“Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Lewis Boese
I’ve written about the importance of focus and facts. The why and the how are essential to creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In future posts, I will write more on each.
Today, I want to briefly touch on the topic that brings it all together. Forgiveness is essential if you are going to succeed. There are too many distractions, temptations, stressors, and other factors which cause us to lose focus. You will stumble and make mistakes in this journey. You must be able to move on when this happens.
According to one dictionary, forgiveness is “to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)” Christian tradition talks about the importance of forgiving others who commit sins. The forgiveness allows you to move past the incident in which you were wronged. Forgiving others is essential to a healthy life.
But this post is not about forgiving others. Others didn’t force you to make unhealthy choices. You make the unhealthy choices. You make mistakes. You must learn to forgive yourself when you make the mistakes. Learn from your mistakes but don’t dwell. Learning to forgive yourself slows you to grow your future and move on.
This time of year is challenging. Between the temptation of Christmas parties and Christmas cookies, weight loss is hard. I remember this time last year. I had made good progress in my weight loss journey. Then came Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I deviated from my meal plan. I ate mostly foods that are not healthy. They tasted good but they weren’t healthy.
After Christmas, I stepped on the scale and was devastated. I had gained 8 pounds in a matter of a couple of days. At that moment, I could have given up and said it wasn’t worth it. Instead, I forgave myself for over indulging. I reminded myself that spending time with people that I love eating good food is a good thing. Further, Christmas only comes once a year (except on the Hallmark channel). Fix the problem and move on.
I recommitted to my journey and began anew. I focused on eating healthy again. I explored why such a significant weight gain occurred in such a short period of time. Most of the weight was retained water. I’ve learned that some foods, particularly prepackaged and restaurant foods, contain a lot of sodium. When I eat this kind of food, I quickly gain a large amount of weight. Also, cheese. Really good cheese.
I continued to drink my daily water, eat natural foods, and control my portions. The result was instant. Within a few days, the weight I had gained over Christmas was gone. And I was back on the path to a healthy life. It set me back a week but that’s okay. What is a week compared to a lifetime.
I had a similar experience a couple weekends ago. My wife and I went out of town to visit our son at college. We ate out, drank beer, and had a wonderful time. Yet, upon my return home I was discouraged when I stepped on the scale. But again, I forgave myself and committed to eating healthy again. Things were back to normal within a couple of days.
As you wind through the Christmas season, take moments to enjoy friends and family. Go ahead and eat that cookie. Just don’t eat three cookies. And, if you do eat three cookies, forgive yourself and move on. Your goal should be excellence not perfection.