For a very long time I went through life with blinders on, not seeing how bad my weight had gotten, not seeing I was eating too much and especially too much junk. It is a very easy habit to get into. In our front yard we have a couple of bird feeders with suet blocks in them, which have become the favourite snack of neighbourhood squirrels. The funny part is you will see a squirrel running across the yard and if he notices you, he will suddenly freeze and stand there like a lawn ornament. I guess the theory is if he stands really still, we can’t see him.
We tend to be like that with diet blinders on. If I just ignore the weight gain, I can pretend it’s not there. If I ignore what I am putting into my body, there’s no harm. My wife and I watch a lot of the weight loss shows on TV. I don’t watch Biggest Loser because I think it is abusive and humiliating to it’s contestants and could almost be a subject for the blog all by itself. One that we do watch is a show called My 600lb Life.
These people have had blinders on, or been in denial about their weight gain until they are prisoners in their own home and in some cases in their own bodies. I remember one night we were watching and I casually said to my wife “How do you get to be 600 pounds before you notice there’s a problem?” She turned to me and said “How did you get to be 425 pounds or more before YOU noticed there was a problem?” She wasn’t saying it to be mean. She was right. I HAD ignored things until it got to the point it just couldn’t be ignored anymore.
I really did have blinders on. My wake up call came that morning I stepped on that heavy duty scale and I heard “clink” because it went all the way around to 425 and couldn’t go any further. I hadn’t seen it, and yet I had experienced all the signs. I couldn’t walk much without being winded. I couldn’t play with my kids without being exhausted within minutes. In spite of these things, I still didn’t see it coming.
I think I know why we wear blinders or maybe I should say I know why I wore them. If I had to look at what was going on – how I was eating, the weight I was gaining etc – I would have to do something, and frankly I didn’t want to do anything. My wife has always been supportive and caring no matter what I looked like or how much I weighed, but I could tell she was worrying about me, and that 425 was the last straw.
I could see it in her eyes. She was worried I was going to drop dead, and leave her alone with 2 kids. It frankly scared the heck out of me, and I had to take those blinders off and be honest with myself about where I was and what I needed to do. Was it easy? No. Was it necessary? Absolutely!
I had to ask myself if I wanted to get healthy, to be there for my wife and kids and eventually grand kids. I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle and dance at her wedding. I have since been able to do both those things. I have been able to welcome a granddaughter into the world, and I feel better at 55 years old than I did at 35 or even 25. One of my biggest regrets is that it took so long to take those blinders off.
Let me ask you about your blinders. Are you still wearing them? Are you ignoring the condition of your food intake? Are you ignoring the scale? Are you like the squirrel who stands frozen and pretends people can’t see him?
I am assuming that if you are reading this blog you are on your own weight loss journey – either now or you have in the past. It is possible even now to still have blinders on. I would like to give a couple of simple things to do to see if you have blinders on.
If you haven’t done it in a long time, get on the scale. Look at the number. Let it sink in and then say to yourself “Today I weight “whatever it is”. Being fat doesn’t make me a bad person. I am not lazy, stupid, dirty and a bad person. I am unhealthy and today I am going to be honest with myself and do something about it.”
Take a serious look at your food intake. (I hate the word diet). Is it a healthy balance? Am I following one of those fad diets or eating plans? Am I eliminating one food or other or the reverse – emphasizing certain foods instead of maintaining a healthy balance? Do I snack too much on the wrong stuff?
Think about your exercise. Are you doing any exercise? The exercise blinder is when we say “Well I can’t “whatever” so I won’t do anything.” Take that blinder off and say “I may not be able to run, but I can walk” Don’t look at what you can’t do but look at what you can do, then go do it.
Here is a hard one – look at the blinders OTHER people have put on us – those people who say you can’t do this or worse – you shouldn’t do this. You know – the negative people and the naysayers. Take those blinders completely off. Eliminate them from your life. Is it a close friend or relative? Tell them this is your life and your plan, and if they can’t be a help, then don’t be a hinderance. Your social media friends are even easier. Use the delete, unfriend or block buttons.
Are you going to keep the blinders on, or is today the day you are honest with yourself and say as the old song says “I can see clearly now” ?
Until next time have a healthy and happy day!