Thursday, October 15, 2009
My annual physical having been a couple of months back, I had been in to see her for something else, which I can't recall at the moment. The point is that, during both visits--and of course in previous physicals--I'd given a blood sample. Now I get a call from the doctor asking me to come in for a follow-up visit. I was a bit concerned because I'm the one who is suppose to initiate an office call, not my doctor. Of course I went through a bit of the normal, "Uh-Oh--maybe I have cancer of some other terrible disease" thought process but, but beside that I was not too worried really. More curious than anything.
What she wanted to talk to me about, I discovered, was my blood sugar levels. She had been looking over my my chart and had noticed a steady incline. This climb in my blood sugar levels was in the pre-diabetic range she explained. My first thought was, "You mean you actually read my chart and take note of trends?" I was impressed that some professional--any professional--actually did what we all assume they should do. [You know, like auto mechanics telling you the truth and lawyers billing you accurately] Anyway, after the good feeling of being looked after, I had to face the bad feeling that what she was telling me might have somehow have some unpleasant ramifications for my lifestyle. I was right about that!
Our conversation went something like this:
Doctor: Mr. Randall, at this rate you will be on insulin by this time next year. For now I want you to begin taking Metformin to get your levels down, and I want you to begin taking your blood-sugar levels daily. These are a start, but they don't really address the fundamental issue.
Me: Oh, I see. You mean I need to change my diet to include fewer sweet things?
Doctor: No. That might help a bit, but it's your weight that is the main factor here. As of today you weigh 243 pounds and that is a several more that last time you were in to see me.
Me: You're right doctor, I know I need to but I just can't seem to find the time in my schedule. I'll try though.
Doctor: You have been telling me that for several years--but it is not happening. I'm just telling you that now you are facing some serious health consequences in the years ahead if you don't get a handle on this.
Me: Do you think I could get off the Metformin and the finger pricking if I lost some weight?
Doctor: Theoretically, yes, you could. But to do that you'd have to lose much more than just "some"--you'd have to lose a lot of weight. And frankly you don't seem capable of getting motivated to do so.
This last statement of hers really stung--because it was so true. She was absolutely right. Although I inwardly bemoaned my weight on a daily--sometimes hourly--basis, I seemed to myself to be completely incapable of getting motivated enough to do the simple but difficult thing [ELEM!] it takes to lose weight. Oh, I could come to a decision on New Year's Eve of on my birthday or some other time to "cut back" or "eat more sensibly" or "eat a healthier diet" but even those very modest efforts would only last a day our two--often only hours! Sometimes only until the next meal.
I've been round and round in my mind exploring the causes and reasons I eat like I do, or, I should say, like I did--but I really don't think there is much help in going there. I knew that food was a great comfort and solace for me and that I used it as a substitute for all kinds of psychological things I should have sought by other means, but that understanding in itself never helped me much when it came to getting motivated to lose weight.
I left the doctor's office feeling like a failure--again. I also felt like my doctor was exasperated with me and my prom ices over the years to do something about my weight. She was right--I'd just been putting it off and putting it off and had not been getting serious about doing something about my weight.
As I walked out of the building and down the sidewalk on Fourth Avenue, a small but essential thought rose in my mind. It was my voice speaking to my reluctant self. It simply said, "It is time. I cannot put this off any longer. I have to find a way to do this."
Please reread the last three sentences. This was a critical turning point. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew I could not put it off any longer. I knew I would not do it with any fad diet. I knew I had to face the reality of E-L-E-M...
In the next post I will go back in time and tell you something I did about 6 months before this which helped to set the stage for this turning point. And, although this "something" I am going to tell you about was followed by 6 months of failure, nonetheless it was, I have come to see, a very important key to unlock the mystery of motivation.
For now, meditate on accepting that the putting this off must soon come to an end. Go ahead and panic if you like. Let you face-stuffing inner-child throw a tantrum if she likes. You will soon be sitting her on a stool in the corner
Meditate also on these three phrases, for they form the mental basis of all that is to follow in the months ahead:
I must. I can. I will. This may sound like pop psychology, but it is not. It is ELEM-reality therapy! You must consider each statement by itself and accept its implications: I must do this. Not just "I should do this", but "I must do this. Sit with that a while.
I can do this. This is essential. Drop all the "But it's so hard" and "I know I should" inner dialogue. D-r-o-p it! You can do this! Yes, it will be difficult, but no matter--it must be done and you can do it! You know you can. You have just been too lazy or too afraid to tackle it. Well, just get over it because you know deep down inside that you really can do it. You've just been putting it off. Not for much longer though.
I will do it. Perhaps you are not quite there yet. That's OK. It's OK because you going get there soon. How do I know? Because you are going to go over and over the previous two statements until you are all the way there. You are going to accept "I must" and "I can" so completely that you will have no where else to go but to "I will do this".
I love You two women like sisters. I will be praying for you as God ushers you into and shepherds you through the changes ahead. Remember, God can do abundantly above all we can ask or imagine--through Christ Jesus our Lord!