Denial - At my heaviest, I remember that I could look at myself in the mirror and, at certain angles and with the proper lighting, convince myself that I looked pretty much all right. Sure I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I didn’t look half-bad, even though I felt like day-old crap most mornings. I felt like I was okay… and then I’d see a snapshot taken of me at a picnic or party and my self-image would deflate like a soufflé during an earthquake.
Anger - I can’t tell you how many of my diets were initially fueled by feverish anger… getting mad at myself, at my weakness, at my inability to get my act together. But here’s the thing about anger: it burns white-hot for a short period, but it’s simply not sustainable, not something that can carry you over the long haul. Anger is an all-out sprint from the starting gate of a marathon.
Bargaining – I’ll just have one more reckless weekend, one more bust-a-gut free-for-all before I really, really and I mean really get serious about it. That's what I told myself over and over and over. Funny how those “last meal” gorge-fests don’t really get the job done as a diet booster… well, not all the funny when you stop and think about it.
Depression - Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and crushing levels of frustration, bitterness and self pity. That’s what a lifetime of not being able to get the deal done generally brings about. You feel like there’s nothing you can do to engineer a U-turn on the healthy living highway. You feel down and out, lower than low. This is the darkness before the dawn.
Acceptance - I doubt that there’s a single one of us that doesn’t know exactly what we need to do to lose weight and get more fit. We know it. We know it like we know our own names, yet we stumble and struggle to eat the right things, do the right things. Then one day (if we’re very lucky) it clicks, in our heads and in our hearts, and we realize how all the parts and pieces fit together, how energy, effort and enthusiasm can come together to create extraordinary circumstances. That is when the magic happens...
I don’t really know how appropriate it is to appropriate the “stages of grief” idea for a discussion about losing weight and getting more healthy, but I will use anything I can get my hands on–rants, rhymes, riddles or rabid rambling–to help drive these points home. I’ll use anything and everything at my disposal to keep pushing myself (and you, I hope) to a better place.
Wherever you are on this journey, I hope you’re finding yourself making progress. I hope you've left behind your anger and self-doubt. I pray you’re done with the bad bargains and the pity parties.
I hope you’re in a good place, ready to face your challenges, your opportunities and your future head-on, with courage and conviction.
You can do this.
Accept that fact and let’s go.