|Our newly painted miniatures for a campaign of Mage: The Awakening. Mine is second from the left!|
Whenever I start a new tabletop role playing game, be it D&D, Scion, or Mage: The Awakening, I have the hardest time getting started. There are rule books jammed with so many choices that I feel completely lost until after I've narrowed down that first kernel of inspiration for the character. Does she fight with daggers? Is she from the wrong side of the tracks? Lawful good or chaotic neutral? I need to have one answer before the rest can fall into place.
Similarly, there's a boatload of advice on the internet about diet and exercise. Knowing where to start is a challenge in itself! What are credible sources? There are plans galore to tempt you; Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, My Fitness Pal, Couch to 5k, FitBit, Paleo, Primal. It's easy to get overwhelmed and even easier to discover conflicting advice. The ultimate key is finding something you think you can sustain. Whatever changes you make to your eating and physical activity should be things that you can stick with for life or you'll just end up back where you started.
Personally, Nutrisystem has been a great gateway for me, but it's hardly the end goal. I don't intend to be on it forever and ultimately I would like to eat more whole foods than processed foods which will be easier when I'm cooking most everything from scratch. In the end, it doesn't make sense to be ordering food from across the country and carrying meals with me every time I go to parties. However, this "gateway" has taught me a lot about portions, ways to improve my metabolism by eating smaller meals/snacks a day, and how to fit more fruits/veggies/water into my diet. Some people would absolutely disagree with me, but I don't think there are "magic" foods that cause you to lose weight. A balanced diet with correct portions combined with increased physical activity will cause you lose weight and get healthy. I've worked hard to learn about nutrition while following this program because I know it's the only way I'll be able to keep the weight off once I stop placing orders with Nutrisystem.
A lot of people react to the success of those around them by wanting to get a piece of it themselves. That's certainly what got me started. Sometimes, I find that when I explain what I'm doing, people get overwhelmed. "No offense. That's great and all, but I could never do what you do," said a friend of mine. My reaction is, "That's the beauty of it! There are tons of ways to improve your current habits and you can start small and see what works for you."
My answer doesn't have to be yours. I have a friend who murders herself in multiple boxing classes a day and lives for it. If you think I'm trying that any time soon, then you're completely insane! I have another friend who will plan her entire day of eating and exercise around what she wants for desert because treats are that important to her! I totally do that when I have something really special planned, like eating Magnolia cupcakes with my sweetie on Valentine's Day. Other people say, "You can't live for treats like a dog. You have to cut all the processed chemicals, grains, and dairy completely out of your diet." If that's what works for them, by all means live long and prosper! I'd miss carbs and dairy way too much for that to be sustainable for me. My point is that ALL of these plans work for the individuals who implement them well and execute them long enough to see result.
What absolutely doesn't work is constantly changing your plan or taking some from column A and some from column B. You need to choose your new class and stick with it for a few levels before you decide whether or not it will work for you. If you keep switching, you'll never get the full good of the game and more importantly, you won't give your body the chance take in the changes and react to them.
There's something out there for everyone so if you're interested in getting your health in order, don't let someone else's "insane" program be an excuse for you not to try. Choose your own adventure, find a "class" you love, and start playing the game. Take it level by level and if you need to play "casual," then do that. Rome wasn't built in a day and the new you won't be either.
I'm trying to keep that in mind as my weight loss slows. I had a weigh in today and I only lost .4 lbs this week. It was a let down considering how hard I've been working and all the good choices I made during the week, but at least the scale didn't go up. I just need to stay focused and try to enjoy the physical things I'm doing, like Zombies, Run! 5k training (which is so fun that I think I might cry!), Yoga, and watching my favorite season of Xena on the elliptical. The weight will come off when it's ready. Patience, young padawan.