Setting the Bar

hot_cabana_boyI don’t like winter. I dread when the temperature starts to dip into the single digits let alone the minus range. I hate shovelling snow and I don’t like cold things unless they come in a frosted glass with a wedge of lime.

I am sitting in paradise this morning enjoying a delicious cup of the local coffee, listening to the birds chirp and the waves crash as I revel in the last day of a much needed and anticipated holiday. I don’t know about other fellow North Americans but I find that when I am in a tropical climate and answer the “where are you (unnaturally-pale-obviously not-from-around-here) folks from? ” I usually get the “Whoa! How much snow do you have?!” It could be September and someone will make the snow comment. If you are like me, in the early days of a vacation you take a small measure of evil glee in imagining loved ones donning heavy coats as you slip into your flip flops…however that glee starts to be replaced with a bit of humbleness and dread as departure day gets closer and closer. I really really don’t like winter.

To make matters worse I have been getting a daily email from a Canadian magazine to which I subscribe, counting down the number of days until both Christmas and New Years and listing the myriad of things to which one needs to attend in order to ‘be ready’. This has been going on now for several weeks and if I weren’t so afraid that I would miss out on some vital piece of information on how to best prepare for what they make out to be the upcoming Armageddon I would unsubscribe.

I’m not quite sure when the holidays started to create in me, not only a sense of joyful anticipation but a wee bit of dread and anxiety as well. There is just so much to DO and the daily reminders we get can make us feel slightly overwhelmed and panic-stricken. Not only that but I think many of us (women in particular) set unrealistic goals and expectations…we set that bar a little too high.

I remember hearing a motivational speaker talk about how to avoid getting frustrated and giving up when setting personal goals and expectations. She said instead of setting the bar so high that you can’t get over it and give up, set it a little lower so that you can’t possibly NOT get over it…and keep raising that bar. She was talking about exercise and weight-loss however I think that this is something that we can apply to many areas of life.

Sometimes when patients will express frustration over a lack of weight-loss or a lengthy plateau, it will be followed with a litany of excuses related to life events…birthdays, holidays, parties, vacations. There is often a sense of helplessness and an expressed feeling of not being in control. But let’s face it: these are some of the very things that make life worth living right? Where would we be without birthdays to celebrate (well…dead I guess ;)) without parties and holidays to enjoy and the odd vacation to help us get through the HARROWING winter (have I mentioned yet how much I truly don’t enjoy winter)?

We can use these events as an excuse for not eating well, for over indulging, for not staying active. But lets be honest where will that get us? To a frustrating (self-induced) lack of weight-loss or a lengthy plateau.

This Lap-band thing involves lifestyle change. For some it’s a minor alteration and for others a major overhaul. This can take time. So remember that bar when setting realistic goals and expectations: don’t set that bar so high that you can’t get over it, set it a little on the low side but BE SURE to keep raising it.

With holidays FAST (as my email keeps reminding me) approaching, I encourage you to write down some realistic goals. Put them somewhere that you will see them daily. Refer to them regularly.

Perhaps consider something along the lines of:

I will eat small amounts of good food mindfully
I will taste, savor and enjoy my food without guilt
I will serve myself small portions of food I like on a small plate
I won’t continue to eat something I am not truly enjoying
I will stop eating before I feel full
I will be active at minimum 30 minutes daily no matter how busy I get

These aren’t unrealistic goals that can’t be attained. This is ‘basic math’ so to speak…how all of us, banded or not should be living every day to be healthy.

This may not lead to weight LOSS over the holidays but it will help prevent weight gain and I think that is a realistic expectation to have of oneself.

Similarly for vacations, try not to view them as an opportunity to overindulge in excess, but do enjoy. (One of the many beautiful things about being banded is that it allows you to feel more satiated with smaller portions of well-chosen food, it allows you to feel more in charge). And while on vaca stay active! Walk the beach if you are somewhere warm (think of that snow!!) vow to take the stairs rather than the elevator (just pray you aren’t on the 20th floor), join in those water aerobics with the hot pool boy 😉 (NOW you get the point of the picture I chose for the blog…it was that or Snoopy in a Santa hat…tough decision :))

This morning at breakfast my husband commented that I was ‘really enjoying my food’ read: ‘eating more than usual’. Really? Day 6 without so much as a cross look betwixt us and he says THAT?! (Honestly no offence to you males…but sometimes you can be a bit clueless). Yes I AM ‘enjoying my food’ and perhaps I AM eating a little more than usual. But I am also walking, cycling and/or hitting the gym daily. And let’s face it it’s all over way too soon and then it’s back to regular routines.

So with the upcoming holiday season (and I mean ‘holiday’ in both sense of the word…that being Christmas and for some an escape from the HORRIBLE GAWD AWFUL North American winter…I really should move south) quickly approaching I wish you all of the joyful anticipation and happiness these events are meant to bring and none of the panic and fear we may impose upon ourselves by setting that bar too high (and say ‘NO’ to the friend who asks you to take part in the 40 dozen cookie exchange…seriously, I get that every year).

Yours in much Health and much much Happiness,


About BodyWell Fitness

I am a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, and Lapband Education Coach. I have worked since 2005 with the obese population and over 5000 lapband/gastric banded patients helping them to understand life with a gastric band, eat well, lose weight, get physically and mentally fit, become healthy and stay motivated. It is my goal to provide information, share knowledge and motivate people to help them reach their hopes and dreams.
This entry was posted in education, motivation and support, obesity, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Setting the Bar

  1. mmaniatis1 says:

    Wonderful words sue ! 

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