Tracey Haider-Sprague, a home-schooling mother of two, is also the Training Director for Small Beginnings, a Lay Ministry Training Organization in Seattle, Washington where she researches, writes, teaches and counsels. She, along with her entire family, began their low-carb lifestyle in April 2003.
"Happiness comes through doors
you didn't even know you left open."
I used to make resolutions, but then after so many years of not keeping
them, I gave up. I'll give you, the reader, three guesses as to the number
one resolution on my list for all those years.
Ah, you are quick!
Yes, the one issue… really the only issue was my weight.
I'm going to lose weight this year! I'll start on January first. Yep, I'll
lose five pounds a month. I'll exercise every day. I'll buy that gym
membership. I have to go. I'll buy some workout clothes. I can do it. I
have to do it. Wow, that means thirty pounds in six months! I can do that!
Some people have to lose much, much more! I'll clean out the fridge tomorrow.
And then as my head would hit the pillow on New Year's Eve, I would drift
into sleep envisioning how thin I would look and feel come June. I would
contemplate all the activities that I would finally allow myself to do once
I was at goal. Life would be good, very good… then.
The glow of that resolution lasted exactly one week, and then mysteriously
my resolve would resolve not to come back. One day missed of my workout would
turn into five. One piece of cake eaten after only one day of the new plan,
and I was inhaling more. I would excuse myself here and there, and soon, days
would turn into weeks, and weeks into months. By June, I would be just as heavy,
or even heavier! But by that time I would be in denial - it would be a full
six months, right before the dawning of a new year, before I would once
again think of self-improvement.
But back in April last year, I made a decision. It was a small decision.
There wasn't a lot of hype or day dreaming or revving myself up. It crept
in quietly and took root, and that was the most powerful way it could have
entered my life…so differently than ever before. A quiet knowing that
something had to change, and this was it.
After low carbing for about seven months now, so much has changed. One, I
don't have to make that resolution this year. There isn't even the pressure
of it in my mind. I'm already doing something about it. Second, I have lost
weight. Not as much as I'd like to have lost, but I've learned that some months
I drop a few, and some months I stay the same. My body definitely thinks for
itself, no matter how true to plan I stay.
When I thought about all this recently, I realized that all my other resolutions
in the past, although not directly about weight, were affected by my weight,
and how I viewed myself. There were things not done, activities avoided, places
not visited and clothes not bought because I was always waiting to be thin…or
at least thinner. My life, my personal life, was always on hold.
I never looked at the "diet" as something that I would or could stay with for
the rest of my life. It was something to be tolerated, and sometimes tortured
by. Once the miracle of weight loss occurred, I could return to the world of
the "normal" people, thin and free of the shackles of the "diet".
Now I see that I needed something that not only worked, but that I could live
with forever. This seems impossible, but I'm living proof (at least to myself)
that this way of life exists, and is effective. It's hard to believe that I
have stayed on the plan for this long. Never in my life did I ever stay on a
way of eating for more than a week.
I look back over my life this past year and I can't believe all the changes,
all the challenges, all the people who've enriched my life, simply because I
decided to try the low carb lifestyle. So many things have been affected. My
family is healthier. I don't have to worry about my oldest son being obese. I
can go into a store and buy clothes four sizes smaller than before and they
fit! I actually had beautiful clothes for Christmas Eve rather than making do
with old street clothes, because I didn't want to shop in a "chubby woman"
store. I'm not scared to have my picture taken now, and when someone gives
me a compliment there are times when I actually believe them!
Others see a change in my weight, and that's certainly a nice benefit…but so
much has changed within. I don't live in a compartmentalized despair about
my weight. What I mean is that I could be very competent and confident at
work and home, but in a special compartment in my mind, I was always the
fat girl trying to get people to ignore the weight and take her seriously.
I avoided full-length mirrors and only looked in small mirrors when I
absolutely had to. I had a life from the neck up and tried to ignore that
I had a body from the neck down.
So this New Year's Eve, instead of hoping and wishing and brow beating
myself to embark on some new plan, I went outside with my family at midnight,
looked up at the stars and just felt thankful that I'm already on the road
to wellness. When the clock struck midnight, to my surprise, I was even brave
enough to bang on some pots and pans and bay at the moon for the sheer
pleasure of it.
Once back inside though, there was no fanfare. No desperate dreams dreamed
that night. No gathering storm of willpower to begin depriving myself of
some dessert or favorite food in the fridge.
… and a knowing that I could wake up the next day and the next not obsessed
with the plight of my weight, but open to the many opportunities that lay
Copyright © January 2004 Tracey Haider-Sprague and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury