Drip By Drip, You’ll Get There

When my kids asked me to buy them something when they were younger and I told them no, their usual retort was, “But Mom! It only costs $____ dollars!”

How bipolar is the word “only”? I mean, it can make you feel really good about something or it can make you feel really bad. In terms of weight, “I only gained a pound!” is the positive “only” I hear a lot this time of year as people navigate holiday parties and family get togethers. It’s the negative “only” – “I only lost a pound” – that I hear said most often, though, most recently from none other than me.

The other day I got on the scale and saw that I’d lost a half a pound of the five I want to lose, and the first thing I thought, felt and said was wrapped up in the negative “only.”

“I only lost a half pound? Ugh!! When will this stupid weight come off? What am I doing wrong?”

I decided I needed to write myself a quick little pep talk.

“With dripping drops of water, even a water jug is filled.” Dhammapada 121-122

I remember I used this quote in a blog I wrote in January 2009 (“A Slow Steady Drip”), and after stepping off the scale the other day, I meditated on it for awhile before looking back at my weight tracker on Weight Watchers.

I lost 1.386 pounds, on average, every week between Jan. 1, 2005 and March 12, 2007. Many of those weeks were “point-something” losses, but obviously those “only”s added up to some serious poundage.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I said to someone, “You can’t lose 100 without first losing a pound, and you don’t lose a pound without first losing .1, .2 and .3.” Now I have to add a dollar to my own coffer because I need to say it to myself right here, right now.

“Lynn, you’ve challenged yourself to lose five pounds. You’ve lost .5 in a month. That might kick up, or if the trend continues you’ll lose five pounds by August. August is going to come whether you’re losing weight or not, so you may as well settle in, do what you’re doing, stay diligent, and allow the weight to come off the way it wants to: point-something by point-something by point-something.

“Try taking ‘only’ out of your vocabulary and see what happens. Don’t let ‘only’ ruin your efforts or negate what you’ve achieved. Say, ‘I lost a half a pound! Woohoo!’ Drip by drip, you’ll get there.”

Pretty smart, eh? Now let’s see if I follow my own advice…

14 thoughts on “Drip By Drip, You’ll Get There

  1. not ONLY did you lose a 1/2 pound, you also didn't gain.

    And this time of year, any poundage at all, headed the right direction on the scale is pretty major.

  2. “With dripping drops of water, even a water jug is filled.” Dhammapada 121-122

    i like this expression a lot more than “slow and steady wins the race”


  3. You're so right, Lynn, and this is a very difficult concept for us weight loss folks to grasp. Especially when we are surrounded on all sides by television programs where people lose 20 or more pounds a week and even blogs where quick weight loss is the expectation.

    At my age, and with an exercise level that is not “biggest loser type,” I have had to understand that a loss is a loss, even if it is a half a pound a week. I know I will have weeks of higher losses, but they will likely be few and far between. I'm now OK with that, and I won't sabotage myself with a “biggest loser” mindset.

  4. I needed to read this. I have been in TOPS (Take off pounds sensibly) for TWO WHOLE YEARS this month…and have ONLY lost 28 pounds. (Mostly because most of those 2 years, I was putting forth a half-hearted effort). But if I remove the ONLY from my mind, I can say “Whoo hoo! I'm 28 pounds lighter than I was this time 2 years ago!” 🙂 Great post.

  5. Wow. I honestly never thought of “only” like this before, but you are so right! I do it ALL the time with everything.

    I have lost 65lbs in two years, and I always tell myself, 65lbs in 2 years is better then 5lbs in 2 years. Anything is better then nothing.

    Only sure is a naughty word. Now I'm going to have to attempt removing it from my vocabulary.

  6. So true. And if you think of how quickly a jug is filled with dripping water when you DON't want it to be filled (like a leaky roof or pipe) then it is even more impressive as an illustration.

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