If you plan on accomplishing your goals during a five-week weight loss program, then failure will be disastrous. But if you launch into a Five-Year Lifestyle Program, now you have lots of time for failure and subsequent growth. Failure is a teacher, revealing hidden things about yourself, peeling back those layers and getting to the core of why you overeat. And peeling back the layers takes time.
"Ogres are like onions. . . Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it?"
First onion layer: You decide to start a diet program to lose 25 pounds of unwanted fat. First day, not bad. Second day, you find yourself gorging on twice the amount of donuts you normally eat. You drop the last half-eaten donut into the trash, flee to the washroom in tears, crying out to God, Why? First layer off.
Second Onion layer: While wiping away the tears, for the first time a pattern reveals itself to your mind, a connection between overeating on donuts and emotions of emptiness and boredom. Second layer off.
Third Onion Layer: Why do I feel bored and empty all the time? What’s wrong with my life? Deeper questions are forced to the surface once the connection is made between the visible 25 pounds of unwanted body fat and invisible inner emotions. Third layer off.
Fourth Onion Layer: You realize that the emptiness and boredom are a byproduct of lazy decisions you have made over the years. These decisions slowly moved you away from who you really are, the calling and dreams that define you as unique and individual. You have become all you used to hate, and to cope you turned to a drug you felt morally okay with, food. Now the real journey begins. Fourth layer off.
The stripping of these four layers did not happen in one giant epiphany while standing in the bathroom crying, but through months of small revelations, desperate prayers and dozens of eaten donuts. Here, success is not measured by a weight scale. In fact, throw the scale away; we do not even have one in our home. Success will be measured by small steps toward self control, by learning to be truly happy without the need for anything save that which is within. That takes time. Fasting can be a vital part of that lesson. Subtle steps toward an abiding inner joy and peace will be measurable by the lessening need for those food fixes you used to depend on.
Forming good habits also takes time. Healthy eating and exercise will become an unconscious part of who you are, but that is a process, not an overnight epiphany. Developing new habits and creating a new “normal” takes time.
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