Truth Byte # 26

Truth Byte # 26

I stepped on the scale the other day, and I had gained three pounds.  I thought back over the past few weeks and realized there have been a lot more restaurant lunches, ice-cream truck treats with the kids, and late-night dinners.  I remembered the afternoon snacks of chips and slurpee that the heat seemed to justify and the lazy laying around on the beach.  

My weight gain is a result of a series of small choices.

This time it was three pounds.  But I remember the day I woke up about twelve years ago and found myself 85 lbs. overweight.  Now, I know that didn’t just happen overnight, but it sure felt like it.  For years I had been making small, seemingly harmless choices of “extra creamy” ceaser salad or dessert with every dinner or sugar-filled soda on a regular basis or two eggs for breakfast instead of one, and suddenly, before I knew it, my body was extremely overweight.   

By medical definitions and acknowledging the plus size stores I had to shop in, I was actually considered obese.

And I really was shocked.

I didn’t know how it happened.  But at some point, I had to get honest about what I saw in the mirror.  Hitting size 18 was my wake-up call, and my family and friends supported me in admitting my issue and getting the help I needed to get back on the road to health.  

I stopped pretending I truly believed that “big is beautiful”, and started looking for role-models who weren’t pretending that 85 lbs of extra fat in and around my vital organs was going to help me be happier or live longer.  

Since then, I have been on and off diets, tried all kinds of exercise regimes, and even bordered on anorexia.  The fight to keep the weight off has been an ongoing battle.  And I call it a battle on purpose.  I let my guard down for a week or two, and suddenly I am up three pounds.  

So I have to be vigilant.  

Where others can enjoy a yummy treat or two, I have to think a thousand times about if it’s worth it.  While others throw on shorts and a tank top to hang out at the beach, all I see is my cellulite bumps.  While other kids and their parents laugh and run and play, I have to pace myself because I am still building my stamina.  

It is a battle, and one that I fight every day.

Why am I telling you this?  It’s definitely not so you can feel sorry for me.  I would hate that.  It’s because I want to be honest about choices.  

It’s not easy to make good choices on a regular basis and for the rest of your life.  

Whether those choices are about diet and exercise, the quality of your relationships, or the kind of work you want to be earning a living at, making choices that are good for you on a regular basis is hard.  I want you to know that I get that. 

I live that.

On the other hand, it has also made me hyper-accountable.  If I have gained three pounds, it’s no one else’s fault.  It was my choice to miss my workout or eat that brownie or take the car instead of walking.  

It was my choice.

Today, I challenge you get honest with yourself about the choices you are making.  I know it can feel sometimes that life is happening to you, rather than for you.  I know it can feel like you are stuck at some yucky point in your life and it’s other people’s fault that you are there.  I could have easily blamed a health condition, a pregnancy, a busy schedule or a hundred other things for my fatness.  And for years I did.  

And then one day I had to just say “enough”.

What is it that you are tried of putting up with in your life? Is it time to make different choices about your health, your career, or your relationships? How regular are you with your spiritual practices? Are you making the small, deliberate choices you know you will have to make to have the life that you want? Or are you waiting around for something to change without actually eating vegetables and going for a walk?

Today could be the day that you choose to make one small and meaningful choice to have the life you dream of having.  Make another choice tomorrow and another the next day.  And soon those choices will add up.  Instead of 3 extra pounds, you may have lots of extra and unexpected happiness.

It’s your life, and no one else can live it for you.

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira (she/her) provides mental health support through individual counselling, groups, immersive workshops/courses, and free educational content. Over the last 14 years, we have helped men and women of many backgrounds find answers to their questions about work, life, love, and meaning. Much mainstream psychology overlooks spirituality, family values, and community context, so we have decided to specialize in serving clients who are ready for change and also want to include their cultural values and spiritual beliefs into therapy.

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