As someone who used to weigh over 450 pounds, I’m not sure what people are more impressed by… The fact that I managed to take off over 250 pounds of excess weight through diet and exercise (as opposed to fads, pills or surgery) 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).