Leap Years, Leaps of Faith and the Long Road to Better Health

“Woo hoo! It’s leap day!” It certainly is a unique day in the datebook — Feb. 29 — and this date only appears on the calendar about once every four years, something we call a leap year. I wish we could call every day of the year leap day… but not for the reason we really have a leap day, which is to keep the calendar months in line with their assigned seasons. Oh no, I like it because when I hear the word “leap” it means to jump or hop, which is just one more form of exercise that each of us can enjoy!

But it also reminds me of something else when I hear the word “leap” — taking a leap of faith.

This is something that I feel I did quite often during my 16-month weight loss as my focus was on living a healthy lifestyle every day, with my one main goal to lose my excess weight. But please understand that I did not weigh myself very often, only about once every four months. So I was taking action towards weight loss, but I couldn’t really see the results on the bathroom scale very often. Doing that required me to be willing to take a chance and have a little bit of faith. It was pretty close to impossible to predict how much weight I was losing each day, each week, each month … but I had faith that it would happen, in time.

When You Get There

A doctor told me that a healthy weight loss is about 2 to 3 pounds a week. I figured that if I weighed myself every day, or even every week, I may not see these weight-loss results even if I was eating right and exercising daily. And from my past experiences and those of millions of others, if results aren’t seen immediately we tend to give up, claim it’s a waste of time and go back to an unhealthy routine. I was not going to do that ever again.

Here is how I changed my way of thinking: when you’re driving a car and know your destination, you don’t need to check the odometer every few seconds to make sure you’re getting closer— you already know you are and you continue driving the correct route. You may look at it occasionally to see how many more miles you have until you reach your destination, but you don’t focus on it since you know it’s not necessary. In other words, you will get there when you get there.

Imagine you assumed that you had just driven 10 miles, but decided to check the odometer just because and found that you only drove 7 miles. How would that feel? Would you stop, give up, and claim there’s no sense in trying anymore? No, you’d realize you were driving slower than what you had guessed, but you’d still continue on, especially since you wanted to reach your destination goal.

That’s unfortunately not how it was for me when I’d weigh myself often during those 25 years of failed weight-loss attempts. If I thought I should’ve lost more than the scales showed, I would give up immediately and call myself a failure.

The Right Direction

Well, I wasn’t going to call myself that any longer! I realized that as long as I was going in the right direction I would achieve my goal. I took a leap of faith and I’m so glad that I did it!

On this leap day, will you be taking a leap of any sorts? Please share!

Photo by Andy Ciordia

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