Kicking Off a Successful 2012!
January 2, 2012
Kicking Off a Successful 2012!
By Al Coon
Here it is, another year is starting. Where are you starting from? Is weight loss going to be a part of your 2012 goals? For Dotti and I, this particular issue has moved to the center stage and will be our primary focus for 2012. Can we make the magic happen again? I believe we can. I believe that this year is going to be another 1998 for Dotti and I. No, I don't know why 1998 was so good for us, and why the important things for the two of us could all at once be reached, and taken for our own. It was as magical as Cinderella having her fairy godmother arrive with a magic wand, and create for her a perfect opportunity to meet and ultimately marry her prince charming. (Of course, the good prince was as magically blessed as Cinderella, because they both lived happily ever after.)
Dotti began a trip that took her from 245 pounds down to 138 pounds, in December of 1997. She lost 10 pounds that first month, simply by eating sensibly, not following any program. But she had done that before, and put it right back on. What happened in January was not like anything that had ever come before. She walked into a Weight Watchers meeting, and embraced the program unreservedly, and found herself at her goal weight before autumn dropped her leaves. The program was awesome, there is no debating that, but why did it work for her in 1998 specifically? Clearly it was a question of attitude. Dotti wanted it more than she wanted anything that would take her away from her Journey. Her mind was right, and the rest was relatively easy. She wasn't struggling and she wasn't suffering. She was smiling a lot! We had been married more than 21 years at the time, and no one was more surprised than I was that it happened. It was wonderful!
One of my most treasured moments came when we were in line at a grocery store, checking out, and when Dotti went to pay with a check, the clerk took a close look at her driver's license, and said that Dotti could not use it for identification, because she looked completely different. Indeed she did!
My personal triumph for 1998, which was for me as surprising and difficult as Dotti's weight loss had been for her, was having my very last cigarette in May, ending a 3-pack a day habit that had troubled me for far too many years. I did it the hard way, scratching and digging my way to freedom, and still I have to fight the fight, but this year will make 14 years of non-smoking for me, when May rolls around.
Unfortunately, fairy godmothers can't be relied on to make your dreams come true. You sometimes have to make your own magic, because it won't always just fall into your lap. So, how do we do it?
This time, Dotti is doing it the hard way, but she has already started. And whether it magically falls in place, or you trudge through the mud and over the hills on your own, it is just as sweet when you arrive at the wonderful land of Goalville. You get the same benefits of health, energy, and longevity, either way.
Dotti started her Journey this time in 2010, when she went to a doctor who refused to help her because of her weight. She was in hip agony, literally in agony, and as another doctor later commented, it was cruel to make her suffer. No matter how you view her suffering, cruel or not, the fact was she was suffering terribly. But she stuck it out. Three months later, she was down over 30 pounds, but suddenly, in addition to the pain, her left hip started making terrible popping sounds continually. The nurse of our general practitioner was shocked at the sound when she heard it. But the hip doctor still refused to help her. We went to another hip doctor and thank goodness, he didn't care what she weighed, he wanted to stop the pain for her. Well, it's a long story, but the point here is that Dotti has two new hips, and she lost 30 pounds and has kept it off. And she did it when simple motion was horribly painful. She could do very little real exercise at all.
So, you can imagine the excitement that Dotti and I are sharing over what 2012 will bring! Now, coupling her continued success in the eating arena, with a truly challenging exercise regime, the results will have to be stupendous! We are true believers that this year will be a very good one for us, the best since 1998, maybe even better than that wonderful year was!
But let's back up to the start once more. In September of 2010, Dotti weighed 257 pounds at the doctor's office. It probably was the highest her weight has ever been. Both of Dotti's hips were being destroyed by arthritis, and her left one was already about as bad as a hip can get, complete degeneration of the cartilage to bone-on-bone. She literally screamed out in pain whenever she got into the car. I had to lift her legs for her, because she couldn't lift them herself. This condition led us into a year like I hope to never have to live through again. Both of Dotti's hips have been replaced now (left hip done on June 13, and right hip done on September 12, of 2011). Pain, fear, struggle and striving for recovery all mixed together creating a cocktail that no one would want to drink. But Dotti drank it all, and she came out standing on her new hips and she is now determined to walk through the door that medical science opened for her.
There is nothing more in our focus today than losing weight. It isn't just to look better. It is because of health. A Rand study (The Health Risks of Obesity: Worse Than Smoking, Drinking, or Poverty) showed that being obese carries twice as much of a health risk as smoking does. Clearly, simply trading smoking for obesity is a bad trade. The need was there, back in September of 2010, but need is not enough. While need may be the mother of invention, it is not an immaculate conception. Invention also requires hard work, ability, and knowledge.
When it comes right down to it, we all know how to lose weight. You eat fewer calories than you burn throughout your day, and your body will feed on your fat content and your weight goes down. The straight forward nature of the idea is similar to that of driving a car. You know that you get in, turn on the ignition, the engine starts and you drive away. The idea is simplicity itself. However, the simple idea is not enough; you need gas in the tank. It doesn't just magically appear. You have to supply it. No matter how simple an idea is, it has to be applied, and all the parameters it requires, have to be in place for it to work.
Why don't we just go out and do this very simple thing and walk around at goal weight all the time? Because application of this simple idea, is not so simple. We have other things involved.
I often mention smoking as an example of what goes on in our minds, because it is something I struggled with for many years and it was quite educational. I found that it wasn't the physical addiction that was tough. If it were just a physical thing, I would have quit smoking years before, with only a little bit of struggle. You might know people, who have just laid down their cigarettes, and quit cold turkey, and who look down their noses at anyone who doesn't do it that way. They were only physically addicted, and that part is easy to overcome. The real difficulty is with the person who is psychologically addicted. This is much closer to the overeating problem. After only a few days, nicotine is completely out of your system and your body adjusts.
However, your mind ties almost everything you do to smoking. When you drive, and the traffic is nasty, you smoke, in order to make you feel better. When you are on the phone, and it is stressful, you have a cigarette, and it is much easier to take. Coffee goes well with a smoke. And on and on. It isn't the physical jolt you get from the cigarette that is most troubling to give up; it is that companion who comforts you when life is hardest. It is like losing your best friend.
With psychological addiction, your mind triggers the same physical effects that you would feel when you are still physically addicted, and it has been too long between cigarettes. You feel like you need a cigarette desperately when you have a fight with your wife, or someone cuts you off in traffic, even though you have no physical addiction left in your body.
Food can be the very same thing to us. It comforts us. Our minds can fool us into feeling hunger pains, even when we are not really hungry at all, but because we are stressed, or other things make us unhappy, or worried. In reality, I didn't need a cigarette when I was stressed, I needed to find coping methods for the stress, which were not destructive.
Dotti had a need to lose weight. It was a very great need. It was backed by huge amounts of pain. But guess what? When you are in pain, food can be comforting. Instead of motivating you to do what is best, it can drive you in the exact opposite direction. Ouch!
Okay, so here is what Dotti did. She got out her Enjoying Weight Loss CDs and she listened to them daily. Now, that was not a magic pill to take. It was just a helper that got her mind right, so she could face life, pain, and everything else pushing on her, without overeating. And it worked. Dotti is currently down to 223 lbs. She has lost over 30 pounds and even though the surgeries, and their associated recovery processes, have caused things to move around a bit (she was down to 216 before her second surgery), she has kept at least 30 pounds off for nearly a year now. We both believe that the hypnosis made it possible for her to focus when she most needed to focus on controlling her eating.
She has used Enjoying Weight Loss all along the way. And then the past few weeks, a new tool was added called Weight Loss For Life. The two programs work hand in hand, but the part that I am most impressed with on this new program is the focus on stress control. First of all, hypnosis is about the most relaxing thing you can do. Just going under and coming back, all by itself, will make you feel calmer and far more peaceful than you were before. So, adding in stress relaxation, as a topic, while you are there, is magnificent.
The results speak for themselves, Dotti has used the help well, to stay away from bad habits and keep off that tenacious gaining path. Remember for over a year, Dotti has been unable to exercise in any significant way. For months she walked with a walker, and more months, she had to use a cane. After getting to the cane after the first surgery, it was back to square one after the second surgery.
I can't begin to express the terrible time I had simply watching Dotti and helping her through her days. I know it is terrible to say, but I really could have used a cigarette the entire time. It was that bad, and I was on the outside looking in at her pain. I didn't smoke, and bless her heart, Dotti didn't overeat! I honestly believe that she controlled her eating in great part due to the help that Dr. Roberta Temes provided on the Enjoying Weight Loss CDs. The success she had would not have happened without them.
But we are not done yet, not by a long shot. Dotti is still in the Obese category. This year pulled her down out of the Morbidly Obese category (hurray!) and she has remained in the better, though still not good, Obese category for many months. Now it is time to make the big move to goal! She lost over 30 lbs without exercise, relying on her knowledge of the Weight Watchers system, and the CDs. Now a bit more than twice that remains to be lost. However...
Each of the two companion programs, which Dotti is using, works together with the other, each having a different skill set that it fosters. For example, one of the skills that is strongly covered in Weight Loss For Life is stress control, while Enjoying Weight Loss has a wonderful section on exercise, and for 2012 this will be a big help to Dotti, because this new phase of the Journey will be critical. While continuing to eat right, Dotti is now set to do water aerobics, working out with a personal trainer, and walking with yours truly. In fact, yesterday we took a three-mile walk together, and Dotti didn't hurt a bit—awesome!
I am very excited about the possibilities that are here before us right now. Dotti is walking with no hip pain. It has been years, since she could say that. Years! Her pain level had ebbed and flowed before she hurt herself in August of 2010, but after that it was non-stop pain until that second surgery was done and the healing process completed. Her flexibility is still short of where it will be, but this week will find her back at the gym.
There are no guarantees in life. But I believe strongly in our ability to create success, when we bring the right tools together with the right attitude and put all our efforts into the task. Whether it is learning to read and write, or earning a PhD, or mastering auto mechanics, or climbing a mountain, you decide to do it, gather in the tools you need, and then pursue it with all your might. I have a little orange item on my desk, shaped and colored like a highway hazard cone. It is only 3 inches tall, but it carries a very big message: Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.
However you manage it, both Dotti and I sincerely hope you have a tremendously successful 2012, filled not only with that success, but with joy, love, and all the things you treasure most.
Each and every year that comes, carries with it tremendous possibilities for us. For Dotti and I, this year is exceptionally so, but perhaps that is true for you as well. You may not even realize it yet, but the year is like a blank journal, just waiting for your pen. You get to choose what sort of things you will write in that journal, whether it is tales of wonderful accomplishments, sad failures, or merely blank pages. Our hope is that you will find that this year will be one you will remember as a golden, treasured year, with success and joy holding the memory permanently in your mind. May you look back years from today and say to yourself, "I hope this year will be as good as 2012 was!"
Wishing you the very best,
Sorry we have been away for a while, thanks to our "interesting year,"
but we are very excited about this year, and please
look for our January 2012 Dotti's Newsletter in just a few days!
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