“I can’t tie my shoes”

I’ve heard that phrase a lot.

From my 7 year old son who is amateur at best at this new skill.

From my 4 year old son who hasn’t yet learned the bunny ear technique.

From the well groomed, successful business woman who feels like a failure because of this one thing in her life.

From the mom who happily helps her children tie their shoes, who adore her to pieces by the way, but she can’t help herself.

From the retired police officer who once risked his life do save theirs and now he feels helpless.

From the young woman still trying to figure out her place in the world and yet getting through her closet seems like enough for each day.

This one tiny phrase is enough to self destruct anyone’s dignity and pride. While often it’s not the hallmark of “enough is enough,” I hear it said enough that it affects the life a person struggling with their weight. It’s a small sign of how this has affected life. What what was once taken for granted, has been taken away.

It’s not just that. I once worked with a young mom who wanted nothing more than to sit in the middle of the floor with her toddler and not have to worry about whether or not there was a piece of furniture around that she could use to hoist herself up when it was time to stand. Or just worry about getting up, period.

I worked with a young woman who plopped down in my office and crossed her legs with a huge grin on her face as if she had won the lottery of life. She had. And I knew exactly why she was so happy. She hadn’t crossed her legs in six years. Little things.

I often ask people what they’re motivation is for getting the weight off. Usually their first response is (and what you may be thinking right now) “I want too feel better,” or “I want more energy,” or “I want to get rid of my diabetes.” But that’s never the answer I’m looking for. Because when you’re in the mess of it, frustrated that you’ve worked so hard all week for one measly pound, you’re gonna need more than “to feel better.” Eating a box of cookies will make you feel better too.

It can be small. “I want to tie my shoes.” Or big. “I want to play with my grandkids. On the floor. For hours.” Or ambitious. “I want to hike the Appalachian trail like I did 50 pounds ago.” Whatever it is, realize that if it is causing enough pain in your life right now, it will push you to succeed at your goal.

Love yourself enough this Valentine’s day to figure out what that motivator is for you. As quoted by Dr. Michael Beckwith, visionary founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center, “The pain pushes until the vision pulls.” You will find the vision of yourself in due time – that person with the energy and health that you desire. But for now, let’s focus on tying your shoes.

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Jillian McMullen, CSOWM, RDN, LD