gave into my desire to just sit and not get up and meet the goals.

I pushed myself to meet those goals. I live in a small town and the places I can walk in the rain are limited. I’m not able to walk on a treadmill because of my gait. On Tuesday, I ended up in Walmart — twice — putting in steps. I weaved up and down the aisles. Yes, I ended up buying a few things; namely, three tubes of Burt’s Bees lip balm and a fanny pack, since my warm-ups don’t have pockets. A bit goofy, yes, but I got the steps in. I made myself a deal that yesterday I’d get up and walk early, so I did, walking my neighborhood before dawn. My goals are easier to meet when I do more earlier in the day.

I also hit a tough roadblock on Wednesday; one that’s hitting me hard, since it means the plans I had been working toward for knee surgery will need to change. I’ll be honest about it: my first thought was to just say screw this and eat or drink my feelings, because this is a major goal I’ve been working toward for a number of years.  I’m put out that my plans have been inadvertently changed; while some people start out diets, thinking about a summer body, I’ve been working toward knee replacement surgery, in hopes of shedding over a decade of chronic pain. When I started my journey, I set my sites on getting healthy enough and thin enough to accomplish that goal, and it’s been a driving force in much of what I do.

But life isn’t fair. Things don’t work out the way you hope. And I have to choose my reactions to this setback.

My reaction: I’m doubling down. Had I not made changes 3.5 years ago, knee surgery would have been far too risky and completely out of the question. Now, that’s not the case at all, but I can certainly stand to keep losing weight, keep getting stronger and healthier. So that’s what I’m going to do: I am still going to win this thing. Just because it’s not working the way I had originally hoped does not mean I give up or change course.

I can’t always get what I want, but I can certainly keep pushing toward that goal, a little farther down the road than originally planned — and get what I need.


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