Monday, September 05, 2011

It's All About Me

I ran into a colleague I haven't seen in a long time at a conference I attended for my professional association a few weeks ago. She has dropped over 100 pounds. She had some questions for me about the industry we share and I had questions for her about her successful weight loss, so we sat down to catch up. She shared some concepts with me that I have heard from other people that have managed to drop a significant amount of weight and keep it off.
  • To be successful, you have to get to the point where you are doing it FOR YOU and not for anyone else.
  • At the core of it all - it really isn't about the food. To maintain success, you are committing to a healthier lifestyle.
I have a very busy life: a full-time job, a wonderfully supportive husband, 3 amazing children, 2 dogs, a great niece that I help babysit a few days a week, a handful of committees I volunteer on, a couple of pleasurable hobbies that offer a creative or educational outlet, and an array of close friends and family that help to round out my life. There are very few quiet moments. Very few opportunities for peaceful reflection. Rare chances to do absolutely nothing without feeling guilty.

Did I mention I am a caretaker? A rescuer? A co-dependent? I suffer from "savior syndrome." I'm a fixer. I have trouble setting boundaries and using the word "no."

It can be flattering to have people valuing your opinion or wanting your advice. It can feel good to be "needed" or relied upon. But there comes a time when what I really need is time for me. Uninterrupted, quiet, guilt-free time alone. Time to do what I want to do. All of this care taking gets overwhelming.

So back to my friend's advice -
To be successful, you have to get to the point where you are doing it FOR YOU and not for anyone else.

I love walking. I love the solitude of walking laps around the junior high track by our house - just me and my headset. It's a bonus that it happens to be as good for my heart as it is for my soul. So after talking with my colleague at the conference a few weeks ago, I made a commitment to myself to start each and every day with a walk FOR ME. My time.
It will send a positive message to me that I am worth it. That I matter. If I can set an alarm to get up for a conference call or to take a friend to the airport or accompany a kid to an appointment, why can't I set an alarm to get up and spend the first part of each day doing something I love and something that is good for me? I can, I will, and I have!

I have walked every morning for the past 15 days straight. My goal is 2 miles or 30 minutes minimum every day. So far I have logged just a little over 40 miles. Some days I push myself to make the minimum, other days I easily double it. But I'm sticking to it - and the message is getting through. I deserve this time to myself. It's not selfish. Taking care of myself can feel just as good as taking care of someone else. Thank you, Lois, for helping me see that.