Friday, October 21, 2011

Learning from Failure

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."  -Winston Churchill


To those that have know me for a long time, you may remember I once lost all of this weight back in 1997 and 1998.

And then I gained all of it back, plus more. It was complete and total epic failure on an absolutely cosmic scale.  It was humiliating and painful.

That failure haunted me for over a decade.  But when I was going through the weight loss, I felt indestructible.  I felt like I had cracked the code and was cured forever.  I was wrong.

So, when it all came crashing down, I panicked.  Instead of just calmly trying something else and giving myself a break, I overreacted.  It took me less than a year to gain back what I worked so hard for almost 2 years to lose.  I have never been more humbled in my life.

When I set out to lose this weight again, I decided to learn as much as I could from my failure 12 years ago.  Why didn't what I did work? Looking back now, I can see all the dumb things I was doing that were unsustainable:

1.) I was starving myself. Losing weight became the focus, rather than focusing on maintaining a healthy weight.  I got addicted to the number on the scale.  With that in mind, I only weigh on the scale every 2 weeks.  Not 1 day sooner.

2.)  The foods I were eating were a drastic departure from a normal diet.  I became a vegetarian and for a time, a vegan.  Those are healthy diets and good choices for some people, but unsustainable for me.  This time I have tried to eat only the way that I think I can maintain forever.

3.) I never cut myself a break.  When I gained back 5 or 10 pounds, I should've just relaxed and slowly gotten back on the horse.  Back then, if i didn't go to the gym 10 times a week, I felt like a failure.  I had completely lost my mind and it's no wonder I burned out.  So these days I try and take the long view.  If I miss a workout, I just go the next day and move on. 

It really is true when people say "slow and steady wins the race."  Sometimes I lose 2 pounds every 2 weeks.  Sometimes 8.  I'm not trying to win an award, just get and stay healthy.

The important thing is never giving up.

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