This is my first week making a serious effort to get back on track. It’s still amazing to me that I can work so hard for so long (2 years to be exact) getting my life on track. Yet it takes no time at all for me to fall so far into a pit that I wonder if I will ever crawl out.
It’s not that I wanted to be off track. It’s not that I enjoy looking at my weight loss ticker to the right and never seeing it move. I do not enjoy feeling defeated nor do I get any pleasure from the realization that I have fallen into bad habits that I know are self destructive. Yet in the midst of all that, I often continue to do the very things I hate.
There is a scripture that I relate to in these times of backsliding.
“I do not know why I do the things I do. I do not do what I want to do. But I do the things I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it but my wrong ways in me. ” (Romans 7:15)
I come back to that scripture over and over again because quite honestly it describes my life at various times. What hits me the most is this point….It is no longer ME doing it…but the wrong ways in me. In other words…MY HABITS.
Habits make or break us. We do something at first and we don’t intend for it to become a recurring action. Yet within no time at all, we are doing it repeatedly maybe even subconsciously. Then in the end it is an automatic response and something we no longer feel we can control.
About 6 months ago, I reached a point where I felt I had garnered some great success. I felt I had developed good habits and I was on my way to that final goal weight! I could see it in sight. I felt I had rounded a corner and no longer was I hundreds of pounds away from my goal. I wasn’t 300 or more pounds overweight. I was 63 pounds away from the “finish line” and for me that seemed like nothing but a hop, skip and a jump from victory. For many, 63 pounds seems like a long stretch still to go. For me, having already lost several hundred pounds it didn’t seem like that far to go. I’d already lost 60 pounds 4 times over! So I said to myself “I GOT THIS!” and then I did something VERY dangerous….I let my guard down.
There I was again falling into one bad habit after another. Bouncing right back to the same bad habits that took me to 417 pounds. Buying what we call “slider foods” in the weight loss surgery community—potato chips, cookies, pretzels…the foods that liquidate and slide right down taking up little room in your stomach and making it easy to take in a lot of food in spite of your restricted stomach size. I had stopped working out and I had gained back 12 pounds. How would I ever get back on track again?
I’ve struggled for months to get back on track. Doing little more than maintaining my weight and yet being unable to move forward. This week, however, I finally flipped the switch and was able to make progress. So what was it about THIS week that allowed me to finally get back on track?
1. I went back to the gym. I didn’t care how long I was there or what I even did there. I just wanted to physically get myself in the door. I made my task there manageable with my primary goal just being to get there and then get there again the next day.
2. I threw out the junk food and went back to my protein shakes, no sugar, chicken and salad. It was not easy but I can tell you that after one week back on track, my appetite has significantly diminished. I feel more in control today than I have in months.
3. I returned to my daily habit of getting up early to read my Bible and ask God to give me insight and strength.
4. I decided to forgive myself for the mistakes I had made. I determined to not live any more days in regret and guilt over having gotten so off track and instead move forward with the grace and mercy that God has promised to pour out on us if we ask.
It’s a struggle to get back on track because habits are formed with each day that goes by. At first it is hard to reengage. It is tough to get back to the good habits and forsake the bad. It’s important to know, however, that with each day that goes by it becomes easier. Habits are formed through repetition so we must do them daily with consistency in order to get to that point where they become easier and more automatic.
At the end of this week, I have lost 4 pounds. It is the most weight I’ve lost in quite awhile. I feel better. My mood is improved. I know that I am getting back on track. Am I there yet? NO But I know this….when we step out in faith and determine to try again….God meets us where we are and leads the way.