Small Victories

I fully endorse only five things:

  1. The Mac n’ cheese at S’MAC in N.Y.C.
  2. Lane Bryant’s “T-Shirt Bra” (Or really any of their bras. I might owe the entirety of my self-esteem to Lane Bryant).
  3. Bath and Body Works candles.
  4. The movie Belle by Misan Sagay, directed by Amma Asante, with music by Rachel Portman, and staring Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Seriously stop reading this and go watch it right now it’s on Amazon Video
  5. Therapy

And although I could certainly write six blogs about why I endorse Belle, today I would like to talk about therapy, or rather one of the many things I learned in therapy.

I truly believe that everyone should go to therapy** once a year and I DEFINITELY think that every student who crosses the stage upon college graduation should be handed a diploma and a certificate for twelve free sessions with a local therapist.

One of the best things my therapist taught me was about the concept of “small victories.” When we are trying to lose weight, it’s easy to get bogged down in the mistakes: the ice cream we binged on, the walk we didn’t take, etc. The concept of “small victories” is that we think about the positive choices we’ve made, rather than the negative. Yes, maybe I ate ice cream today, but I didn’t drive through In-N-Out for the animal fries I wanted. Maybe I didn’t go for a walk, but I did take the stairs instead of the elevator today. Maybe this seems insignificant or lame, but for me it’s the daily tiny changes that keep me going. If I tell myself I can never eat mac n’ cheese again or I’m going to be running a 5K next week, I will shut down and stop trying. I have to be able to see the little things for what they are– HUGE accomplishments. We cannot run until we walk [insert various cliches here].I can only do this one calorie at a time, one small victory at a time.

For Example, I had a small victory today:

It’s after Christmas, I am trying to eat better and get my weight back on track, but I am still at my parents’ house which means that food abounds in delicious glory. Today I went to grab something for lunch and I saw that we had noodles and cheese ready in the fridge–key ingredients to my favorite food of all time. I stared at the cheese. I stared at the noodles. I wanted to take that whole tub of noodles, smother it in cheese, butter, and milk, and eat the crap out of it. I didn’t. I took a step back. I decided that if I wanted it, I could have it, but I’d have a little bit. I took a tiny handful of noodles, a little bit of cheese, and I microwaved them–just to get the flavor. Then for the rest of my lunch I ate a salad (the healthy kind without bacon). I was able to satiate my craving for mac n’ cheese and celebrate a small victory towards health.  Afterwards I felt wonderful. I felt happy for making a positive choice and my body felt nourished and energized instead up glumpy (a name I have invented for the feeling you get after you have consumed all the possible cheese).

All this to say, maybe success is in thinking small. I can’t think of the 60+pounds I should probably lose…I have to celebrate the 1/2lb I lose week by week or more realistically just celebrate every time I take the stairs.

This Weeks Facts: Weight: 211.5 How do you feel?: Confused. I did not put on the Christmas pounds that I had anticipated. Small Victory: The mac n’ cheese incident!  Biggest Disappointment: Although the scale says otherwise, I feel like I gained a million pounds. None of my pants fit and I simply feel like an exploding tube of Pillsbury Dough.   Thing I appreciated about my body this week:  I have able-bodied legs that can go on walks with my mom and my sister to see twinkle lights.  Other notes: This is all harder than I thought it would be–the vulnerability…the photos.

***I understand that therapy is expensive and not everyone has the opportunity to seek professional help. I couldn’t afford it either. My first therapist was a psychology student working towards her license. I saw her for less than $20 a session through the Azusa Pacific University Community Counseling Center. They have a sliding scale for the amount they require for payment based on income and it is open to anyone (I highly recommend them if you’re in the L.A. area). My second therapist was licensed, but she was partially paid for by my insurance company, and then when that ran out she met with me Pro-Bono. I have been very blessed by both of these opportunities and I am grateful that there are programs/people that exist to help humans with their struggles both mentally and financially.

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