Skip to main content

In which I feel the burn

This year, I set a New Year's resolution that I've been trying to bring myself to set for a few years. I decided that I would lose 20 pounds by the end of the year.

For the past three years, I've been skirting around the issue, pretending I don't care, and basically doing nothing. So what that I'm almost thirty pounds heavier than I was five years ago? Bodies change, man. I was training for a half marathon five years ago, and I sure don't have time for that now. I would tell myself that the only healthy outlook was to love myself as I was, which meant accepting those extra thirty pounds as a welcome part of me. I told myself that trying to lose weight would only lead to extreme dieting, anxiety, and probably profound disappointment. I reasoned that it was just too hard, I couldn't do it, and it would make more sense to just accept my new size as normal.

And I was ready to leave it at that, except that I couldn't. It kept nagging at me. This extra weight doesn't feel like a part of me. I don't love how I look, I've had to say goodbye to some of my favorite clothes because they don't fit anymore, and I'm just not comfortable. A few months ago, my weight finally crossed from the "healthy" BMI zone to the "overweight" zone, which was kind of a rude awakening. I have a family history of serious health problems caused and aggravated by obesity, and while I'm healthy now, I'd rather not have to deal with any of those down the line. Further, I've realized that my weight gain is a symptom of some really unhealthy eating and exercise habits that I should probably work on regardless of the numbers on the scale.

Most of all, I've realized that yes, loving someone means you accept them and love them where they're at. But it also means that you support them in their goals for self-improvement. You don't enable them in stagnation. You encourage them to be better. I can love myself and my body and still set goals, change my habits, and get healthier.

A lot of my friends who have been successful in losing weight have done so by enrolling in exercise programs, following a strict dietary regimen, and otherwise making drastic changes in their lives. While I respect and admire their tenacity, I'm almost positive that approach wouldn't work for me. I would burn out within days and jump right back into eating ice cream for dinner every night. So I'm going to focus on making small, sustainable changes and turning them into habits. Right now, that means only eating sweets on the weekends and exercising five days a week. When that becomes easy, maybe I'll pay attention to the kind of exercise I'm doing or work more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

Even though the changes I'm making are tiny, sometimes they feel so. so. hard. It physically pains me when there's a package of cookies up for grabs in the faculty room and I'm munching on my carrots instead. In the middle of a Utah winter, it's really difficult to convince myself to go running when I could be on my couch watching Netflix. But there's a kind of a satisfaction that comes when I do make these choices. In a yoga class I went to the other day, the instructor talked about the concept of tapas. Tapas literally means heat, and refers to the friction generated by going against the grain of what is easy. It's a purifying fire generated by letting one's will rule over one's desires. In an LDS context, it might be described as allowing the spirit dominion over the body. My instructor described tapas as "a fiery discipline" that allows people to transcend themselves. And every time I turn down a brownie, change into my running shoes, or eat an apple instead of a bowl of ice cream, I'm cranking that fire up just a little bit hotter.

Comments

  1. That's awesome! I love the way you're approaching the exercise thing. I've heard the best kind of exercise is the kind you like, because then it gets done! (Also, running is my favorite.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Go, Karissa! What a wonderful resolution: making small, healthy, and consistent habits! Keep up the great work. :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

In which I need to figure out what happiness is made out of

Let me tell you a secret:

During my month working at camp this summer, I think I took my medication...twice.

And guess what?

I was fine. No, I was happy.

Let me tell you another secret:

Last week, I only took my medication twice.

And...

I was not fine. I was miserable. The world fell apart and I found myself crying about things like not being able to eat at Chick-Fil-A because I'd forgotten my debit card.

And so I've been asking myself...what made the difference? Why could I be blissfully content without my medication at camp, if I still depend on it for my happiness back at home?

There has to be something, and if I only could put my finger on it...

Maybe it was singing all day, everyday, sailor songs and whaling songs and songs about nature and songs about fish heads and songs about friends, just letting my voice ring out because that's what humans do, they sing.

Maybe it was always having opportunities to help others, or seeing the effects of my work with my own eyes. Ma…

In which my life teems with simple delights

An Internet community I frequent recently discussed the question: "What is a small good thing that has happened in your life lately?" And I realized that lately my life has abounded with small, good things.

1) My husband learned how to make Pad Thai and has made it twice in the last week and a half. He is very good at it and it is awesome.

2) My mentor told me that I'm doing a great job as a teacher. On a day when I was frustrated with 6th graders who refused to participate and 3rd graders determined to sow chaos, this meant a crazy amount.

3) I've been going to therapy, and it's working! I'm learning some simple strategies to cope with my anxiety, and I haven't had an anxiety attack in over two weeks. Everyone, go to therapy.

4) A little boy in one of my special ed classes sang yesterday! I'd never even heard him talk before, and he was singing every single song word for word, perfectly in tune. I wanted to give him the biggest squeeze in the world.

5) I…

In which I smatter a disjointed smattering of thoughts.

I think I'm a morning person at heart. I love feeling like I'm the only one awake, like I have a head start on the rest of the world. I love the pink-grey-gold of morning air, the streaks of sunrise peeking from behind the mountains. I love the prattle of birds welcoming the day, the quietness of a still-sleeping world. Unfortunately, my circadian rhythm doesn't share this love of the early hours, making me wired with energy late at night and sluggish in the early hours. So...mind over matter, I guess?

My dear friend Bekah is back from her mission and I'm remembering how much I adore her and her blog. This morning I was 25 minutes late to a choir rehearsal because I was rediscovering her writing. And it was probably worth it.
So this one time a few weeks ago, I was in a band. We played at the ward talent show, had big plans to try out for Acoustic Explosion, and then kind of fell apart.. But it was a good run. There's something magic about the artistic collaboratio…