Patience, young Jedi…

yoda-as-we-knew-him-and-loved-himI have been told by many of my students (all adult learners) that I am one of the most patient people they have met.  And while I don’t know how much credit I give that, I can say I’m far more patient with others than I am myself.  I can show someone how to do something 50 times and not get upset.  I wish I was that way with myself.

Working with wood projects has taught me nothing if not a little patience.  For those who are not aware, just putting a good finish on a piece can take dozens of applications and sandings and drying.  It can takes weeks to, sometimes, months to get a good finish on a piece.  And everything from a puff of wind getting dust on the piece before it’s dry to humidity changes can totally screw things up.  And this is at what most people think is the “END” of the project.  To say that my finishing skills are less than artisan, would be an understatement.  But I’m getting better.  Not because of any measure of skill, but just because I am willing to wait more now than I have been in the past.

The same goes for any longer term goal I set.  I can wait.  It’s still hard.  But I can wait.

My fitness goals for this year are simple.  Lose weight.  Increase my fitness level.  Easy enough.

Yeah… right.

I have a substantial amount of weight to lose.  33 pounds as of my last weigh in.  And while some people can really drop weight fast, I have never been able to.  I put it on slow, and I take it off slower.  So when I set my goal weight of 165, I looked at my timeline realistically.  If I really cut back on eating and really increase my activity, I think 3 pounds a week is a realistic goal.  I also know that some weeks will just not go well and so I think if I cut that back to 2 pounds a week (but really TRY for 3), I can be successful.  So I did the math and at 3 pounds a week, I will need 11 more weeks.  Or 16 weeks if I lose 2 per week.  So either the end of March or the middle of May.

That seems like such a short time.  Especially if the weather gets warmer and the sun stays out longer, right?

But with any goal, you reach a point where you seem mired in it.  The excitement of the beginning is over but the end isn’t in sight yet.  It’s easy to lose focus or motivation.  I worry what will happen if I get on that scale and don’t see progress.  Will I give up?  Get angry?  Or will I be patient…  Two or three pounds a week gets slow, especially when you see others that are losing 5-10 pounds a week.  And I’m not in this for the “contest” part of it.  If we get to the end of our “biggest loser” contest and I am at or close to goal weight, I win.  The motivation did its job.  It got me out of my funk and got me going.

But it’s still hard to watch it putt along at 3 pounds per week.  You want to just say  “C’MON!!  I haven’t had a full meal in a month!!  What are you waiting for???”  But I know that’s not the right way to think.  I’m losing weight safely (except for the water and beer weight from week one) and I’m more likely to keep it off, which is the life long goal I’m hoping for.

I think ultimately I will know I have succeeded if, when the “Biggest Loser” competition rolls around next year, I can look at it and say “Nah.  I’m good.  I don’t need to lose any weight.”  Because THAT… will be a first.


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