Put On the Big Kid Pants

Well, here it is January 2nd, and I was supposed to have finished this newsletter article weeks ago.  Luckily, I work with a loving staff that give me more than enough grace and have patiently waited for me to funnel all the thoughts swimming in my head into a coherent and concise essay.  You see, 2007 was a huge year for me.  Maybe it was this way for you, too?  In chronological order, I got married, moved into a new home (and soon began decorating), started my job at First Place, finished graduate school (praise Jesus), adopted a furry son from the SPCA, and passionately tried to do all of these things (marriage, home, job, training a dog) with perfection and a smile.  Many of you older and wiser than I am are likely chuckling to yourself and thinking, “Oh honey, perfection? You’ll soon learn!” Oh yes, I have definitely learned a lot, and the many lessons have left me very excited to start a new year with some experiential wisdom under my belt, as I am now well aware that book knowledge can only get you so far!

It was a definitely a year that required mature and grown-up “big girl pants”, as I often say and laugh about with my friends.  A big girl job requires big girl pants.  As does a big girl relationship, a big girl house, etc.  In order to make sure my big girl pants fit, I had to do some internal alterations and those are what I want to share with you this month.  As you wholeheartedly make resolutions this month or simply keep working on the ones you made in the past, I want to encourage you to focus on the “how” more than the “what”.  The “what” entails things like losing weight, exercising more, eating less, reading your Bible, and consistently attending your class.  The “how” includes setting goals, finding accountability, making a plan, rearranging your schedule, and other preparatory actions that lead to actually executing your goals.  So, what internal alterations are required for the big kid pants to fit and function?

First, resolve to seize the day, everyday.  You can make good choices every day of the week.  They may be small, but they count!  Each investment you make into yourself will provide compound interest in the form of breakthroughs and benefits.  You will most definitely have setbacks and blips along the way (c’est la vie), but one blip does not need to be treated like a bomb that’s destroyed your entire day or even your entire week!  Put those pants back on and keep walking.  Choose to eat better at the next meal.  Follow the impulse to get outside and walk on a beautiful day.  Just yesterday my husband and I were watching an episode of NBC’s The Biggest Loser.  We were deeply inspired by the contestants’ efforts to push themselves physically and decided to hop in the car, drive to a local park, and run hills.  On hill number five we could barely speak enough to say, “What were we thinking?”, and that was a good thing.  We finished fifteen of them, felt the amazing tickle of crisp air in our lungs, and enjoyed a beautiful view of the Houston skyline as we walked around the park afterwards.

Second, take ownership of your issues.  The sooner you do this, the sooner you’ll be apt to improve them for good.  No one else can change your life for you – you have to be the one to do it for change to truly stick! I believe many of us fool ourselves into trusting that once our external surroundings change – whether it be our friends, family, job, or neighborhood – we will finally be able to change ourselves.  Unfortunately, this can lead to quite a lot of waiting and little results.  Resolve to be the change this year.  Stop waiting and start acting – you’ll gain confidence to continue the journey with each brave step you make!

Third, seek the wise counsel of those a few steps ahead of you.  When I am struggling with something I often want to exclude outside eyes and ears from the situation.  The year 2007 taught me to wise up and let others in (with appropriate boundaries) to help flush out frustrations, pray up petitions, and walk out in the Truth.  This might be one of the hardest internal alterations as it requires humility, honesty with another, and real resolve to put into practice what you’re taught.  Fighting through struggles by myself with pride that I could “handle it” on my own only led to my having a teary breakdown in a leadership meeting one evening and a husband who wondered who he was married to at times.  Sometimes the best and most fruitful education is the one we receive from trusted friends and counselors so don’t cheat yourself for the sake of defensiveness or pride.

Next, prepare to succeed.  People who take on big kid tasks know they need to plan and prepare for what is ahead of them.  Dreams without support are nothing more than fleeting and flimsy castles in a very make- believe sky.  Give your dreams (and thus, yourself) the respect they deserve and prepare a way for them to become realities!  One of my goals this year is to become less busy and more intentional with my free time.  I am convinced my life can be richer and sweeter if I choose intentional living over irrational existing.  So, I am taking the next step by planning how to spend my weekends and evenings.  If you desire to start cooking healthy meals each week, plan your menus, prepare your kitchen, and get excited about achieving a very worthy goal!  Enthusiasm is just as important as to do lists and spreadsheets, so prepare your emotions as well as your mind to be geared up for greatness in 2008!

Lastly, big kid pants cannot be exchanged or returned.  All sales are final.  Besides, why would you want to part from them?  They lead to meeting milestones and crossing finish lines!  They elevate you through the ceiling of “I can’t” and “Oh well” to meet your potential face to face.  They are the most flattering pants you own and they never go out of style.  Find them, put them on, and I promise they will help you get where you want to go!

To good health,

Erin Dubroc, MPH, RD, LD
First Place Registered Dietitian

Erin Dubroc is the First Place Registered Dietitian.

Erin is a native Houstonian, blessed with a loving family and wonderful husband, Matt. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science from Texas A&M University in 2003 and has since been completing her Master’s in Public Health and Registered Dietitian (RD) program at the University of Texas School of Public Health in the Houston Medical Center. Her recent academic career has focused on theories and methods for designing, implementing, and evaluating nutrition and other health education programs.