Lessons From A 6 Year Old

This is my third son. He’s fun, energetic and learning to read.


The other day, we were working through his very exciting reader. You remember the ones: “Come, Rachel, come. See me ride Peter, see me ride. I can ride down. See me ride down.” I won’t torture you with anymore of that because I’m sure that you get the idea.

We were sitting at the kitchen table, and there were three words he kept getting stuck on. Here, down, and Rachel. I told him that he needed to really LOOK at the words and start to remember them. That way he wouldn’t get stuck on them every single time. He said to me, “But Mommy, sometimes I just can’t learn every single little word in just one day.” I sat back in my chair and looked at him. I nodded, and told him that we’d just take a break from reading for a bit and move onto math.

That little conversation stuck with me the rest of the day. What he expressed in his little six year old way is true of weight loss, weight maintenance, and a lot of life situations. “We can’t learn every single thing in one day.”

I wasn’t perfect during the 14 months that it took me to lose my 150 pounds. There were many days where I ate things I instantly regretted, didn’t exercise to my fullest potential, and took the easy way out instead of working my plan. I didn’t learn everything the very first day of my journey.

Why? Because just like learning to read, you don’t just “get it” all at once. There is a process involved, and sometimes part of the process is allowing things to percolate up to the surface as needed. I found this to be true for me as I was losing the weight. The main points of my plan were simple: Portions, Fat %, Exercise. But there were a lot more factors involved in the overall scheme of things. For example, how to handle certain social situations, what to tell people who asked what I was doing, when to buy new clothes, how much to lose, how to come back from mistakes, when to change up the exercise.

I didn’t just “get it” on the first day, or the second day, or even the third day. It was a process of learning, growing, and adapting to my new way of life. Much the same as my son was trying to express to me with his reading ability.

I wonder if you have gotten frustrated at yourself because you didn’t “get it right” all on the first day? If you have, I’d implore you to relax a bit, and understand that weight loss is a process, and part of that process is learning new things, one experience at a time.

An interesting thing happened two days after my son and I were working through that reader. He was once reading along and came to those hated words, “here, down and Rachel.” This time, he read them easily, without struggling at all. We had given the new lessons time to percolate, take hold, and come out. I’d encourage you to do the same thing. Give yourself time to learn the new lessons that you need to embrace. 

If I asked you what was the hardest lesson you FIRST had to learn while on your journey what would it be?  Diane

37 thoughts on “Lessons From A 6 Year Old

  1. Deniz says:

    To accept that all the changes I made were not going to be short-term changes, but changes for life. Once I really ‘got it’ I could move forward and learn to handle the bad times and slip-ups more rationally, without sliding back into the old ‘life ain’t fair’ mode and giving up the fight.
    .-= Deniz´s last blog ..Emotional barometers =-.

  2. Shelley B says:

    Hardest lesson? That I had to go from a “diet” mentality into a “lifestyle” mindset or else I would most likely regain all the weight I was losing.
    .-= Shelley B´s last blog ..Food! =-.

  3. Sue says:

    One step at a time.

    I was always setting goals that were so big and encompassed so many things. I’d start out on Monday saying, “Okay, I’m going to lose 75 pounds and work out every day and give up junk food!”

    Um, that thing you smell? FAILURE. Each and every time. I’d eat one off plan thing and it would evolve into skipping the workout, a binge, whatever. And then giving up. Until it started all over.

    For me, breaking my big goals up into smaller (attainable) steps is what has totally made the difference.
    .-= Sue´s last blog ..a little pre-birthday profundity =-.

  4. Monica says:

    Understanding that one mistake won’t completely ruin all I’ve tried to do so far. Logically I know it’s true. By the way, amazing that you homeschool.

  5. Jody - Fit at 51 says:

    Diane, I am still in the process!!! It has been a constant changing process the whole time with learning new things, learning how to do it right vs. the very wrong way & that the body really does need change in food & your exercise program throughout the whole journey which is life. I HAVE LEARNED THAT!

    As for the biggest lesson I had to learn: EAT & DON’T STARVE YOURSELF! I started out on that nothing but lettuce salads & not healthy fats or all that great real food I eat now. I think that is my best advice… get the food thing down right & don’t try to eat too few calories. It will only backfire.

  6. kat says:

    Hardest FIRST lesson?? I wanted to see results the very next day, but all I had to do was stick to the program and saw results within a month! What’s an extra 29 days or so right?!

  7. Leah says:

    I had the hardest time admitting that I needed to change how and what I was eating. I had no problem implementing exercise little by little, or even cutting back in certain areas. However, when I realized that I needed to get serious about my food choices I hated it and it was hard for me to do.

    It’s still a struggle and now I”m adding learning to stop eating when satisfied and not eat if I’m not truly, stomach-growling hungry.

    Great post and so true!
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Hot 100 Challenge =-.

  8. Emma says:

    I’m just beginning the process and reading posts like these is so helpful. Sounds like your little guy is a really smart one! Kids are great for putting things into perspective though, aren’t they?
    .-= Emma´s last blog ..One week =-.

  9. Lola says:

    Hardest lesson for me is exactly what you described. You don’t change overnight….its one small habit at a time until eventually you have a whole new idea of what normal is. And hopefully you love the process along the way and you can’t even imagine going back….
    .-= Lola´s last blog ..Fake It, Till I Make It =-.

  10. Ka says:

    The first lesson I learnt this time was to not give up if I messed things up one day, either by eating too much, or making the wrong food choices, or not exercising when I had to. In my previous diets I’d quit immediately when such things happened. This time I learned to start fresh every new day, no matter what I’d done the day before. And it made all the difference.
    Great post as usual, Diane.

  11. Jo says:

    Diane, you have such a wonerful way with writing and getting your wonderful points across!

    I always look at this as a journey, full of new learning experiences. And those new learning experiences are always popping up, whether I’m looking for them or not. My mind is constantly percolating, too. =)
    .-= Jo´s last blog ..Honest Scrap Award =-.

  12. Robin says:

    I’ve always been too impatient (I’m also ADD) and it’s made eating right and exercising so hard. It still does, I can’t seem to just take things one step at a time I want to do it all at once and today.

  13. Sweetie Pie says:

    Great post and good for you!! You’ve had a great success, and you have excellent perspective. Congratulations!

    I’ve lost 180, and am now in the process of trying to maintain that loss (and maybe shed a few more pounds… I’ve been wishy washy on that decision this year…). The hardest thing I learned was that I can’t be “perfect” all the time and maintain my sanity. I would often think I was doomed for failure if I happened to deviate from my daily points or calorie target or my workout schedule. I’ve really had to learn not to be so hard on myself, and to take my time. It has been a good lesson to learn, and one that has spilled over into countless other aspects of my life.

  14. Tina says:

    I’ve never been patient with anything especially weight loss. Reading blogs has really helped me to learn about the process and seeing that even 1 pound a week can really add up over a year.

  15. Biz says:

    Being diagnosed as a diabetic kicked me in the pants! My sister and I had just joined WW and I lost 30 pounds the first month, ALL while eating McDonald’s and cheezy beefs!

    Turns out the signs of diabetes is excessive weight loss and excessive thirst and frequent urination. I took the weight loss as “Wow, I should have joined WW sooner – I can still eat anything and lose weight!” And I was drinking more water so that’s why I was so thirsty and went to the bathroom all the time!

    Great post – love the wisdom of 6 year olds!
    .-= Biz´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Tony! =-.

  16. Sally says:

    What a great lesson. I am still learning some of the words on my wieght loss journey. I guess the first thing I learned was that I needed to love myself enough to want to the lose weight

  17. Leslie Erickson says:

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you so much for visiting and commenting on my blog today. This is my first time visiting yours, and I see you are a pro! Congratulations on your remarkable weight loss. I plan to read your archives and “catch up” with your story. Your before and after pictures are utterly astonishing, and very inspiring. I haven’t been so excited to read through a whole blog since I found PastaQueen! I appreciate your encouragement. I think I can get through tonight just from the wonderful support from the blog.
    .-= Leslie Erickson´s last blog ..Hitting the wall =-.

  18. The Crazy Woman Inside Me says:

    You’re so right about the learning process, Diane. The hardest and best lesson I learned was that I finally needed to accept and embrace the realization that this isn’t a diet of a few months, it’s a new way of eating and living for the rest of my life. That helps battle any frustration I face because it reminds me the frustration is just temporary.
    .-= The Crazy Woman Inside Me´s last blog ..Pardon my Clown Feet and Drag Queen Shoes =-.

  19. Staci says:

    Great post. I do have to remember that it will take time. I catch myself getting so frustrated sometimes because I feel like I work so hard, but there are no results. I just have to remind myself it does take time!
    .-= Staci´s last blog ..Update =-.

  20. Tammy says:

    The hardest thing was learning how to eat 1500 calories when I was used to a daily intake of 3-4,000. But it didn’t take long to realize what the low cal foods were and how to get the best bang for my buck.

    The second hardest thing was learning correct portion sizes….3 oz of meat? Are you kidding me? I’m the girl who can eat half a pork roast over the course of 3 or 4 hours, lol.
    .-= Tammy´s last blog ..Skinny Tammy Is Back!!! =-.

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