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What Is Your Constant


Through no circumstances of my own creation, I have won the genetic lottery when it comes to weight. Nevertheless, there are times in my life when I feel like my clothes don’t fit like I want them to. In fact, a couple of months ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who was lamenting about her weight. I think she looks great. I lamented about my weight. She said I look great. Looking great and feeling great are not always the same.

Upon reflection, I decided I’d had enough and I would do something. I’ve tried Weight Watchers in the past, and though I think it can work, I didn’t want to have to go to meetings. I didn’t want to start a food-restrictive diet like keto or paleo because, quite frankly, I really like carbs and I know that I would not be able to maintain a no/low-carb lifestyle. I decided I would look into a diet program I’d seen commercials for (which I’m intentionally not naming). In the commercials, the clients said it was more than just a change in what they ate, it was a change in the mindset related to eating. I’m definitely a thinker and someone who is interested in learning more about why we do what we do (or more specifically, why I do what I do), so I completed the very thorough questionnaire about my preferences, lifestyle, etc. Fifteen to twenty minutes later, I was told that I would hit my goal weight (a loss of nine pounds) by the end of May. Since it was early-April, that seemed reasonable and I willingly paid the fee for a two-month starter subscription since I’d be at my goal weight before I’d be up for renewal.

The funny thing was that I was asked what my starting weight was but hadn’t stepped on the scale in a while (due to avoidance). However, the app wants the clients to weigh themselves daily. So, on Day 2, I stepped on the scale and saw that I had three pounds to lose before I got to the weight I thought I was. Ugh. Well, at least I was validated regarding why my clothes were tight.

While I did lose about a pound a week (give or take) in the first three weeks, for the next two weeks, despite following the plan (which more or less is nothing more than calorie counting and food logging), I plateaued. Each day I read the daily lessons, took the quizzes when there were quizzes, committed to “believing” that this would work, eating within my calorie allowance, drinking more water than I have ever done in my life, I’d step on the scale and I still was at the weight I thought I was when I took the initial questionnaire. What’s more, the graph that was created to track my progress kept showing my goal weight as a constant, but the date at which I was slated to achieve the goal just kept getting further and further away.

With the app, you’re given a “coach” as part of the subscription so you can reach out with questions or to get support. Six weeks into my journey, I texted the coach to express my discouragement. While the coach tried to cheer me up by telling me things like, “we understand that it can be discouraging to not see the progress you’d hope to see by this point. .. remember to be kind to yourself and patient with the process as much as you can…weight loss tends to be slower once you’re already in your healthy weight range.”

Here’s the thing, while I appreciated the empathy and science, what I was looking for was a suggestion on something different to do than I was doing. I wrote to the coach, “I understand what you’re saying. My issue is that when I signed up, there was a calendar with a goal and a date I would achieve it. The date keeps moving the finish line but if I keep doing what I’m doing and expecting a different result, that’s the definition of insanity.”

Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is something we do all of the time in other areas of our lives. We think, “My kid didn’t clean his room so I’m going to talk to/yell at/threaten him about this,” as though we haven’t done that before or as though this time it will work. We get frustrated when our spouse, again, left the dishes in the sink even though we’ve talked/fought about this a dozen times already and it still hasn’t changed. The other thing, though, that hasn’t changed is the approach to the situation.

Many people are motivated to act based on creating a goal. Yet, there are times when, despite setting a goal, we do not hit it, and become resigned to the idea the goal is out of reach. We passively consent to settle for the goal to be achieved at some hypothetical future date. In so doing, while we pretend the goal is the constant and time is the variable (since we’re still striving for the goal), the reality is that when the progress toward the goal stagnates, the goal is often abandoned.

With my weight, I knew that the process of eating better, reducing my calorie intake, and having a food log to track what I was eating was working. The challenge was that I appeared to be eating the right number of calories to maintain my weight. I started looking for apps that would do what worked but perhaps might have something slightly different from the one I was using. In fact, I found a free one. When I entered my current weight (which was accurate this time), and my goal weight, just like my old app, I saw a graph showing today’s date and the date at which I would hit my target. However, unlike my odd app, I noticed the new app limited my calorie intake by about 200 calories per day. This difference is a fair amount given the calories someone my size is allotted. That said, there were many days with my old app that I would eat more than I would have based on my hunger because I was trying to reach my daily calorie target. Well, in my nearly two weeks of using the new app, I’ve lost nearly 2 pounds. If I wanted my goal to be the constant, then my actions needed to be the variable.

It remains to be seen if I will hit my goal weight and how long it will take me to get there, but I am committed to not being satisfied with the advice to, “be patient and keep it up.” After all, even the Dalai Lama said, “Change only takes place through action, not through meditation and prayer.” With that, I wonder, what in your life would like to change and what actions can you take to initiate the change and maintain momentum to get there?


P.S. I am in the process of finishing Phase 3 (you read the right) of home remodeling that has been going on since 2021. I am SO excited because this is the last project and it’s the one I’ve been waiting for (because I am getting a home office out of this phase). My Catch of the Week are tradespeople who are incredibly talented and skilled in ways that so many of us are not. I specifically want to highlight Chuck and Sam Gioeli the father and son team from Samson Home Repair and Maintenance (my general contractors) as well as Matthew and Mirand McCauley, the brother and sister team from M&M Granite (who have installed my tile and countertops)

All of us rely on carpenters, electricians, tile layers, plumbers, landscapers, HVAC professionals, mechanics, and on and on. Tradespeople are so often not just overlooked but looked down upon, and yet this work is vital to the success of all of us. While I might be able to knock down a wall, I certainly cannot build one. Please remember to thank the tradespeople in your life for their work and encourage your children and friends to consider entering these vital professions.

P.P.S. Please remember to...

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