Project Louise: Entering The Home Stretch, Time To Press ‘Pause’

pause button

(Maximilian Schonherr via Wikimedia Commons)

Is it just me, or do we never really outgrow that “back to school” feeling? As a new school year looms for my kids, I find myself similarly anticipating a return to seriousness, a settling down, an evaluation of past progress and a recommitment to getting things done.

Plus, we are now entering the final third of Project Louise – and that has me feeling like I’ve got a lot to do in a very short time! Yes, I work best under pressure; yes, nothing motivates me like a deadline; and yes, I tend to put things off until I really don’t have any choice but to do them. But I confess I’m feeling a bit anxious that I have not lost as much weight as I wanted to by now, and that I am going to have a really hard time hitting my end-of-year goal without some kind of drastic action.

But hold on a minute. The one thing I’ve learned this year is that making permanent change is not about drastic action. It’s about nudging, guiding, steering yourself gradually from one course to another – a gentle gliding curve, not a hard yank of the wheel. So, before anyone gets crazy here, let’s take a deep breath.

(That’s another thing I’ve learned. Breathing is good.)

So. Where are we on this path, and where do we need to go? I say “we” deliberately because I’ve already figured out one thing I want to focus more on in the home stretch: I’d really like to know what you’d like to know. What kind of advice and support do you need in order to reach your own health goals?

Over the past months, we’ve explored a bit about diet, a bit about various kinds of exercise from power yoga to cycling, and a fair amount about personal change. But what’s missing from the picture for you? What kind of experts would you like to hear from, and what would you like to learn?

Here’s one idea to get you started. Next week I’ll be talking with an internist who studies the many effects of stress on our health, and I’m hoping to get some good tips on how to manage stress more effectively. If there’s anything you’d like me to ask her, let me know.

I’m also planning to get in touch with a sleep expert, since it’s increasingly clear to me that I won’t really get anywhere with an exercise program until I figure out how to get enough good sleep at the right hours. (It’s hard to hit the treadmill at dawn when you can’t close your eyes before midnight.)

And I’ll be continuing my efforts, with or without that sleep expert, to get my exercise done at the start of the day. In the past month, I have held to my commitment of doing some form of exercise every day, but I’ll tell you – the days when I do it first thing are far, far easier than the days when I don’t. So I’ll be looking for advice on how to make that happen more consistently.

And, finally, I’ll keep talking with my coach, Allison Rimm, about the larger goals and longer-term strategy that are really the heart of Project Louise. When I checked in with Allison last week, I was despairing a bit about the needle on the scale and its stubborn refusal to move downward lately. But Allison, rather than getting out the whip, gently pointed out all the changes that I have made so far. She noted that I’m not beating myself up nearly as much as I used to, that I’m making consistent efforts to take better care of myself, and that I’m even showing some signs of meeting that one big original goal: to trust, love and respect myself.

That may not be getting me into smaller jeans. But I have to believe it’s more important in the long run.

And I also have to believe, as I pause to take a deep breath before launching into the home stretch, that it will get me to those jeans someday soon.

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