Keeping On Target

by Al Coon

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by Al

Okay, you've made up your mind! You are going to do it. You are going to lose all of your excess weight this time. No more fooling around, it is going to happen.

As you start out on each attempt to lose weight you tell yourself the same thing. You want to lose weight. You really do, and then some nasty piece of stress comes into your life, or maybe just a bit of boredom and the next thing you know you have put a whole bag of potato chips, or cookies away to make yourself feel better. And you actually do feel better for the short time that you are actually eating them, but then you finally stop to think about what you have done and the guilt sets in. However, guilt only makes you feel worse about yourself, and you are now more likely to stumble again, because you feel like you are helpless and worthless. You call yourself names, and feel like you are of no value at all. Then you eat to try and cheer yourself up.

Now, we have all been there. That may not make you feel any better, but it does help to put it into perspective. It tells you that you are not worthless because of how you eat. It is important to understand that. We could spend a great deal of time analyzing why society demands certain kinds of conformity. Being within a certain range of weight is demanded by our society. Being a normal human being, you want to fit in with the group. Who among us cannot remember the agony of being different in school? For most school-aged kids, the primary goal was to merely fit in and be one of the group, accepted and loved. Things are not so different as adults, are they?

Do you remember the names kids had for all those who were different? Even the most intelligent kids in school were called names like nerds, or geeks. The ones on the other end of the intellectual spectrum faired no better. Those who were too thin, too short, too tall, too clumsy, too acned, too slow of speech, and a whole myriad of other differences were called cutting, burning names that scarred the psyche as deeply as any knife could cut the flesh. As adults we find that the weapons are often wielded in a more tactful manner, but they cut just as deeply.

The snide comments about what is in your shopping cart as you wait in the check out line buying your food. The comment some child makes to her mother, quickly hushed, but still letting you know how that family really feels about someone being overweight. The nasty stares, rude and hateful from total strangers. Does it hurt any less today than it did in school? We would be lying if we said it did.

Add to this the personal knowledge you have that being overweight is unhealthy. People who carry excessive weight die young, their joints hurt and they can seriously be injured from a very short fall. When you are carrying excess weight, you know you don't look your best. Personally, you want to be thin.

With the whole world apparently against you, even yourself, is it any wonder that we are overcome with guilt as we keep gaining weight, when we so desperately want to lose? The merry-go-round spins faster and faster as guilt for being heavy feeds our appetite to eat our way into covering those guilty feelings. It seems that it can never end. But it can!

You can lose every excess pound you have on your body. Your success at doing that relies upon what your target is. Just being unhappy enough to scream with what your bathroom scale is telling you, is not enough. You can tolerate plenty of such screams on those days when you are buried in depression, and feeling bored, unhappy and sorry for yourself.

Many of the experts call it visualization. You picture yourself succeeding and over time you actually do succeed. Every morning you wake up and you picture in your mind how you are going face this day, and get through it on program, and on track to being thin. But those are just words, unless you make them live within you. You must have a fire in your soul, burning like a bonfire on a cold night, leaping high into the air consuming all obstacles in your path. You must have a target that is real to you. So, real that you can taste it as if it were in your mouth right now, sweet, substantial and satisfying.

Why are you interested in losing weight? Is it for health reasons? It may be. I read that being between 50 and 100 pounds overweight carries the same health risk that a smoker has. If you smoke on top of that, you may be doubling your risk of heart attack or stroke. It is a real concern. It may be your target, if it moves you with passion. If not, it is a waste of time to think about because you can always make excuses to put your worry to sleep.

Perhaps it is your selection in clothes. Those big and full figure shops do not carry the same outfits that the petite miss shops next door do. You could be wearing the latest fashions if only you could just lose that weight. That just might be the target that fires your spirit. Or it may be ho hum to you.

You may want to put a smile on your husband's face or impress your friends. You will of course, as the weight comes off, but is it enough? Does it fill you with the fire you must have to succeed? Will it come forward for you, when you are feeling weak and put upon, to do battle like a heroic knight, slaying your temptations and laying success at your feet as a gift?

There must be something that you are aiming for, your target, that will get you up in the morning and out to the gym, or the track, and make your body exercise on the days when you could most easily talk yourself out of it. That same something must drive you to plan your days and your meals so that you will be on program each day. It is easy to choose a target that will get you through a day or two, or even a month. You may lose quite a few pounds and then suddenly find yourself struggling like a swimmer with a serious cramp. A few glubs later and you are going down for the count, putting weight back on again.

Many people think it is very difficult to break a board with your fist. But I found that to break a board with a punch is much easier than I originally thought. It requires both focus, and aiming just beyond the board with your fist. You believe in your mind that you can break the board. The first time that takes faith, but after that, you know you can. You mentally focus, breathe and strike. Then you watch the board fall in two pieces at your feet. It is something that takes only a split second, but the lesson is just as true for something that will take years to accomplish: weight loss. You must aim beyond your goal weight. Your desire to succeed must include not only losing the weight but, maintaining that loss for the rest of your life.

No two people are exactly alike. You must find your own source of fire. I wish I could just hand it to you, and say, "Here you go, this will take you to the finish line." But I can't. I don't know what will motivate you. You are a special person, with your own spark of life, and your own wonderful traits. You are unique in this world, a one of a kind, which makes you very special. But it also makes you someone who must decide for yourself what your target is. What will drive you to the top of the mountain, and into the future version of yourself, slim and trim, and happy that you are?

Search out the answer to that question. Do not hurry and do not be shallow in your thinking. Write down a list of every reason that you can think of as to why you want to lose weight. Think about the items on the list. Are they really important to you? Which of them really hits you where you live? To create a fire that will burn not only hot, but also long, you must pick something that will motivate you for the long haul.

Once you have identified what it is that will really fire your spirit, write it down on a card, and put it somewhere where you can see it every day. Carry it with you and read it often. Focus on it and picture in your mind hitting that target squarely in the middle of the bull's eye. If you have a weak moment, stop and read your target statement. Visualize hitting your target, and if you have chosen your target well, you will find it much easier to stop your negative thinking, and instead search out something positive to do with your time. If you see yourself actually hitting your target often enough, you will come to rightly believe that your only destiny lies upon a road where your target will become your own reality. You can do this!

By Al, My Wonderful, Supportive Husband

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