Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Enrolling in Driver's Ed

Well, will you look at that! It turns out I had one last story to tell for 2014. You see, last week, I was fortunate enough to get lots of outdoor walking worked into my day because of Christmas vacation. Walking outside does something to my brain, it wanders ­– in a good way – and that’s usually when I start planning my next post. So, here we are.

As I was enjoying the sunshine, I started thinking about all the posts that I've already written and what driving analogies I may have missed. Then it dawned on me, with the new year starting and the images of gyms, news articles and opinion pieces, Facebook memes and pretty much any ad on TV or radio that inundates our subconscious with ideas that everyone’s New Year’s Resolution is (or should be) weight-loss, I decided that I would dive right into that saturated field and offer my own opinions on the subject. Please note that everything I state here is strictly my opinion and I have received no compensation for what I’m about to say!

For those who have decided that 2015 is going to be “The Year” of successful weight loss, I would offer this suggestion: treat it like Driver’s Ed. Before you went out to get your Driver’s License, you had to become familiar with the car and the rules of the road. For many of us, learning on our own or with the help of a parent was not enough, so we enrolled in Driver’s Ed and used the support of the teacher and other classmates to help us learn and eventually pass the test.

Starting this journey shouldn't be any different. There are some people who are successful at losing weight without any outside assistance, they are rare, but I don’t doubt they exist. I am not one of them. I need the support and the tools of my Weight Watchers group to continue my success. Now, I've changed a lot of habits over the years, so I’m not as dependent as I was in the beginning, but the right group or program will allow you to spread your wings. To be successful, you must be allowed to share, vent, support others, be supported, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and never stop growing. Programs (like Weight Watchers or Shibboleth) and retreats (such as Green Mountain at Fox Run) that focus on education and support seem to be the most successful platforms. But ultimately, the program that is successful for you is the one in which you want to follow.

When you learn the proper driving techniques from qualified instructors, your driving record is usually better than someone who is just winging it. That’s not to say that you won’t ever get a ticket or be in an accident, but at least you have been given the tools to learn how to recognize the signs of dangerous road conditions. These groups operate in much the same manner. Just by attending the meetings doesn't guarantee that you will lose weight, you must take on the responsibility to use what you learn and not expect it to come without hard work.  I realize that sounds a bit preachy, and I typically try to keep everything here light-hearted, but I can’t stress enough that it is ultimately up to you to be successful in your journey. You can have the support of the entire planet, but you must be the one who puts the key in the ignition and starts the car. Knowing that you have the support of a driving instructor along for the ride should make things easier in the beginning, but the instructor is only there to impart her knowledge, you must be willing to absorb it and put it into action so that you take control of your own vehicle. After a while, you may find that you've mastered some of the techniques so well that you are willing to put yourself in the instructor’s seat for those newbies that are about to hit the road with their New Year’s Resolutions!

I hope that 2015 finds you happy and healthy and I encourage you all to enjoy your own Road Trip! You are worth the journey!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Navigating the Holidays

I’m sorry that I've been slacking, things are just crazy busy for me! Trust me, it’s not that I’m not interested in keeping my eyes on the road, I just haven’t had time to really focus on what matters, and that’s a most unfortunate thing. But now, with Thanksgiving behind us, Hanukkah starting last week, Christmas this week, culminating with the binge drinking and binge eating event otherwise known as New Year’s Eve, I just figured it was time to examine where I am on the map. After all, isn't the end of the year the best time for reflection? Looking at where you've been this past year in order to plan where you are going for next year.

I had to ask myself a few questions: 

Where have I been? Well, in 2014, I logged about 1846 miles worth of walking this year (with yet another week to go, I should end somewhere close to 1900 miles), hit my goal weight, had my story featured on, appeared on the TV show “The Doctors” and was interviewed for, so all in all, 2014 was a great year. 

Where am I going? No one knows what the future holds, but I do know that I will be focusing more on my passion in 2015. This weight loss journey has not only inspired the birth of this blog, but it has also given me the spark I need to put myself out there as a writer. I expect that spark to grow into a much larger, brighter flame this upcoming year. I will most definitely be making time to nurture that spark in 2015! 

How do I keep moving forward? It’s not easy to stay on track, especially this time of year, but there are little remindersroad signs, if you will— that I come across on my journey. It’s those little signs that help me stay focused. For instance, at my meeting this past Saturday, one of my awesome meeting friends gave me a custom Christmas card telling me how I inspire her to continue on. It was the best feeling, knowing that what I've done, and continue doing, helps others. When I started back in 2011, my goal wasn't to inspire others, I was lucky if I could inspire myself, but as I have attested many times right here on this blog, I get my inspiration from those who surround me. That is how I keep moving forward! 

How do I navigate these holidays? I can’t believe it, but the Holiday season will be over before long and knowing that I have the tools and trusting in the awareness to keep my eyes on the road ahead is what helps me stay the course. One thing Margie the Magnificent is fond of saying is “they are called ‘HoliDAYS’, not ‘HoliMONTHS’!” Meaning, we are allowed to celebrate the day, but don’t let it continue on for the entire month of Octovember (also known as October, November and December)! We've all worked too long and too hard for a derailment this close to the end of the year.

I've found that self-reflection and self-awareness always seem to be my two best road trip buddies. Usually, I typically lose focus when I ignore who I am and what I’m doing. Self-doubt and self-recrimination are the worst possible traveling companions for any journey. The best thing I've ever done was leave those two along the side of the road somewhere, and never look back. Besides, I just didn't have enough room in the car to keep carrying them along. 

How will you answer the questions? Will you be able to find your spark in the new year? That is my Christmas wish for your passion and may you never have a wasted day. 

I most likely will not be posting again until next year, so to all of you out there, have a very Merry Christmas and a brilliant and blessed New Year! 

Safe travels into 2015! Cheers!