The Best Way to Lose Weight in the New Year

You can exercise
and watch your calories
and say no to dessert
and count your steps
and be diligent and vigilant
and self-castigate over cellulite
but
if you are like me
you continue to put on weight
year after year.
Because if you are like me
you are spending your life
dragging things behind you.

 

Holding onto old hurts.
Regrets.
Unfinished business.
The inner disappointment of untapped potential.
That time you drank too much and did that thing.
All the other times.
Insecurities, real and perceived.
Ideals you cannot reach but cannot relinquish.
The pain of not having been loved well by that one person.
The shame of knowing you let them treat you like that.
Anger.
Wistfulness.
Nostalgia.
Traditions.
Expectations.
The self-imposed prison of needing to be liked.
Religious rules and “truths” you were taught as a kid.
Contempt for the religious rules and “truths” you were taught as a kid.
Fear of death.
Fear of what will happen if you live the way you want to live.

 

If you are like me
you have so many small burdens
known only to you,
like invisible weighted plates tied together with nylon rope
that you drag dutifully behind you,
year after year,
the rope cutting into your skin
as you trample the ground you cover,
your heavy existence
leaving ruts and grooves in the land
where your footprints should be.

 

Next year,
if you are like me
you will try letting go of something.
Untie one knot
and keep walking,
glancing behind you to see
Anger
or
Fear of death
or
The false perception of not having been good enough
getting smaller as you go,
leaving it alone to rot into the earth,
still and useless and discarded.

 

That sight will embolden you and,
if you are like me,
you will try loosening your grip
on the whole damn rope.
Breathe,
and be brave enough to acknowledge
that the weights only exist if you want them to.
The burdens are perpetuated only by your fragile heart
And the mind that fights for you and against you.

 

If you are like me
you will keep inhaling
and exhaling
until you have the courage to live
without the weights
without the rope
without the destructive ruts created by your mind.
Maybe for just a minute at a time, at first.

 

And then you will realize the irony,
that dropping the rope
is harder than lugging it.
It is not a single freeing act but a repetitive exercise.
Drop the rope.
Drop the rope.
Drop the rope.
Over and over and through time and persistence
that exercise will help you lose more weight than you ever dreamed possible,
until finally you see only your footprints behind you,
unique and unspoiled.

 

Drop the rope.
Drop the rope
and step lightly, joyfully
into your
new
year.

Photo by Steve Shockley

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