The actual article itself is much less incendiary than the pull quotes, in fact, it seemed downright dull the first time I read it. But rereading it today, I saw this quote, which wouldn't sell ads or magazines so it didn't make the headlines:
What I've learned this year is that my weight issue isn't about eating less or working out harder, or even about a malfunctioning thyroid. It's about my life being out of balance, with too much work and not enough play, not enough time to calm down. I let the well run dry. . . Falling off the wagon isn't a weight issue; it's a love issue.The other thing that is problematic (for many of us) is believing that there is a wagon and that you're either on or off. Oprah responded to her thyroid problems by giving up: She was having trouble maintaining her washboard abs and her marathon training schedule so she felt defeated. I know I compare my current tired self to the me who used to get up at 5 a.m. to take swim classes so I could do a triathlon and think, "Where did that girl go?"
I took a walk in the park today after two days of too much food, too much noise, and not enough sleep. I had Jillian on the iPod for company, and she was talking about how real change only happens when we can let go of the familiar and slip into an unknown, uncomfortable space. Even if we're not happy with the way things are, it's often hard to let go of the grudges and defense mechanisms and habits that we know. Taking that kind of risk is the only thing that leads to change. Oprah did this when she lost weight the first time, I did this when I signed up for my first triathlon and started training.
The thing that we both forgot, that most of us don't realize, is that we can't just grab onto the new set of circumstances and hold on for dear life. We have to keep moving forward, keep letting go, keep rolling with new circumstances. That's why weight maintenance is so hard, I think. It's easier to take risks to move toward a big exciting goal and an imagined better life. It's harder to keep living in the present when you realize it's not just one big shining moment where you feel great all the time. You can't "conquer this battle once and for all," you can just keep living and working through your new stuff.
I was thinking about the whole New Year's Resolution fad and how it's all about wanting to start fresh on a clean sheet of paper. That kind of freshness, as we all know, rarely lasts through the first weekend. Now that Christmas is over, I'd like to give myself the gift of a week of already working toward the things I want before the new year gets here. I'm not getting back on the wagon, though: I'm going on foot this time.