Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Insanity or Bravery?

Lindsey Smallwood

I'm back at Middle Places this week, on New Year's Resolutions and the small bravery of trying again...

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I think it might be brave.

Like so many friends of mine, I’m embracing the new year as a chance to start fresh with goals relating to health and fitness. Throwing out the potato chips. Joining the local gym. Looking for new recipes that feature vegetables instead of carbs. 

You know, the usual.

No, really. The truth is this is my usual. Every few months I find new motivation to make these types of changes. I’ve done it the healthy way – various combinations of Weight Watchers, fitness boot camp, MyFitnessPal and steamed vegetables. I’ve done it the unhealthy way – restricting calories, binging and purging, letting my body become an obsession.

And for good or for bad, these changes last for a while. Until they don’t. Until life gets in the way, and I stop putting in the effort. Until tragedy strikes and I begin turning to food for comfort. Until I find myself once again firmly entrenched in patterns I don’t know how to escape.

In my adult life, the measure on my scale has swung +/- 50 lbs from the weight I know is right for me. I’ve been frighteningly small and embarrassingly large. And lately, after carrying, birthing and nursing two babies in two years, I’m finding my body tired.

Some of that exhaustion is from fetching late night glasses of water for my toddler and early morning singing in the baby’s room. But I think most of my fatigue comes from the fact my habits aren’t supporting my body, which needs better sources of energy than I’ve been giving it and more practice at becoming strong through exercise.

I’m starting again, doing the same thing I’ve done over and over again and expecting different results this time. I’m making another attempt at something I’ve repeatedly failed at doing since puberty.

My mantra is borrowed from an admittedly cheesy inspirational poster I saw years ago: Think about what you want most, not want you want in the moment.

What I want most is to feel strong, energized, to know my body is as healthy as it’s within my power to make it. To appreciate the gift of food and not abuse it. To set a good example for my kids.

Yet it’s easy for me to see all the ways it won’t work this time either.

  • What if I get pregnant again?
  • What about making meals for my husband, who loves carbs and cheese and has the metabolism of a young rabbit?
  • Can I really afford to buy healthier food and pay for a gym membership?
  • Will my resolve remain in the face of book club treats and mom’s brunches and small group pizza parties?

Those questions are real and large and valid. I’m daring to try anyway, knowing I’m responsible for my one wild and precious life, and it’s always worth doing the right thing, even when failure is possible.

It feels scary. Exciting. Brave.


This post originally appeared at Middle Places.