Transforming Your Whole Life

If you are like me, you’re catching up on posts from the holiday weekend.¬† My Google Reader was pretty full this morning.

First I’d like to say hello to new readers who have stumbled onto my website looking to start their New Year’s Resolutions. Many people set a resolution to “lose weight,” “get fit,” “get healthy.” Those are all great goals for the new year and I hope the new readers check out my website for tips and ideas.

If you are a new reader, take a moment to read how I lost 110 pounds. My “Best Of” Page will also help you navigate the website. This is also a great post to help you catch up on how I’ve been maintaining my weight loss.

I recently finished reading¬†“I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago” by Hape Kerkeling.

The story is about 36 year old Hape–a pudgy couch potato who suffered from a lot of health problems–who decided to hike the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is a 500 mile route at the base of the Pyrenees to the shrine of St. James in Spain. The route is a sacred thing that Christian pilgrims have trekked for centuries.

There are nearly 40 stops along the way where Pilgrims can get their passport stamped at official hostels. His journey was really interesting to read. I’m not religious but I have always been fascinated by Pilgrimages of any religion. I was always interested in doing my own Pilgrimage or Vision Quest. Someday I will.

What I think is most interesting about this book is that he was ill-prepared for most of the things that happened on his pilgrimage. He started out on the path without enough water, quickly learned his lesson from that, and tried to walk too much in the beginning so that he got blisters and could barely walk for days. He had the wrong gear, the wrong boots…But in the end he conquered all of his fears and prejudices.

The book is pretty good. I think a bit is lost in translation (translated from German) but the gist is still the same: Self-Discovery. What struck me most was this statement:

“You have to expect a physical and emotional low here and there. Still, a pilgrimage has to be completed alone, or at least begun alone. Along the trail, I keep running into couples arguing loudly, or people who tell me they have separated from their partners on the Camino. Some people grouchily match their partner’s incompatible rhythms for miles until they brim over with resentment. In the end, nearly all pilgrims who are in it for the long haul walk alone. I virtually never see groups. Rhythm and pace are what separate more people on the trial. It is hard to find someone who dances to a similar beat. If you hike in a slow waltz, you can’t join up with a speedy flamenco pilgrim. The pilgrims’ walking styles reflect their feelings and thoughts and their very essence.” [pg.101]

This can apply to anything I believe. There are a lot of emotional and physical highs and lows with losing weight. It can be extremely discouraging to get stuck in plateaus. It can also be super uplifting to break out of those plateaus or reach a landmark in our journey!

If your Resolution was to lose weight in 2011, you’re probably currently in the “high.” You feel motivated, super enthusiastic, maybe you got new workout clothes or running shoes and you’re excited to try them out. Maybe you joined the local gym and forked over a lot of money to go. For the next month you’ll probably still have that “New Year’s Resolution Glow” about you.

Around February the glow might start to wear off. The idea of getting up early before work to hit the treadmill, or going in the evening when it’s dark and cold (and the gym is crowded) isn’t as appealing. My advice is this: STICK WITH IT.

Every year I see this happen. January 1st brings throngs of new people to the gym but by February or March the gym thins out and who remains? The committed regulars that work out as much as I do. It’s easy to get discouraged but don’t let that happen this year! 2011 can be the year you make a change in your life!

The book i’s also an observation on human relationships and how we deal with stress. How do you deal with stress? If you are in a relationship, how do you deal with it together? I don’t always deal with stress in positive ways. I used to eat in reaction to stress. I try not to anymore but there are slip-ups. Which leads me to the next quote. He makes this excellent observation:

“Actually I begin my pilgrimage anew each day. I don’t feel as though I’m on one continuous journey, but rather on a thousand short trips. Every day I have to fire myself up all over again. I’m convinced that the daily task of the pilgrim is this: Just be yourself, no more and no less!” [pg 102]

That really spoke to me because it’s a topic that can be related to just about anything in my life. Specifically, it applies to my weight loss journey. I had to decide every single day that I woke up that I was going to make GOOD choices. Each day is a different challenge, a different opportunity to make good or bad choices. Each day I have a choice if I want to live a healthy life, or slip back into my old ways.

I could beat myself up for overeating, indulging, slipping into old habits and eating too many treats…in fact I’ve beat myself up for those things more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve gotten better in this last year.

I realized somewhere along the line that I won’t gain back all my 100 pounds with one slip up! I do have anxiety once in awhile about gaining back my weight. I think that’s normal. But each day that goes by that I maintain shows me that I Can Do This.

My final thought: 3 weeks from now, 2 months from now, whenever you’re feeling like giving up on your New Year’s Resolution think about what you really want in life and KEEP TRYING!

Good Luck!

QUESTION: How are you going to transform your life?