renee-michelle-harris_web.jpgEDITOR’S NOTE: South Florida Times Associate Editor Renee Michelle Harris continues her quest to lose weight. It’s nitty-gritty time as my weight loss journey continues.

I have mixed feelings about my progress to date. It’s been just more than a month since I started and I’ve lost 12 pounds. The impatient part of me is irritated that the number is not larger; however, my sensible self knows that slow, steady weight loss is far more likely to be permanent. And it’s what most reputable nutritionists and diet experts recommend.

While my physical changes are slow in coming, I’ve made huge strides behaviorally. Thanks to Coach T, of Charles and Shakira Unlimited whose weekly wisdom and guidance continue to push me further within, I’m exploring old beliefs and habits and restructuring my life to better reflect the new me that is emerging. When I look into the mirror, I’ve yet to see a slimmer face but there’s something in my eyes that I am loving.

Most of my decisions are now made based on my fundamental belief that every moment counts and every choice matters.  We’ve built upon that in my most recent coaching sessions, where Coach T and I spent a great deal of time examining whether I make decisions that are fueled by a need for short-term gratification versus long term fulfillment. My old eating habits had short-term gratification written all over them. When I consider the way that I was able to

justify eating just about anything, I must admit that short-term gratification was the rule, not the exception that it should have been. Giving in to a craving every now and then, in moderation, is not only OK but encouraged and a realistic part of a healthy lifestyle.

Acknowledging that decisions based on short-term gratification take me away from my goal and that those based on long-term fulfillment move me closer is already helping me to choose better.  On a recent trip to attend my nephew’s graduation in Georgia, for example, I made good choices.

Vacations, even mini-vacations, for me used to mean vacationing from everything, eating right and exercising included. I am pleased to say that not only did I eat well during my trip but I also made sure to exercise.

It helped that my family is fully supportive of my weight-loss goal. Besides my sisters-in-law making sure that I had the right things to eat, my niece and nephew joined me for my workout. (Thanks, Kenya and Nealon.)

What I’m discovering is that living a healthy lifestyle becomes easier by living a healthy lifestyle. Simply thinking about it doesn’t work. That’s akin to constantly participating in a dress rehearsal for a performance that never happens.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a one-moment-at-a-time deal that isn’t one-size fits all. For me, it involves making friends with — and not being discouraged by — a scale that doesn’t post the weight loss that I expect and passing up my sister-in-law’s homemade cheese cake for Greek yogart.

It involves taking my sore thighs to the track and accepting that, the more I show up, the slimmer they will become. And while I’m not dropping Biggest Loser type pounds — some of those folks have lost 20 pounds in one week — I am noticing a little extra space in my clothes because of lost inches.

Also, as my workouts become more consistent, I can actually detect my inner fitness diva trying to show up.

Charles and Shakira Unlimited is a comprehensive, spirituality-based life coaching program that inspires clients to live H.I.P. — Healthy, Inspired and Purposeful – lives. They may be contacted at  at 954-591-8542 or via Twitter at