Instant gratification and weight loss

Fork in the roadWe define instant gratification as wanting what we want and wanting it now. It’s true for us in every aspect of our lives and weight loss is no different, even though I want to wave a wand and have the weight suddenly be gone, or at least a large chunk of it.

Mail used to be written by hand or typed out and then dropped in a mailbox to go to a post office, through all kinds of conveyor belts and sorting systems, traveling in trucks and planes and finally carried by hand and dropped in our mailboxes. Now I rarely get mail that way; it mostly comes electronically in an inbox and sent flying through the ether as soon as the Enter key is pressed. Sometimes the sender arrives at my office door and asks me a question about the message before I have even had a chance to realize it was there, much less think about or respond to it.

We have microwaves to cook our food faster and computers to communicate more quickly (can you say “Instant Messenger”?) . There are remote controls to change the TV channels so fast we can’t even register what we’re seeing (at least when my father does the clicking). We drive instead of walk places, send digital pictures instead of waiting for film to be developed and then copies mailed, and have medical tests that give results while we wait.

But there are some things we need to be willing to have patience about: Relationships take time to nurture. Education, learning a skill or earning a degree, takes years. Raising children. Weight loss is one of these things.

There is a danger with rapid weight loss. It is physically dangerous to average more than two pounds a week after an initial 2-3 week period on a weight loss plan such as Weight Watchers – or anything else. Losing so quickly puts you more at risk for heart irregularities and may not provide all the nutrients the body needs. Gallstones may develop (not me, I don’t have a gallbladder) or anemia.

No matter how instant I want my weight loss to be, it’s not going to happen that way, and it’s a good thing. Just waving a wand and changing my body won’t change all the internal stuff that made me eat and pile on the layers in the first place. That takes time to work through and it happens gradually, while the body is changing.

But how do I get there? By looking for and taking forks in the road. They aren’t necessarily big huge detours or big Y separations that mark movement in opposite directions. Sometimes the fork just looks like a little veering off to a path that looks very familiar and maybe runs alongside the one we’re already one. On the weight loss journey, I picture a giant kitchen fork with tines sticking up out of the ground at the place where the paths start to separate.

Decisions to change to a different path aren’t always going to be accompanied by bells and whistles and flashing lights; sometimes they are just the choice to add one more day a week to a gym routine until that becomes the routine. It takes repetition to change a habit, but adding new things then becomes routine. Embrace the change and keep moving; that will make the difference.

“The fork in the road is our chance to make decisions, to make changes, to experiment with new possibilities.” ~