How do you keep a marriage going for 39 years, especially when you’ve been building your house for 32 of them and it’s still not done? How does a novelist crank out a 90,000-word work of fiction when the muse goes AWOL? How do you keep despair at bay when you have to lose 70 pounds?
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Which takes patience, and I’m not a patient person by nature. My late mother-in-law once gave me a refrigerator magnet that read, “Lord, I want patience—and I want it now!” Yep. That was me, but God has given me countless opportunities over the decades to learn.
I need that learned patience more than ever, now that I’ve got 70 pounds to lose. But I’ve discovered a secret to nurturing the patience I need: keeping myself motivated.
Reading something every day that deals with exercise, weight loss, eating right, or health keeps my enthusiasm stoked.
I began a health journal in which I record my feelings, my progress or lack of progress, and quotes from my reading, such as “Stick to the plan and don’t try to rush things” and “Take things at a reasonable pace and set small goals” (Leslie Sansone, Walk Away the Pounds).
I tried to rush things on Day 4. I walked two miles instead of one, drank a cup of herbal tea designed to detoxify the body, and soaked for a half hour in a detoxifying Epsom-salt bubble bath. Too much too soon. I was tired for three days and skipped walking for two. I won’t do that again!
I put up motivators throughout the house. For every five pounds I lose, I paste a small picture of a five-pound bag of sugar on a sheet of cardstock on the refrigerator. A sign on the entertainment center reminds me to “STICK TO THE PLAN.” And hanging on the door of my bedroom closet is one of my “pretty” dresses in a size 16—that’s 16 regular, not 16 W (wide).
We live in an instant world that makes it all too easy to quit when the going gets difficult. Waiting or working doggedly toward a distant goal takes determination seasoned with a generous amount of patience. But I’ve learned patience can be cultivated. Like a seed pushed into the ground in the spring, then nurtured with rain and strengthened in storms as it grows, patience is a fruit of the Spirit that develops when we submit to the lessons God sends us.
When the numbers on the scale aren’t what I want them to be, when I’m tempted to cheat or quit, remind me, Lord, to stick to the plan, keep my eyes fixed on the goal, and leave the results with You—not only with this weight loss program, but in everything I do. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Hebrews 10:35-36; 12:1-3