Visual Reminders

If you have any serious amount of weight to lose, like I do (did, but still do), it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the successes you have had. The ultimate goal seems so incredibly FAR away. Losing momentum can be fatal.

Since this whole thing is about my not only losing weight, but also rebuilding a stronger, more in-control woman, I must CONSTANTLY remind myself that I am making progress.

Very early in this process, I started building my beautiful paper clip chain. Tracy gave me a big box of brightly colored paper clips along with this suggestion. Every pound I lose, I add a paper clip to the chain. Over time, the chain gets longer and longer, and I get smaller and smaller. And every time I see the chain, I smile and say to myself (because positive self-talk is critical) “You go girl! You’re doing it!” I find that I am actually starting to be proud of myself – something that hasn’t happened for a very long time.

I hung the paper clip chain in my office in a spot that is also visible to everyone who visits me. I’m very fortunate because many of the people with whom I work really care about my success. When they see my growing chain, they are quick to tell me how proud they are of me.

The down side? It really sucks when I have to take a paper clip OFF. It is really, really hard; but I have to be honest enough to remove a clip if I gain a pound.

Another thing I started, again at the suggestion of Tracy, was my vanishing LEGO man. Tracy told me about a friend of hers who built a wall of LEGO pieces. Each pound she lost, she took a block off the wall.

I took the idea to Nathan, my resident LEGO expert, and asked him to build me a wall of 100 blocks (my goal for 2010). Of course he balked, “Mama, that’s a LOT of LEGOs! (This from the boy who has literally thousands of LEGOs.)

Eventually, in a moment of untold kindness (I think it was Valentine’s Day) he built a man – head and shoulders – of exactly the number of pounds I have yet to lose this year. So, this man can disappear as I shed the pounds.

The trick here is that my boss, who has to fiddle with something/anything/everything on my desk, is continually rebuilding my man. I think he’s finally gotten the idea that I may break his fingers if he does it again. (He’s also been incredibly encouraging, so he can have a pass on the LEGO man.)

Lastly is a pre-kid picture of myself that I keep in my office. It’s not because I thought I looked particularly special; it is because I know how I FELT during that time. I could do anything that I put my mind to. I wasn’t afraid to try. I believed in my own abilities. I was confident.

I’m looking to bring that person back.


Comments on: "Visual Reminders" (2)

  1. Kathy – thank you for sharing. You are an excellent writer and an inspiration. Just remember, there are not "buts" except the one you want to lose!On another note – I have another suggestion for a visual reminder. Get a pair of your old pants or shorts from last summer, before you started your journey, and cut two pieces of ribbon to match your old waist size. Take one ribbon and trim it too match your new waist size, but save the pieces in a jar. Everytime you are ready to buy that next size down in clothes or you tighten your belt one more notch, take your "new" waist size ribbon and trim the end and put it in the jar. Mark each piece you lost with the part of your journey so that at the end you can piece together your lost waistline and frame it as a reminder of your journey. Last but not least, take your two ribbons "old" and "new – but still improving" and hang them next to each other. So, when you need some motivation, just look up and see the difference in your two ribbons. Keep it up! I am proud of you – hugs!

  2. These are great ideas! A couple of years ago when I was training to walk the 1/2 marathon, I went with the negative visual. Tim took a picture of me in my bikini (front AND back view; YIKES!)and I put it on the fridge so I'd see it several times a day. It was horrifying, but it did motivate me. I think I'd rather use your visuals! Press on towards your goal and God bless!!

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