I'll throw out the second application that I noticed first, because I like the first one I noticed best and there's that whole "saving the best for last" thing. I loved Yoda's laundry list of reasons he couldn't train Luke: he has no patience, he's too angry, he's not ready, he doesn't live in the present, he's an adventure-seeker, he's reckless, he's too old to begin the training.
Doesn't that sound like us sometimes with our laundry list of why we can't lose weight? I don't have time to exercise. It's more expensive to eat healthy. I can't afford a gym membership. I'm not ready. I don't know how to change my eating habits.
The list goes on and on, but it all boils down to one thing: I don't want to put forth the effort to change my life. Period. The reasons we don't want to put forth the effort may be many -- fear of failure, lack of desire, deeply rooted emotional issues that we haven't identified, but the bottom line is we haven't figured out the opportunity cost of the effort and, I think, until we each define our own opportunity cost, we won't be successful at weight loss.
The other thing I noticed is that Yoda accuses Luke of doing something that many of us, myself definitely included, do. He says:
"This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph."
Tell me it's not just me. Anytime I've ever tried to lose weight, including this time, I have a terrible habit of focusing on the future, rather than the present. I try to figure out how much I'll lose by the end of the month, in two months, in six months, if I maintain a certain weight-loss goal each week. I think some of that is perfectly natural, but focusing only on the future, rather than the present, sets us up for disappointment and failure.
It's much more proactive to focus on what I'm doing now that's going to help me reach my weight-loss goals. Am I making good food choices today, this meal? Am I making time to workout? Am I putting forth my best effort and sticking with the workout even when it gets hard?
Sometimes, focusing on the present, even involves a well-planned, calculated indulgence. I've found that if I occasionally let myself indulge, in a reasonable, controlled way, it helps me stay focused and avoid going crazy later because I've deprived myself too much. One fry snagged off of my husband's plate (if I really, really want one, not every time they're available) may help me avoid chowing down on a McDonald's super-size fry later.
A funny story along those lines happened the first time I was on Weight Watchers (and lost 37 lbs.). I'd talked to my husband about supporting me and helping me stay strong and focused, but not trying to be the annoying diet-police either. One week, after much thought and planning for it with my meals, I wanted a doughnut. Not just any doughnut: a hot, fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut.
When I shared this with my husband, he looked at me warily and asked, "Is this the part where I'm supposed to be strong?"
"No," I replied. "This is the part where you go get me a doughnut." So, he did.
Along those lines, another important part of being focused on the present was expressed beautifully by Christina in her Weekly Weigh-In post this week. If you haven't read it, please take a moment to do so. She talks about how, if we don't love ourselves as we are, fat and all, we're not ever going to truly be happy, no matter how much weight we lose. I couldn't agree more.
So, quit making excuses, live in the present, and tell yourself you're a beautiful, lovable person right where you are right now.