Friday, September 24, 2010

Joy vs. Drudgery: Weight Loss and Hopping

Every time I see Claire lately, we have the same conversation:

Claire: Grammy, your boo boo all better?
Me: Almost.
Claire: You can hop wiff me?
Me: Not yet, honey. Soon.

Claire’s a hopper. And a jumper and a skipper and a runner and a tricylcer. But mostly she’s a hopper. It’s in her blood.
Mommy Cassie hopping
Auntie Carly hopping

I introduced Claire to hopscotch last year. I drew a great big hopscotch grid on the driveway, and while she didn’t understand the rules, the grid gave her hopping a focus. Now she hops up a curb, she hops down a curb. She hops over cracks in the sidewalk, hops up stairs, and hops from one brick to another on a cobblestone street. When we went camping in August, she found two logs she could hop between. In parking lots, she hops between the concrete parking guides.

We think of hopping as fundamentally easy, but if you watch a child hop, you’ll see much more than carefree fun. Hopping is serious business. In the year that she’s been hopping, Claire’s fallen enough times to know hopping requires her full attention. Before she hops, even if it’s a split second, she concentrates, calculates how much oomph she’ll need in regard to distance, and executes her move with precision.

A lot of people think of weight loss as fundamentally easy, too. The formula – eat less, move more – is simple enough, right? So why is it so damn hard to lose and even harder to keep it off?

I think it’s because we forget that weight loss and maintenance can be fun

Watching Claire hopping yesterday, I saw fun within her determination and concentration. She knows hopping takes a lot of energy, but she also elicits a great deal of joy from it, and it’s that joy that makes it worth all the effort.

In my last blog, I wrote about finding balance in how we lose weight, incorporating healthy eating into our everyday routine rather than viewing it as temporary, like it’s some kind of injury (see “Lynn’s ‘Balance Plan’”). In a comment, Ruth wrote: “…the reason for such high recidivism in 'dieting’…(is) the view that it is a restriction, not a choice.”

Weight loss – or any big change toward the positive we make in our lives – is tough, but it can be fun, too. Maybe not circus fun or theme park fun. But fun is knowing you won’t be so full that you’ll have heartburn every day. Fun is knowing your body is running more efficiently. Fun is dropping a pants size. Fun is learning to work parts of your body you’d ignored for years. Fun is waking up in the morning fresh, knowing any “falls” you might have had the day or week or month before are all in the past.

I can’t wait to hop with Claire again, to not be on the sidelines or on the outside looking in at total joy. The same was true with weight loss. Almost six years ago I got off the sidelines and allowed weight loss to become the joy I’d been looking in at for so many years.

So…how are you having fun with weight loss or maintenance?

16 comments:

Karla said...

I have read your blog for over a year now and I love it. Thank you for being out there in blog land for folks like me!! You helped me to get off my butt and get this thing done!!! only 10 more to go!!! then I will be in the maintenance portion of this journey. So many have said it is all hard, but I am telling you walking through the mall and knowing I can go into ANY clothes store and things fit for the first time in YEARS is such a joy and sense of freedom, it is wonderful!!!

Sharon said...

A very timely post for me this morning as yesterday, I started a new 100 Day Challenge and can truly say I am excited about it. I'm going to have fun and am although my goals are worded with what I will NOT do, my attitude is totally based on what I WILL do. You've encouraged me for today! Thanks!

Tish said...

I'm having a great time being the "me" I always envisioned on the inside. I'm still losing toward my goal, but now, when I catch a glimpse of myself reflected in a store window, I LIKE what I see. I recognize myself. That's great fun.

RedHead said...

Love this whole post! It's inspired my next blog post. I'm actually in the process of deciding to leave my gym and personal trainer and instead join a boxing club that is further away from my house, more expensive, but I AM IN LOVE WITH KICKBOXING and the workouts that come along with it. So in regards to making the weight loss process "Fun", it's persuaded me to join the boxing club. If I love it AND it's extreme exercise, I can't go wrong!

LN Dolls said...

"Almost six years ago I got off the sidelines and allowed weight loss to become the joy I’d been looking in at for so many years. "

LOVE this!! Allowing weight loss to become the joy. And bravo to little hopping Dynamo Claire!

bbubblyb said...

I loved this post and I really need to put this "joy of hopping" to the test with food. I feel like I've made the "hop" with exercise and find lots of joy in the things I can do physically now but I don't always find the joy in not eating what I want to or eating to comfort myself. I'm definitely going to give it some real concentration as Claire does her hopping *smile*. Thanks Lynn for always making me think.

Shelley said...

I think the fun started for me when I was able to physically move around better...and then, yes - jumping (rope, boxes), punching (bags) - all the things that I watched other people do, I was doing...fun!

debby said...

I have fun researching recipes, trying to make over old recipes so they are as healthy as possible, trying new taste combinations. Food is still FUN!

suzi said...

In my opinion, if you could manage to lose a pound per day, why don't do this every day??? Yeah, that's impossible - I know. I tried. What I did - Every pound I lost I was trying not to get it back. Keep it for few more days the same way. Then one more day of starving used to make me lose one more pound. So, I tryed to keep my weight the same for few days till I could do next step.
I live active life - cycling everywhere everyday in any weather, often I'vegot no time to sit down. I'm trying to eat healthy, forget fry-ups and take-away things. But this is not enough. I hate diets, hate starving, hate feeling hunger. I found other thing which I knew long time ago. We just need to eat healthy! Yeah, but what is healthy food?? My mom use to say, eat a lot of pasta, potatoes, vegetables - it's good for you. Is it?? IS IT? I found one video. It made me smile, cause I found the solution of my problem. Check this out! :) http://a9426g4rk4ar1l4ju6odyxewcy.hop.clickbank.net/
join my team! I've lost half stone in ome week!

Pubsgal said...

The whole "getting healthy" experience has been a lot more joyful than I expected...which is probably why I put it off for so long. Maybe not at first, but after the first few months - as the weight started going, and my health started improving, and I eased my way into running - it became a lot more fun. Having the blog community for inspiration and encouragement made a huge difference, too.

Loretta said...

You reminded me that I loved hopscotch when I was younger. I think I'll be jumping some time this weekend with my kids! Thanks :)

Susans Journey To Stay Fit said...

Thanks for reminding me there is joy in weight loss/maintence. I may not always enjoy "doing" my workouts but I always enjoy how I feel both phyiscally and mentally afterwards. Best of all I know my clothes are gonna fit from one season to the next:)

Babycakes said...

what a fun idea for kids (and adults!)
I know it's one of those classic school yard games, but you can sort of forget about them when you grow up.

Cammy said...

As strange as it sounds, hopping is one of my favorite exercises. Even if it's simply hopping up and down from a curb. It's fun, calorie burning, and makes me feel really, really young (putting aside the bouncing breast issue.) :)

Hope you're hopping again soon!

Melissa Fast said...

I needed this post today...I've been struggling like crazy and the scale is WAY up...couldn't figure out what was going on.

I've had tons of life changes - going back to work full time and the demands that brings, but it occurred to me as I read your post today, that I've been looking at it all as drudgery...thanks for reminding me why it is worth it.

Renee said...

So far I haven't looked at weight loss as "fun" but rather as loss - not just loss of the actual weight but the loss of something deeper within myself. I don't know what I'm holding onto. But I loved your post. I think I do need to think of it as something fun. Losing a size is definitely fun. Being able to do things I haven't been able to do in years will be fun.

Thank you for sharing your perspective and wisdom!