Waiting, waiting, waiting. Physically shrinking, like removing a layer of paint one day at a time, is a game of patience, perseverance, and faith in the process. Dedication to a lifestyle change forces focus, commitment, and allegiance to a plan in place. Doubt dubs itself into the mix debating whether the effort is worth the wait. Pounds dropping slowly and inconsistently is common as the body’s digestion varies daily, depending upon food choices, stress (cortisol levels), and exercise (movement). A plethora of variables cause weight to zig-zag, coast, and teeter like the scales of justice uncertain of which direction to lean. Inexact science, individual chemistry, and food sensitivities play roles in the results. Yet in the end, it is a waiting game.

After four weeks a culmination of six-tenths of a pound lost without disembarking from the food plan, intense exercise activity four days per week, and feeling unstressed, slim patience may emerge. Weekly tweaking gently, checking food journals carefully, and believing my actions will warrant change, only to relent again by scarce results is a practice in persistence. Although the claim that slow weight loss stays at bay longer than quickly losing, this slow protocol I follow without intention is unmotivating. I am asked if clothes are looser, body more svelte, inches gone; these possibilities are not the case. Water retention, constipation, and/or hormonal imbalances such as a sluggish thyroid, are questioned. No, no, and no again.

Although disappointed, a “staying the course” attitude backs the belief that my day in court will come with scales of justice leaning in my favor with a positive verdict. The fifth week, unanimous votes deliberated a 3.8-pound verdict, the looser pants, and a leaner body. Singing praise for such slow results requires patience and conviction that the process is functioning correctly even when invisible to the naked eye. The challenging waiting game make the rewards feel more grand. When motivation wanes, and the reasons for this lifestyle dissipate from the forefront of one’s mind, wavering between why proceed versus the ease of not, commences. Mindfully remembering “why” you began is an imperative in the journey to healing, patience, and continuity in a waiting game.

With a lifestyle change, no ending exists. Process continues, sustains, and ventures onto a non-linear path. Small ups and downs, a few lines of regression, and eventual dips downward until one day, a foundation for maintenance, know-how, and confidence will simply be part who I am and how I live. It shall replace doubt, rebounding weight, and fear of old weight ascending again. The repeatable pounds that have been lost and gained do not outweigh the measurable effect it had on one’s confidence for future weight maintenance. Yet those were diets; this is a lifestyle. Diets are temporary; lifestyles are forever. Within a lifestyle the inner healing has an opportunity to take place, guarding against recurring numbing via unhealthy food. Deprivation, unsustainability, and metabolic slow downs from restricted calories prevents a diet from elongated success.

With no magic pill, a lifestyle is sustainable with support, self-care, and self-respect for what enters the body. Food for fuel as a motto, self-love as an internal compass, and increasing strength as an energy booster, all beam light into a lifelong plan. Maintaining the lifestyle is the new normal, boundaries are set surrounding social situations, and non-negotiables on what will and will not be done, encourage the numbers to drop on the scale. When living the lifestyle of “clean” eating consistently, slow is the speed required, and waiting, waiting, waiting is the game worth winning.