Understood- however, and I totally get where you are, but in all fairness to our eager-to-lose-weight fellows, here’s the challenge. Far too many of us suffer the conceit that we can gorm what we like (those lovely foods) and still be able to have a fitness trainer’s body. While you and I absolutely know that, the problem is that if I write that I can ON OCCASION have a treat like half a cookie or whatever, that is so often stretched into well, you SAID we could eat what we wanted. Come on, man. You have every right to write this post because you’ve earned it. The fundamental message that is sometimes so hard for folks to embrace is the lifestyle piece- the complete reworking of life habits, eating habits and all the pieces that led to the extra weight in the first place. We love our comfort, and our comfort foods, and engaging in a lifestyle change is decided uncomfortable, especially when the last bit- THIS IS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE- sinks in. GAH! That in a nutshell is precisely why only a small percentage of us make it for life. It’s a never-ending challenge, until we let go of the need to “reward ourselves” with foods that do damage. To that, refined sugar damages the aging brain. I LOVE sugar. LOVE donuts. No more for me, and I good bye to it for life. That is so hard. I’d damned near kill for a chunk of chocolate, but because of some changes inside me I can no longer have it. I’m ex-military, so discipline comes more easily to me than many, so now when I go through the supermarket the candy aisle doesn’t even register. What does are honey crisp apples, berries, bananas, mangoes….but that took years.

The habits you’ve created are what Charles Duhigg calls “keystone habits,” which when we’ve managed to rewrite what we do into powerful daily small success that are simply How It Is over time, they become so automatic that we don’t have to do battle over the donut vs. the yogurt. Time ingrains them. Yet the body still wants its fat back, dammit, which is why vigilance is our best friend. Under quarantine, and in response to stress, chocolate almonds replaced my apples. After 33 years, I let a habit slip, paid the price, and reclaimed the habit. I think it is really fair to Dear Reader to point out that retraining how we engage with food, and how we reward ourselves for our wins, really does recast the conversation around maintenance vs. weight loss. As I am fond of say, we find what we lose (you and I can relate) and damned if our weight doesn’t invite other family members back with them to set up pup tents on our obliging bodies.

Again, too many folks are seeking that quick fix, when there isn’t one. There isn’t a permanent ‘gram shot that locks in this body forever. Forever is one small moment to the next, one smart choice to the next, out of respect for the vehicle that carries us. Again, good job, Mark.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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