Today I start my new journey, one that has been waiting in the wings for many years. I first wrote the Grounding Guidelines that Take the Easy Path is built on over five years ago.
At a sedentary 325 pounds, my annual physical showed my blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure all way over target. I realized my previous efforts to get healthy weren’t enough. It was time for serious change.
But I was definitely, definitely NOT doing another diet of cramming denial and shame down my throat until I hit some number on a scale. I was tired of obsessing about food, only to watch the weight return again and again, bringing with it more guilt and shame.
Because we’re taught that it has to be hard, struggle is expected, (no pain no gain, right?), and you be happy until you’re reached your goal. And not even then because what if you gain the weight back? Spoilers, research in recent years show that 90% of dieters gain the weight back. There’s a reason there’s no reunion shows for The Biggest Loser.
So if I stepped out of the diet culture paradigm, what does that look like? How do I get healthy when I know diets don’t work?
Twenty-five years as a software development manager including countless system upgrades kicked in and I thought, “What if the system I need to redesign is me?” I decided to give myself a reboot and an upgrade. I wondered if I could make it fun.
I decided to get healthy in a slow, steady, effective, for-the-rest-of-my-life kind of way. Starting with evaluating my previous diets and exercise attempts, I broke down what worked, what did not work, and most importantly, why it did or did not last. The result is 10 Grounding Guidelines, which became talismans throughout my days, touchstones to reach out to when my path towards health hit the inevitable stumbling blocks.
After my first 100 days, I saw big improvements. My numbers were coming down. I was eating better and had more energy as I incorporated new healthy behaviors. I was happier because my inner critic was no longer policing my every move.
After a year, my blood sugar dropped 100 points, blood pressure dropped 40 points, and I’d lost 60 pounds. I’ve kept the initial 60 off, and have even lost more, if my loose ‘skinny’ jeans are any indication.
All of this was done without medication, without surgery, without beating myself up, without guilt, without stress, without feelings of lack or anger—and without a scale. My doctor called me her greatest success story.
The people around me took notice. I had more energy and was happier. “What is your secret?” As I shared my Grounding Guidelines, the responses were engaged. “No Comparisons” brought tears to the eyes of a friend struggling with self acceptance. “No Shaming” gave several people pause as I talked about how I no longer beat myself up when I missed a workout or went on a cookie dough bender. Friends looked confused, then nodded when I told them about “I Decide that Today is a Good Day,”
and perplexed when I said “If You’re Not Having Fun, You’re Not Doing it Right.”
They started asking for their own copies of the Guidelines. I started giving talks. I wrote an essay called Take the Easy Path published in Chicken Soup of the Soul: Be You on 4/6/21 (That’s today, as I write this).
My mission is to make it easier for people to get and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To share the secrets of my journey, how you can push past your own inner critic, and take your heart into a different place. How an inner shift creates outer change. And how you might be able to make it fun.
I am scheduling webinars and workshops to introduce people to the #GroundingGuidelines. My upcoming book: Take the Easy Path: 10 Grounding Guidelines for a Better You will be available for pre-order later this week.
Want to know more? Buy Chicken Soup of the Soul: Be You here.
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