I remember writing a post a long time ago that said something like:
I just don't know if I can do "this" long enough to lose a substantial amount of weight.
I knew that was my problem. It wasn't that I didn't know how to lose weight, I was practically an expert at that! I just didn't know how to keep doing those things for an extended period of time.
Well, glory to GOD! I have been doing "this" for more than a year now and that's long enough to notice some patterns. One pattern that I have noticed is something I will call the upswing/downswing phenomenon.
The upswing--everything is going smoothly, the drive is there, the effort is there, the planning is there...to take a term from the book I am reading--the "want to" is there. You are IN. THE. ZONE. (I'm there now!)
The downswing-- cravings are in full force, the couch looks much better than the tennis shoes, the food prep and planning is not top on the priority list and the "want to" is kind of asleep...hibernating. BLAH. (I've been there)
The good thing about the pattern I see in my own journey is that the upswing always comes back. Eventually. Like I said, I have been at this for over a year and the ups and downs are like night and day. They always come; you can count on it.What this means is, if you can wait long enough without totally giving up while in the downswing state, the upswing will return!
You have to know that.
You have to trust that.
Undoubtedly, it is impossible to continue on without the promise of and the belief in the upswing. If you think it's not coming back, you lose heart. Quitting seems way easier than trying to keep holding on.
But hold on you must!
Now, having said that...the same is true for the downswing. It's always coming. Be ready. Expect it. Defend your hard work. Don't let the downswing be the end of your efforts. You have to see the downswing for what it really is: passing, fleeting, momentary. Always remember: the upswing is around the corner.
If you look at my weigh-ins you will see that at one point in my journey it took me 7 months to lose 5 pounds. Note: I've only been doing this for 14 months. That means at least half of my journey...yep! Spent it in the downswing mode! Seems unfair, no? Well, it certainly wasn't fun. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
Let's do a little exercise called re-framing. What is the downswing to me? Besides the cravings, the laziness, the temptation to quit? It's an opportunity to practice the most important skill I will ever need to perfect: maintenance. I used to dread the word 'maintenance.' As long as we are trying to lose weight, maintenance must be equated with failure. Right? That's not true. We have to learn how to maintain or this whole deal is pointless. When we get to the point we actually need to maintain our weight (and God help us--WE WILL!) I hope we know how! Don't you?
So be encouraged my downswinging friends! You labor not in vain. Hope is just around the corner. Or it may be 7 months away. But it is there. The upswing is always there.
Wait for it.