The flower beds had become filled with weeds and I was glad this morning to get out and start pulling them out, initially with some young helpers and then increasingly on my own.
As I pulled them out, I realised that they are such an amazing moshul (analogy) for weight loss.
When we first moved into our house there were massive hedges and bushes along the right hand side of our garden. I took great pleasure over a period of weeks, possibly months, with just a pair of long handled secateurs to hack away at this enormous waste of space gaining several feet of garden. I filled several green bins with foliage, gradually getting them down to size and managing to even kill one of the most annoying ones (you know, the type that drops horrible orange berries everywhere and is covered in thorns). Once I’d cut it down we had fences put in between ourselves and our neighbour, and a lovely empty flowerbed was ready for filling.
Gradually over the last six years we’ve filled it with an Acer, rosemary, strawberries, blueberries, passiflora and poppies amongst others. It is only a little space but I’ve discovered a new love in gardening. Weeds however I don’t love. They quickly fill in the spaces and try and take over. Today I cleared out the weeds from the back garden and I noticed some lessons which weeds have in common with healthy habits.
The first big clear out is the hardest
Clearing the large plants, refreshing the compost, planting new small plants that had the potential to grow.
When I first first started out, my habits were really not great (to understate things somewhat). I was missing breakfast, snacking on multiple sugary cereal bars, pastries, biscuits, hot chocolate on a daily basis. I did zero exercise and was out of breath on short walks. I was wearing size 20-22 clothes. I weighed at my highest 15st3lbs and my BMI was a morbidly obese 42.
The weeds are always on the ready to come back
Leave the garden for a few days, certainly weeks or months it seems like all that preparatory work was for nought. The autumn leaves cover the lawn turning it to mulch. The weeds overtake the flowerbeds, swamping the fledgling plants.
Lose focus on healthy habits and it is so easy to fall back into bad habits. The last week there’s been a lot of extra stress, disrupted routine and missed sleep. It has been so easy to turn to food, not exercise and generally allow the poor choices and habits to sneak back in.
But then put in a little bit of effort and it isn’t as hard to repair
The roots of the new weeds are not as deep as the old ones. With a little tug they come out of the ground easily. With the right tools and bit of elbow grease (I cannot recommend my easy weeder enough) the occasional one which is trying to get more established are pulled right out. With the weeds out the way, the progress of plants which I thought had been destroyed can be observed and given space to flourish.
Once the weeds have been cleared, you’ve got to plant things you want in the empty spaces and fast. Otherwise the weeds with come back.
It’s not enough to refrain from unhealthy habits, they need to be replaced with healthy ones. As well as not having the junk in the house, I’ve got to have the healthy food I love easy to access. I’ve got to make it easy to exercise. I have to keep telling myself positive motivational statements to replace the negative self destructive internal conversation.
Like my garden is better than it was, so is my lifestyle. My garden is not going to feature in a magazine and right now, neither is my body. But my garden is a pleasant space that my family can enjoy and that I can enjoy. My body is now a bit fitter, my clothes a slightly smaller size, my eating habits and self image are better than they were.
I am a work in progress.
Today’s food and sleep diary
Sleep: very disturbed. I fell asleep at 10pm before LH can’t home from shul, then woke at 11pm for havdola. Couldn’t get back to sleep easily. H woke twice in the night, I didn’t properly fall asleep until gone 4am.
Breakfast – Porridge and almond milk and cinnamon
Gardening, mowing lawn, timing hedge and weeding
Lunch – salmon and salad
Snacks – 2 nkd bars. Chocolate chips
Supper – veggie chili with pitta
Just as we were finishing Uncle Doovy the one kosher ice cream van parked outside our house. The conversation went like this:
“What’s that noise?”
“Uncle Doovy’s parked outside.”
“Shall we get one?”
No arguments there, the yetzer tov didn’t get a look in. This is such a rare occurrence and the timing was perfect. The ice cream was absolutely delicious also. This will not be a regular thing, but it was just right tonight.
As I said above, I’m a work in progress.