Instant Moutaineer

sir-edmund-hillary-gear_49924_600x450Hey! My son lives in Tacoma. Let’s go up for a visit and climb Mt. Rainier. To the top. Next week.

Riiiiiight. Any idiot knows that you have to plan, prepare and train before tackling a mountain like that. Then, why on earth do we think that we can climb the mental mountains of major personal and lifestyle changes without any preparation at all?

‘Fess up. How many times have you resolved to lose weight, start exercising or whatever, started off all gang-busters, failed miserably and wondered how? I estimate that I’ve set those goals more than 20 times. I estimate that I’ve failed to acheive those goals more than 20 times. (Once, though, I did manage to quit smoking for a couple of years before I relapsed. That was before I acknowledged that I am a nicotine addict, not a habitual smoker – important distinction, realization and admission, let me tell you. With that distinction, I’m a seven year non-smoking nicotine addict.) With that track record, why not give up? Why try again?

Because, like L’Oreal says, I’m worth it.

Like They (the infamous They) say, the definition of insanity is doing something the same way time after time, expecting different results. I finally did it differently. I finally figured out that I couldn’t go from couch potato to marathoner  or from a size 20 to a size two overnight. (Let’s get real here, without mummification, I ain’t ever going to a size two.) I started listening to my body and approached the changes as lifestyle changes rather than as “going on a diet” or as “starting to workout.”  I couldn’t go from eating 92.4 grams of sugar each day (the average American intake) to 25 grams (the American Heart Association’s recommended daily maximum) in one stroke – stroke being the operative word, every time I tried it, my system went into fits of apoplexy and complete rebellion. The system-wide, cellular response was, “Hell to the no.” The smart approach for me was the same one many take when quitting smoking – the gradual one.

I removed processed foods from my diet, but initially replaced many of those sugars with added servings of fruit. To stave off cravings, I ate treesful of apples those first few weeks. As my system got used to getting natural fructose instead of high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose, I was able to decrease the number of daily fruit servings to one or two. Weight loss began in a way that my system could live with.

As I’ve struggled with my attitude in the last few months of 2013, I have failed to monitor my diet. I have failed to keep sugars and wheat in check. I have failed to eat enough vegetables or, really, anything even approaching a balanced diet. I’ve eaten all the wrong things in all the wrong proportions.  But….

I’m worth it, remember?

So, I begin a new year on the calendar and in my mind. My refrigerator is stocked with veggies. I’ve got dried fruit and nuts for snacks. I’ve got lean meat in the freezer. My nutritional arsenal is full and my mind in the right place.  I begin the process of training to summit my mental mountains which are every bit as daunting as Mt. Ranier even if they don’t include a visit with my son.

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