Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Building Strength

How do you build the strength you need to stick to losing weight... or any goal for that matter? It isn't really "willpower" that you need. It isn't motivation, either. It isn't a special super-secret diet plan, a bottle of magic pills, or a guide on "how to lose weight fast." What you need... what we all need... is strength.

There is a strength that comes from the core. It's the strength you see when people go through major life changes, losses, and tragedies but they survive. Why? Because they draw on their inner strength to make it through. They don't always enjoy it. They aren't always successful every minute of every day. It's the long-term outcome that defines success. Will you lose the weight, eventually? Yes. If you have strength.

We all feel weak at times. During this journey, I have felt helpless, overwhelmed, even desperate at times. But when you reach into your core and find what centers you, you get through it and keep on going toward your goal. There is nothing terrible about stumbling, or feeling weak at times. I have cried out for help and support. That's when we can draw on the strength of others to help us through. But if you're feeling like a washed-up diet queen, what can you do? How can you pull out of your funk and be strong? How can we build strength within ourselves?

I believe it is a process. Maybe we start out wimpy, with really weak "resistance muscles" as Dr. Beck says in The Beck Diet Solution. Every time we see an Oreo, we want it, we give in and have one. But each time you say NO, and resist the Oreo, you are doing a rep for your resistance muscle, making it stronger. Eventually, it gets easier and easier to say no and resist. You become strong. You stop giving in to your inner brat. You grow up.

Imagine that you are training for a weight lifting contest. You have to work your muscles to build them up. How well are you going to do in the contest if every time you go to strength train, you pick up the weight and moan, "ooohhh, this soooo heavyyyyyyyyyy. I don't want to lift thissssssssss. Wahhhhhhhhh. I don't wannnnaaaaaaaaa. I will do it tomorrow" and you put the weight down and go watch TV. Do you think you will be winning any blue ribbons or medals or whatever weight lifters win, with that kind of effort? NO! You have to pick up the weight. You have to move. You have to do lots of WORK. And the end result? You build up your muscles. You develop STRENGTH. Think of that next time you want to go through the Arby's drive through. Think of that when you don't feel like having a healthy meal. Junk is easier. But what does junk build? Nothing. Nothing but a huge, flabby waistline.

Think about what kind of character you want to build. Every action you take has an effect on who you are and what you are becoming. Isn't it time to develop the characteristics you will be proud of? Persistence. Patience. Strength.

I work on this every day. It is a constant challenge for me. In a very literal sense I am working to become stronger. One way I translate my inner strength into physical strength is by lifting weights. There is something truly empowering about having real muscles on your body... even if they are under a layer of fat. All I do is lift light weights (up to 10 pounds) three days a week for 20 minutes, but now I have real muscles building under my skin. I love that feeling. Try it... you will too!

As a reminder to myself to stay strong, I bought myself a silver ring. I wear it all the time. It is simply engraved with the word "strength." Every time I see it, I remember. I am doing something important. I don't want to be weak. I want to reach my goals.

Be strong. Say no to the things you do not want in your life: junk food, lack of energy, extra pounds. Say yes to strength. You will be so proud of yourself.

*Edit: Several people have asked me where I got my ring. I got it here, on Amazon and I love it.


Donna B said...

You are doing great! Love the idea of the silver ring. I still have yet to buy myself a gift forlosing 50#'s and might steal your idea. Hope I can find something similar where I live that doesn't cost a ton! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I like the ring idea.


Chubby Chick said...

I love the comment about the "inner brat." That's what I've got to do... stop giving in to the inner brat.

I feel like I'm becoming stronger every day... and the pull towards unhealthy foods and unhealthy habits is becoming weaker. Now I need to get out my dumbbells and start lifting weights and building real muscle!

I love your ring and what it stands for. I may need to get one! :)

new*me said...

Cool ring! Cool idea! Today's post is a great one for any of us on this journey. For most of us, it will continue to be a daily struggle, even after the weight is gone. Reminding ourself that we are stronger, healthier, happier is the key. I am not lifting weights yet but doing "You on a Diet Workout" 3x a week in addition to my walking. It focuses on building the body's core using your body as they gym. It's awesome. My mom commented on my new muscle tone....even under the fat layers, she noticed!!

I am with you....seeing the actual muscle is a great way reminder of inner and outer strength.

Thanks for your inspiring post today.

spunkysuzi said...

Definitely agree with you on having an inner brat ;) I'm working on saying no to her.
Love the idea of the ring it's a nice visual reminder of what you need to do!


Your words are just what I needed, that mental kick. Saying no to lack of energy, no to drive through, no to 'feeling tired' magnetizing my butt to the chair or couch, no to...there are so many things! - I can do it. You are doing a great privilege for yourself in your success.

I too love the ring. I wish I could find one like it.

Big Girl said...

I'll also say yes to will power and yes motivation. But I like your idea of saying yes to strength. I figure we should say yes to whatever may help us.

Love the ring.

Dinah Soar said...

I love the ring idea too.. Great are changing from the inside out! The inner man/woman determines the outer man/woman--the part the rest of us, the world can see.

Repeating what you've done these past few months---taking a day at a time...accepting that there will be good days, bad days and better days, but that progress is "progressing" ---moves you one day closer to victory.

Keeping your eyes on the prize is great incentive...and that little silver ring serves you well, as a "cheerleader" and a champion of your effort.

Danielle said...

Great post!
Keep up the great work.

Ceres said...

Thanks for the great post, Lyn. You're so right; it's inner strength that makes us stick to our goal, "get the job done" despite the odds, keep moving towards what we really want. How you build your inner strength might differ from person to person... I started exercising regularly at least two years before I started eating less and losing weight; there was something about exercise that made me emotionally stronger. Now it's almost easier to lose weight than in the past, because I am so much stronger at saying "no" to the wrong stuff and "yes" to the good. It comes from within, as you said, and that makes a world of difference :-)

Heather said...

oh so true! love the ring.

yankee grits said...

You know what's funny? I always think to myself that if anyone ever asked me what it takes to lose a large amount of weight, I'd answer "Patience and persistence." So it was cool and funny to see it in your blog. I can't speak on strength, but patience and persistence has carried me to a 100lb weight far.

Anyway, congratulations, you're doing awesome! Much better than me; you're an inspiration.