Friday, February 26, 2010

The Importance Of Don’t

When I was a senior in high school, I became friends with some Swedish exchange students – Per, Henrik, Charlotta and the guy who asked me to prom, but I said no because I wanted to go with Per, but he didn’t ask and so I went to the drive-in with my girlfriends instead. What was his name? That’s going to make me nuts today.

Anyway, it was a Friday night and we were all going out. I thought I was supposed to pick up Per at his host family’s house. I arrived, knocked on the door, and heard, “Come in!” I walked in to find his host parents engaged in *ahem* full-on amorous activity.

I didn’t hear “don’t.” They had yelled, “DON’T come in.”

Oops.

Claire uses the word “don’t” a lot, particularly when talking to (well, yelling at) her baby brother. “Don’t play with that, Luca Man!” “Don’t touch my blankie!” “Don’t look at me!” Don’t, that that context, is such a negative Nelly word. But when used in its cautionary and instructive context, it’s one of the more important words in our vocabulary.

Here are three “don’ts” I’m striving to live by:

1. Don’t stray from the moment

I have a bad habit of wishing time away, especially when I’m on the elliptical or hungry and waiting for the microwave to heat up my food or waiting for an auction to end on eBay.

I was really bad about it when I was losing weight. I made a spreadsheet predicting where my weight “should” be weeks and months in the future based on my average pounds lost per week. Every week I couldn’t wait to get to the next week. Every month I couldn’t wait to get to the next month. In the future I’d be smaller and I was convinced smaller was better. All living in the future did, though, was waste a lot of moments that I’ll never get back. Moments when I could have really gotten to know (and more importantly, APPRECIATE) myself at each weight.

I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this since making goal, and while I certainly have come to appreciate the person I was at 300, I wish I’d – in the moment – appreciated who I was at 265, 209, 172, etc. My impatience gets me nowhere. A minute will pass whether I’m impatient or serene. Ergo, don’t stray from the moment.

2. Don’t take your body for granted

Jon Kabat-Zinn once said (and I’m paraphrasing): If you’re breathing, you have everything going for you. Our bodies are pretty amazing, at any size or fitness. But I often fall into the mind trap of lamenting what my body can’t do rather than what it can. Or, when it can do something, not remembering there will be consequences if I overdo it. And when do I overdo? Either when I’m attempting to show off (the gym is really bad for that) or when I conveniently forget I have limitations. (Arthritis? What arthritis?)

This “don’t” reminds me of a lovely song by Toad the Wet Sprocket called “I Will Not Take These Things For Granted.”

I’m listening
Music in the bedroom
Laughter in the hall
Dive into the ocean
Singing by the fire
Running through the forest
And standing in the wind
In rolling canyons


I will not take these things for granted



3. Don’t offer unconstructive criticism and don’t wait until tomorrow to make things right if I fail at Don’t 1 and Don’t 2.

I’m the queen of self-flagellation, although I have come a long way and am much more mindful when I’m being a total bitch to myself. (So manybe I'm no longer the "queen" but a maidservant...LOL) I don’t treat myself half as badly as I used to. That’s a HUGE step forward for me.

I need “don’t” in my life. Don’t keeps me on the straight and narrow. And, if heard and paid attention to, can prevent me (and amorous couples) from a whole lot of embarrassment, too!

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FYI: Lynn’s Weigh is on Facebook! If you’d like to join our group, click here and become a “fan.” Every day I post a question or topic that we chat about throughout the day, and readers post questions to me and other readers, too. It’s a fun way to stay in touch.

Also, check out my latest blog on Refuse to Regain, “No, thank you. I stay here.” I’ll mark my 3-year maintenance anniversary in a few weeks and I reflected on how maintenance changes year to year. Would love to hear your feedback!

10 comments:

  1. One of my "don'ts" is Don't forget to read Lynn's blog! LOL OK, not my most important "don't" but still one I think of. One of my favorite "don'ts" is "Don't forget to count my blessings." I have many in my life and I sometimes fail to remember them.

    Margie M. writes at:
    www.myhealthylivingthruweightcontrol.blogspot.com

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  2. "Don’t take your body for granted "

    So, so important. When I think of the heaps of abuse I put on my poor body over these years and it rarely complained (lucky for me). I thank my legs every day now for sticking with me and being strong and allowing me to walk, run, sit, and just *be*. I am so very fortunate.

    I am a fan now on facebook! What's the difference between a fan and a friend (facebook noob, here).

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  3. Number one is dead on. I too wrestle with this issue.

    OMG- a Toad fan. Well, you and I have officially connected. Well, I guess it would be official if you went to my blog. I will be back every day. I enjoy your stuff!!

    Rob
    www.weighdownsouth.com

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  4. I don't know about the don'ts, but I do know I loved your intro to this post!

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  5. Wonderful don'ts! What, I have to stop offering myself unconstructive criticism?!? I keep trying to tell myself that if I wouldn't say it to my kids, I shouldn't say it to myself.

    P.S. I am so embarrassed for you about walking in on that couple!!!

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  6. That was a lovely song, Lynn. I have never heard of that guy. And I like your list of don'ts, and the way Claire uses don't made me chuckle.

    I have been resisting facebook, but I guess I'll have to check you out!

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  7. Hi there, I was just wondering if you were aware that this site is reproducing all your posts: http://www.healthfitnesssupport.com/the-importance-of-don't

    I've only just discovered that they've been doing it with mine over the last 4 months, I'm furious but there's no way of contacting the site owner and they're ignoring the comment I'm leaving on 'my' posts.

    I'm not sure about your case, but the person(s) running this site haven't asked for my permission to reproduce my words, thoughts, pictures and experiences on their site and they certainly haven't cited me as being the author and rightful owner of them.

    This site is ad-driven, it's littered with them, so basically the posts they're stealing from us are being used to line their pockets.

    :-(

    Just thought you had a right to know.

    Tara

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  8. Hi, Tara. Thank you for the heads up. I know I'd seen them do it before, but I hadn't checked back. Ugh. I hate that kind of thing! I know some bloggers will say to put your full name in a byline, but who's to say they won't just erase it and use the blog anyway? Sooo frustrating.

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  9. I love this post because I am trying to get better about staying in the moment. It is hard though. Sometimes I think there is such a fine line between staying in the moment and dreaming and reaching toward my goal. I need a balance of focusing on that goal to keep going in my moment.

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