I’m not sure what “Wows” people more… The fact that I managed to take off over 250 pounds of excess weight through diet and exercise (as opposed to fads, pills or gimmicks) or the fact that I’ve kept the excess weight off for well over a decade.

I must admit that these two facts still manage to “Wow” me as well. Not in an egotistical way, but in a humble one. After all, I know that if I were to forget about these monumental feats and let my guard down, I’d be in trouble. That’s because maintaining my health and weight loss is something I have to constantly work at. But when I share this tidbit with people, sometimes their “Wow” smile takes a sharp turn and becomes a “That’s awful” frown.

I admit that back in the day, before losing all of my excess weight, even I used to visualize losing all of my blubber and then being able to ‘Eat whatever I want, whenever I want.’ And yeah, it was kind of a slap in the face to realize that steamed green beans and broiled chicken were going to remain a part of my life forever n’ ever. This didn’t mean I couldn’t revel in the occasional cup of frozen yogurt or gluttonously dip the occasional sweet potato French fry in a puddle of ketchup. But the key word with these kinds of treats is “Occasional,” as opposed to “Everyday.” And that’s because my everyday requires work to stay lean, mean and healthy (minus the mean – just going for the cliché there – sorry).

I often liken to my staying healthy to riding a bike. I must constantly keep pedaling. And the minute I stop pedaling, I fall down, skin my knees and gain back over 250 pounds. But in today’s society, it seems like people shy away from the word “Work” – especially when realizing the word – and the effort – need to be constantly applied to things in our life that really matter.

The concept of ‘Work’ doesn’t just apply to a healthy weight, of course. One of my dearest friends is madly in love with her husband of over 11 years and has what I consider to be one of the happiest marriages I know of. And yet she’ll be the first to tell anyone that asks that being happy and in love requires a lot of ‘Work.’ Again, people balk – perhaps wondering why something like ‘Love’ should require that particular 4-letter word. And yet when you think about it, it makes all the sense in the world.

Having to work for something doesn’t mean you have to be miserable doing it. It just means you are hopefully committed to whatever it is you’re working toward or working on maintaining. Whether it’s losing weight, maintaining weight, getting healthy, nurturing a relationship, raising children or any number of other activities, ‘Work’ is often the common denominator. And why shouldn’t it be? Aren’t all good things worth working for? Of course, they are. And when we put the required amount of work into things, the outcomes usually turn out better and, just as important, feel better.

Rather than sigh and haunch our shoulders when considering what ‘Work’ will be involved in accomplishing a goal, why not embrace the effort it’s going to take and approach said work with happiness and commitment, knowing that whatever we’re setting our sites on is worth it? Suddenly, ‘Work’ isn’t such a 4-letter word and, instead, is a healthy conceit that we don’t have to groan and moan about.

It’s all about a positive attitude, right?

So even though maintaining my healthy weight (and holding off the 250+ pounds that would love nothing more than to settle back onto my body) takes daily work (365 days a year), I do the work knowing that it’s worth it. I feel better, I look better (yeah, I said it) and I am better – not so much because of the actual goals I’ve accomplished, but because of the work I’ve been willing and remain willing to put forth toward attaining and maintaining these goals. So why not try readjusting your mindset toward this particular 4-letter word? You might be surprised to find out that the concept of work is suddenly one you embrace, rather than begrudge.

Have something you’re currently working toward? I’d love to know about it. Please share below (even if the sharing does require a little work).

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6 Responses to “Embracing a 4-letter word”

  1. Jessika says:

    Glad I found this on pinterest! I needed to hear it today 🙂 dieting IS work. With my thyroid problem I gained 40 pounds in two years and have lots a lot of confidence. I struggle daily to make the right choices and most of the time….I don’t make the right choices. It’s time to WORK!

  2. Gregg says:

    I am WORK-ing right along with you, Jessika. I was at the gym at 5am and on the treadmill… And today that felt like total work. But I know it’s a small price (workload?) to pay for staying fit and feeling good. So Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s off to WORK we go. Okay… Forgive the silliness. Just please know that I and others are right there with you. Together, we can do it! (Thanks for your comment and for finding this blog on Pinterest!)

  3. Libby says:

    I have been working so hard to lose weight. I have only just begun, I have a total of 200 pounds to lose. I am the mom of an extremely energetic 2-year-old, and what really inspired me to lose the weight is that it sickens me to think of my children picking up my habits! I have been pressured to have surgery, but I refuse it! I am working on changing my habits one step at a time! So far, I have cut out the binging on sweets (I used to pick up a dozen donuts, not tell anyone and go home and eat them! I also used to drink several sodas a day, I have currently reduced to 2 a week (and chugging LOTS of water)!
    You inspire me so much!! You are proof that even though there is no quick fix, it CAN be done!!

  4. Gregg says:

    Stop the presses, Libby — because your amazing post has just inspired ME! No kidding! I loved reading what you shared and appreciate you so much for taking time to comment. I’m sure that having 200 or so pounds “To go” can be intimidating. But just take it one step (and one bite) at a time. YOU CAN DO IT! I promise you… If I can do it, ANYONE can do it. Sure, it takes time. Sure, it takes work. But it is all worth it. And there will be rewards along the way. You won’t have to wait until you get to 200 pounds lost to feel amazing. I remember the first time I could fit into smaller sized jeans than the 60-inch waist ones I was wearing. That was such a triumphant moment for me. You will have those moments, too — and they will all equal amazing success. I love that you’re doing this with your 2-year old in mind as well. That’s a great reason. Please, please keep me (and all of us who post here) on your journey. I BELIEVE IN YOU! 😀

  5. Jacqueline says:

    While I do not have excess weight to loose, currently, and have no issue with this, I struggle with Fibromyalgia and doing what is right to maintain my health on a daily basis. Walking is of vital importance to my health, and even though I know this, I still struggle to put in the “work” on a daily basis. Because work always *has* been a four-letter word to me. But, reading this post has already changed something in the way I look at the word. My marriage — and it’s a really happy one — takes work. Every day. Every year. And it makes me happy and fulfilled. So, why would this be any different? It isn’t. Thank you for showing me that.

  6. Gregg says:

    Thank YOU for the nice post and comments, Jacqueline. Believe it or not, the issue of marriage and relationships helped me realize “Work” wasn’t a bad thing, either (despite how society seems to preach that things like ‘love’ shouldn’t take “Work” to accomplish). The fact is, even friendships sometimes take work. And that doesn’t mean you can’t do the work with love, joy and appreciation in your heart. And the same goes for diet and exercises. I appreciate you sharing in regard to the Fibromyalgia. I am not very familiar with that condition, but I’m glad to know that walking can help in regard to it. Believe me… There are days I dread walking (and/or exercising) — even though I know the work is worth it. So I’m right there with you, my dear — as I’m sure many other readers are, too. So next time you’re on a walk, remember we’re on the walk (and doing the work) with you. Together, we can all triumph!!!

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