Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tasty Excuses

I once said that I would never be able to fit in any clothes smaller than a size ten because of my extra-large birthing hips.  I now must face the reality that half my readers have probably stopped reading because I used the phrase "birthing hips" in the first sentence of this post.  If you're still reading, then I am happy to report that I am now a size six in pants and a size four in dresses. 

I once said that I would never be a runner.  I'm still not anything amazing, but I've come a long way from the girl who used to get completely wiped out after running just half a mile.  I am hoping to do a 10K in the fall, and then I might look into doing a half marathon in the spring.  We'll see what happens...

Anyway, I've been eating a lot of my words lately, and well, they actually taste pretty good.  The trouble is, the excuses I made that kept me from attempting the things I've accomplished lately also tasted pretty good when I was saying them.  "I'll never be truly skinny, so I guess it's okay to just keep eating whatever I want whenever I want."  "I'll never really be thin, so I'll just exercise occasionally.  And if my body feels like running, I'll just stick with walking anyway, because I can't keep up the running very long."  "I've got too much going on in my life to make time for exercise."  "It's too expensive to eat healthy foods when a box of mac and cheese is so cheap and will last me two or three meals." 

These things tasted really good while I was saying them.  They gave me all the reasons I needed to keep being fat, to keep being lazy, to keep being unhealthy.  And maybe some of them were true for a while.  I remember the first time I tried to start the diet and exercise routine in February of 2009, my grandmother died, and I wasn't able to deal with grief and all the other stuff in my life.  Diet and exercise was too much to add to all that was going on at that particular moment in my life.  That set me back a year...but it didn't set me back forever.

So I guess sometimes there are valid excuses, but I don't think they can be allowed to sustain you for very long.  Excuses are like food that's bad for you.  They taste good, but they aren't good for you.  They make you fat and comfortable while not really nourishing you.  And over the past year and a half, I've had to exchange all the tasty dessert words for other words.  Instead of saying, "Oh, there's no reason for me to do this because I'll never succeed," I've had to say, "I'm going to give this a try and see what happens."  Those words aren't as comfortable.  They aren't ice cream words.  They are carrot stick words.  Carrot sticks still taste good (to me anyway), but they aren't as comfortable and easy as a bowl of ice cream. 

But carrot sticks are good for you.  And doing something uncomfortable is good for you.  And it's easy to get proud of myself for accomplishing this amazing feat of losing 50+ pounds (60 is right around the corner!), especially when I discovered yesterday that I can totally rock a super cute size four dress.  But the truth is, there are a lot of areas in my life where I'm still eating too much ice cream. 

The prayer and Bible reading has gotten way off track lately.  It's easy and comfortable to sit under the banquet table God's prepared and wait for Him to throw scraps of grace to me, but He's invited me to sit at the table and dine with Him--if only I wouldn't be too lazy to get up off the floor. 

The writing.  Oh, yes, the writing.  It's like I've taken some kind of extended vacation from that.  Have I been busy?  Yes.  Last week was not an excuse--it was a reality.  I had other things to do besides writing, and they were vitally important.  But right now?  I'm housesitting.  I'm in a big house with a cat and it's really quiet.  It's like a retreat where I have time and space to write (when I don't have to go to work--sigh).  Am I writing?  No.  I'm watching cable tv and living it up.  It's easy to help myself to that big bowl of ice cream excuse that says, "I don't have cable at my apartment.  I don't usually watch tv like this.  When am I going to have another opportunity to watch such exciting and important programming as 'I Kid with Brad Garret'?"  Yeah.  The ice cream is tasty and comfortable, but not at all nourishing.  And I need some carrot sticks in my writing life for sure.  Maybe even a salmon filet.

This isn't to say that ice cream is necessarily bad.  I've lost weight and I still have something frivolous to eat almost every day (life without chocolate is almost not worth living).  Sometimes we need to excuse ourselves from work, from drama, from the daily grind of life.  It's just that we need to keep those excuses in balance--and I've said it before and will say it again--I'm horrible at balancing.  We can't live off ice cream and cake.  Those things have to be integrated meagerly into a steady diet of protein and vegetables and real solid food. 

I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm hoping to eat some of my words again.  All I can do is keep giving life a good try.  There will be failures and false starts, but as long as I keep choosing to risk instead of choosing what's safe and comfortable, I don't think I can truly be called a failure.

But no matter what else happens, I can still totally rock that super cute size four dress.

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