15 October 2011

Never Know Who's Watching You

The woman spoke to me from several feet away while I was walking and reading tweets on my iPhone. She was placing items in the passenger side of her car.

Giving her my full attention I said, "Pardon?"

She repeated herself. "You can come knock on my door to make me go walking. You don't have to wait for me. Just knock to remind me."

I smiled politely, "Well, come on, it's a great habit to have!"

She began to step into her car, "You're doing good. Keep it up. You never know who's watching you."


Without breaking my stride, I shot a smile towards her and shouted, "Thank you!"

Since beginning my walking routine, I've received several random encouragements from neighbors. All of them have shared genuine expressions of how well they think I'm doing, that I should keep it up, and wondering how much weigh I've lost. Each have been complete strangers.

The woman's parting comment of me never knowing who's watching is a good reminder to us all. My walking is a routine is one that varies. Very rarely do I not encounter someone going to their car, walking their dog, checking the mail, or other activities. How many routines do you have and never think who might be watching you? Is your routine commendable and inspiring? Or would you be ashamed if someone commented on it?

Fact is, we're always being watched by the Holy Spirit. Our choice is whether we listen to His guidance and promptings.

Getting back to my routine, I don't know how much weight I've lost. And I don't care. It's around 20 pounds but I prefer to focus on the results and not the numbers. I don't get on the scale every day or every week. I don't count calories. I don't beat myself up for not drinking enough water or for having a doughnut.

I've concluded this is why weight loss is so difficult for many people. Expectations are often set high for a certain amount of poundage to disappear in a certain time frame. We forget the fact weight comes on slowly over weeks, months, and years. Yet, we want drastic results in hours and days.

Some work their bodies to a frenzy to burn calories in a rush to change appearance. No doubt, their bodies have drastic improvements but at what mental and emotional cost? And sometimes this leads to yo-yo dieting where fantastic results are wiped away by a return to old habits.

I had to set a new normal for myself. This required paying attention to what I consumed throughout the day. Couple that with walking 4 miles a day, 5 days a week. The first 3 are brisk, the last is with Maddy the beagle. I try to drink at least 96 ounces of water a day. I try to keep sweets, breads, or other high calories foods to a minimum.

Websites like Spark People and apps like Lose It to track dietary intake are helpful. These are good products and likely some people can keep up with them. For me, I reach a point where I see the patterns. I see what foods are poor choices for my body if consumed too often. I see how many calories are going in and being burned. I see where changes are needed. Then, I'm done with the tool. I apply a new normal and move on.

This plan may fly in the face of what other trainers, nutritionists, or other such experts say. But this is where many get frustrated and often give up. Every body is different. What works for one person may have less or no results for another.

The truths for everyone:
  • We MUST get moving. (Walking, running, sports...)
  • We MUST burn more calories than we consume
  • We MUST drink 8 glasses or more (96 ounces) of water EVERY DAY
Do those things and you will lose weight. Maybe not as fast as you want but it will happen. But what is happening everyday is your impact on other people.

Are you a motivating and encouraging example? Or just more static and noise?