A New Day & New Priorities: Why We Should Stay On Plan

Suddenly getting into those reference jeans doesn’t seem quite so important anymore, does it? The tragic events of September 11th have shifted all our priorities, and looking good isn’t as high up on the list as it used to be. Now we have more important things to think about. But that doesn’t mean than staying on plan isn’t still important.

In fact, it’s more important now than ever.

Everything’s Different Now, So Why Stay On Plan?

If looking terrific isn’t as important as it used to be, then why should we continue on our chosen low carb eating plans? I can think of several reasons.

  • If we stay on plan and get thinner, we will feel better both psychologically and physically. Never underestimate the advantage that simply feeling good gives you!
  • If we stay on plan and get thinner, we will be healthier and will physically be able to cope better with whatever comes our way. We will be in a position to not only make it through every day more easily, but to survive.
  • If we stay on plan and get thinner, we will be healthier and will be more likely to be able to help our families, neighbors, and coworkers in the event of a disaster – and not be one of the ones who need help from others.
  • If we stay on plan and get thinner, we will feel more incontrol and this will reduce at least some of the stress inour lives, enabling us to cope better psychologically withwhatever comes our way.
  • If we stay on plan and get thinner, we will be healthier and less likely to need medical services and supplies that others may desperately need.

Being Physically Prepared For Challenges:

Make Being Physically Fit A Priority

We should not underestimate the need for being physically prepared for the challenges that untoward events may throw at us. In addition to actually being physically able to do whatever things we need to do, if we are as physically fit as we can possibly be we will be less likely to suffer from heat exhaustion, have a heart attack, or even simply fall and injure ourselves.

After the bombing of the World Trade Center, I was struck by how many people found it difficult to walk down the many floors to safety. While some of these people were overweight, many were not. They were simply out of shape. Many of the people exiting the building were physically exhausted, some of those who were not physically disabled had to be helped; some even had to be carried.

There are people with physical disabilities who will need some type of help in any disaster situation, whether it is a flood, a fire, a tornado, an earthquake, or a terrorist attack. There will be children who need to be carried. There will be elderly citizens who will need assistance. I do not want to divert needed help from any of them simply because I am not physically fit.

But this isn’t just about terrorist attacks, believe me.

A couple of years ago a small town an hour or so south of me completely flooded. Hundreds of good citizens went to help, creating sandbag levees to try and hold back the river’s waters. I didn’t go because I knew that physically I just plain couldn’t do it, and I’ve felt bad about that ever since. If something like this should happen again (and where I live it probably will), I want to be on the sand bag lines, or helping people move their belongings to higher ground, or bringing in food for the volunteers.

I don’t want to be on the sidelines the next time around.

I am no longer satisfied with merely losing weight; I am making physical fitness a priority, too. I am starting to walk every day, and my goal is to be able to walk three miles in 45 minutes or less. My dog loves the walks, too, although he sometimes slows me down investigating mailboxes and other extremely interesting but occasionally disgusting things. I got some 3-pound ankle weights today, and am going to start using them to step up the workout.

I am also going to be going to the gym three days a week to weight train. I’ve been strong in the past, and I liked it. Weight training will make me stronger and better able to survive a disaster, and by building muscle mass I’ll also be boosting my metabolism, which will enable me to reach my goal weight more quickly and to look better when I get there.

I used to be a soft, fat blob. The thought of being a soft, thin blob when I reach my goal weight isn’t appealing to me. Strength and endurance appeal to me.

Often we use time constraints as an excuse for not exercising. There’s always something that needs to be done, isn’t there? My new attitude since September 11th is short, succinct, and slightly rude: tough toenails. If the house isn’t as clean as it should be (well, it never really was), then that’s just the way it is. I’m making my physical fitness a priority, and if my family doesn’t like it they can mop the kitchen floor. I’m not the one who spilled the Kool Aid anyway.

Being Psychologically Prepared For Challenges:

Never Underestimate The Power Of Feeling In Control

Disasters are by definition uncontrollable. No one has figured out how to tame a tornado, subdue an earthquake, or divert a hurricane. These are things we simply can’t control, and I think that is the primary reason we are so inordinately afraid of them.

What can we control? Among other things, we can control what put in our mouths, which will eventually will lead to being able to control what we weigh, how we look, and how we feel.

To me, one of the best side benefits of low carbing is that feeling of control I have when I am getting my carbohydrates almost entirely from vegetables. When I feel like I’m in control, then I feel stronger. That’s half the battle, isn’t it?

Our perceptions of ourselves are extremely important. If we see ourselves as weak, or inconsequential, or stupid, we will tend to live down to our perceptions. If we see ourselves as strong, worthwhile, and intelligent, we will tend to live up to our perceptions.

Low carbing helps me to remain in control, not only of what I eat but of how I feel. I don’t get depressed as often now; I don’t have panic attacks; I’m not lethargic. Low carbing has turned my emotion life around, and for that I will be forever grateful.

I need that feeling of control more than ever now. I imagine that most of you do, too.

It’s Still Worth It To Stay On Plan!

Think of all the reasons you started low carbing. Whether they are life affirming reasons like controlling your diabetes or striving to live longer by controlling your weight, or smaller goals like fitting into a seat at the movies or being able to walk your kids to school, they’re all still valid.

Don’t belittle your original reasons for losing weight. They’re yours, and therefore worthwhile. The next-size-smaller reference jeans are still important; enjoy it thoroughly when you get into them, and then go out and buy a new pair of reference jeans in a still smaller size. Enjoy the victory.

September 11th didn’t eliminate your goals, it simply added a couple of more. Now staying on plan and reaching our goal weight is not merely a matter of looking and feeling better, but may very well be a matter of surviving and being able to contribute to others’ survival and well being.

It may make the difference between having to be a “taker” and getting to be a “giver.”

And that alone makes staying on plan worthwhile.

How To Prepare For A Disaster

There’s a lot of things we can do to prepare for an unforeseen event. Getting as physically and psychologically prepared is only part of it. There are other more concrete things we can do, and next week I’ll be outlining the steps you can take ahead of time to optimize your safety and the safety of your family – and still stay on your low carb plan.

Until then, be safe. Be strong. You can do it. There’s not a doubt in my mind.

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