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Dedication is Not Willpower

If this journey was up to willpower alone, I'd be 400 pounds by now! There were a bunch of things I tried to lose weight. I tried not eating, eating diet meals, shakes, fads, and I thought of vomiting it back up too.

I just don't have willpower.

Basically I am addict. I smoked too much, drank too much and ate too much. I couldn't fix any of that. I was lucky enough to enjoy sports until I was in college - then I switched to drugs and rock music.

Maybe that was just a generational thing. :)

I tried quitting all kinds of things I started. I just couldn't hold on for too long. And I am pretty strong-willed. In the end, I failed miserably. I always quit quitting.

Even prayer didn't seem to work.

So how did I get out of the willpower trap? I became dedicated. Willpower says I won't _______. Dedication says I will _______. I identified the things that I should be doing instead of concentrating on what I shouldn't be doing.

I stopped making excuses. I stopped giving myself permission to fail.

Instead of dieting I dedicated my efforts to changing my lifestyle. I changed my relationship to food, drink and even exercise. Dedication is a commitment to doing. Willpower is a frail attempt to fight off cravings.

David's Top 10 list of things he is dedicated to:
1: Portion Control - I got a food scale, smaller plates and food tubs.
2: Reading Labels - even though I don't log daily anymore (I did for 3 years), I read a lot.
3: Running - I run 3 days a week, sometimes 6. I do body weight strength training and stretch daily.
4: No Cheat Days - There are enough holidays and special occasions to make for some tough choices.
5: No Junk Food - I do not keep anything junky in the house. If I go for a special occasion or treat, it's out, and it's over and done with.
6: Organic/Whole Foods - I eat mostly fresh fruit and veggies, lean red meat, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy and do everything I can to stay away from food in a package. I still eat canned beans and an occasionally artichoke hearts and olives. Of course, low-fat dairy is still packaged.
7: Weigh In Weekly - No better ways to keep an eye on things.
8: Water - lots of water!
9: Bacon and Eggs - It's my favorite. A world without bacon is boring. So I eat nitrate free from grass fed pigs.  I would add that a lot of protein has been essential to my weight loss journey.
10: Regular Check Ups - it seems that the doc is a solid partner for my weight loss and that helps keep me on track.

I do log in here every day to see what everyone is up to. I used to be dedicated to it, but now it is one of my daily routines.

Have You Ever Asked Yourself?

I have had a rough couple of weeks. Three surgeries last week, a few hundred stitches and enough pain to eat 30 Vicodin in 1 sitting, I am trying to get my sea legs back.

Yesterday brought some more bad news on the cancer front.

Today I am just living my life. I am finding things to be happy about, planning future enjoyable events - hell, I am saving the max for my retirement and spending the rest.

Today I am going to try to make myself smile a little and enjoy weight loss at the same time.

- Can you fit into the same earrings you wore in high school?
- Is it all about diet, or am I predisposed to looking heavy?
- If I apply the cream, do I still have to run 10 miles a day to get it to work?
- Are your fitness goals to get down the to the weight you lied about on your driver's license?
- Would a pet head-cone help with portion control?
- If I hide the candy, will I find it?
- Is food retention a problem?
- Does being round count as being in shape?
- Does putting a crouton on you ice cream sundae instead of a cherry, make it a salad?
- If you lose count at 5000 calories, do you get to start over?
- If weight loss was like virginity, does that mean I'd never gain it back?
- If you were 10 feet tall, would the weight you are at be OK?
- Is your favorite exercise chewing?
- Am I good at exercising failure?
- Pizza is not a vegetable, wait, what?

OK - just some things which made me smile.

Finding Strength

Have you had a day where nothing seems to go right? Have you been awake late at night thinking about your failures? Have you gotten up early in the morning only to feel overwhelmed? I know I have.

So many of those days I got up with zero strength.

Feeling completely powerless happened a few times in life - well, quite a few times. Four years ago when I was getting serious about weight loss, I would lay in bed and feel like I would never accomplish anything. I was about 100 pounds overweight. In spite of how I felt, I lost about 60 pounds that first year. I had a lot of health issues ranging from congestive heart failure to a torn meniscus and a torn rotator cuff.

Being a beast was physically impossible.

Some days I would get up and feel like I would never recover from heart disease. The truth was it was unlikely that I would anyway. Every obstacle caused me the same sort of crises in confidence. You see, I never recovered from heart disease before; why would I think that I could? Back in the 80s I tried to be a rock star. I met a lot the famous musicians and was well connected. No matter how hard I tried, I never got a recording contract. My failures were not for lack of trying, but actual limitations.

I hate limitations!

Finding our limitations is actually a relief. Unless we try, we have no idea what we are capable of. There was a time when I didn't think I could run a 5K. But then I ran a 10K, a half marathon and have since completed 6 marathons - with a few more scheduled before years end.

The hard part is a daily dose of strength.

Most of you know that I did beat heart disease. I am off all my heart meds and I didn't need a heart transplant. Recently I have been battling cancer. A year after I had melanoma, the skin cancer showed up again. In between episodes, I got divorced and now I am moving again. Some days I'd get up and don't want to eat the right things.

I need strength.

Some days I don't have the strength to take care of myself as I should. This time I had three surgeries in one week. I would just start feeling OK, and then I was back under the knife. The pinch of local anesthesia. The pull of sutures. The smell of antiseptic. One hour past, two hours past, three hours past, four hours past...

I was beyond my own strength.

It's been almost 2 weeks. I have endured a lot. I am feeling better. I will have my sutures out tomorrow. I just don't seem to be able to find the strength I need for everything else. My MFP community reminds and inspires me to be vigilant. I belong to an online cancer support group. I am reminded that it could be a lot worse.

So I am living today like it's my last. I am saving for retirement and spending the rest. I am still very aware of what I eat. When I can run, I run.

Running gives me strength.
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