Are you diver or a toe dipper? When getting into a pool, do you dip your toe in to test the temperature and then ease your body into the cool water slowly? Or do you dive in head first knowing only that it’s deep enough for a safe dive? I tend to be someone in between. I don’t like diving. But I also don’t like putting off the inevitable and will dunk my head underwater as soon as I am able to after easing myself down the ladder into the pool. But sometimes in life, I find that I’m more of a diver than a toe dipper. What about you?
The problem with diving in is that sometimes you don’t know all the ramifications, consequences, or effects of what you’re diving into. Several years ago, I had decided to do laps in our local pool while my kids swam with their friends. This pool was in our local high school. The pool was divided into sections so the kids could splash in one part while a couple of lanes were left for those who wanted to do laps. I always considered myself a fairly strong swimmer. But it had been years since I’d swam a full lap in a pool. I jumped in and started down the lane doing my best freestyle stroke. About halfway, I knew that I’d bit off more than I could chew. I looked to the side of the pool to see the young lifeguard watching me intently. Obviously, I didn’t look like a world class swimmer but a drowning middle-aged woman. I decided to never do another lap in a pool.
When I started this Year of Me, I thought I had tested the waters. I researched eating plans, set up spreadsheets and made plans. It was the most planning I’d ever put into a new way of eating. On January 1, I dove into the pool of self-care without looking back confident I could do this. I knew there were going to be challenges but I was determined I would succeed. After six weeks, the sprint is over. The hard work is has begun.
When a pebble is thrown into the water it causes a ripple to start in the water. The ring starts small and moves outward rippling the water as it goes. Because of past experience, I have seen how being disciplined in one are of my life helps being disciplined in other areas. During this time of eliminating certain types of food I have become obsessed with the need to to eliminate unneeded clutter in my home. I’ve begun researching minimalist design and have donated or given away many things I no longer need. Some of the ripples lead to positive changes and others disrupt the routine.
Changing the Steps
The ripples go out and affect many areas of my life even my relationships. Food was how I showed love to myself and it’s also how I showed love to others specifically my family. It has been a tough week trying to figure out what to feed my adult children when they visit. We got together on Saturday for a game day. I agonized over the food or lack of it worrying that they would not want to come over if I didn’t fix some of their favorites. Changing how I view food changes the dance we have danced for many years. There is anxiety that when I stop my dosey to their doe that the dance will change and the relationship will be damaged.
Not so Instant Gratification
We live in a world of instant gratification. We have to wait for very little. When I was a kid, my brother and I wanted to buy the banana trees advertised on television. We sent our money in and then we had to wait. The ad promised delivery in 4-6 weeks. Today we lament if our Prime delivery takes 3 days rather than 2 or if we can’t get next day delivery. We don’t wait well.
I knew that this endeavor would be for the long haul. I have shared previously that weight loss isn’t my goal but good health is. Good health is hard to measure. The weight continues to come off but I’m still disappointed when I get on the scale and it’s not down. And in all honestly, it has been a rough week. For the first time, I felt the pain of denying myself the comfort of food. Tears came as I sat in my car after driving home from work one day. I wanted to go in the house and eat tortilla chips with melted cheese or popcorn. I wanted to experience the pleasure of eating a food that would take away the pain of the day. I knew I couldn’t and it made me sad.
I have barely left the side of the pool and yet, I feel myself at risk of drowning. It is a moment by moment endeavor. In the past, I would often give up at this point in a new diet. But I will continue maybe a little slower but none the less determined to see it through. This time I won’t give up but rather continue to focus on the task before me. I might question my decision to dive in but I do not regret it. And I know better of the difficulties that lie ahead.
Are you a toe dipper or a diver? Or maybe like me you’re a bit of both? Are you contemplating a big change or looking to make a healthy choice? My advice? Come on in, the water’s fine, maybe. But the plunge is always worth it.