I’ve taken a break from the scale.
After running (literally) full speed ahead into my 2019 weight loss and exercise mission, I hit a wall. I felt good because I knew I was making the right choices, but my body hurt, I was stressed and I was anxious.
The long weekend was a perfect excuse to phone it in. At first it wasn’t intentional. It was nachos and wings for dinner. Then the cold came and I went into hibernation. Netflix and snacks galore.
There was a time when I didn’t care about the number on the scale, and I would continue to weigh myself even when I knew I’d gained weight. I’d step on the scale, close my eyes and think of the highest number I’d be okay with. It was usually higher than reality. It’s only been a week and somehow I’d redeveloped a fear of the scale. I know I’ve gained weight.
I mean… there’s no way I haven’t. I literally ate a share size bag of caramel m&ms in the airport Friday night.
So the scale fear is accompanied by food guilt. Perfect!
I’ve spent the last three years learning to be guilt free and getting over the all or nothing approach that the diet and weight loss industry preaches. And now, I’m feeling discouraged because it’s all come flooding back.
I know it’s really common to think this way. It’s why most people “start again tomorrow” after eating one bad thing that day. It’s why people go on crash diets or exercise excessively to make up for missing a gym day or eating “too much” one day. And, it’s why people dread getting weighed at the doctor’s office.
But this thinking is not healthy or productive. Not to mention, it’s not going to help me reach my goal of losing 25lbs this year!
I remember when I was in college and “needed” to lose 10lbs in 10 days before my sorority formal. I worked out every day, gave up alcohol, gave up sugar. I ate high protein low fat, and vegetables. I did it. But I stressed myself out so much that I started having dreams that my friend was forcing me to have milkshakes.
Who wants to live like that?! Not me. Not again.
I need to get out of this funk and I need to find balance. It’s called a lifestyle change for a reason. It needs to be sustainable.
So here’s what I’m going to do:
1. Get on the GD scale
Bite the bullet. Over and over again. There’s a reason for weighing yourself every day. It’s called exposure. At some point the associated stress and anxiety fades away. You don’t dread it, and the number simply reflects your mass, not your value.
2. Make the best choices possible, when possible
No one is perfect. Every day is not perfect. There are times when you’re not going to be able to eat as healthy as you are “supposed to” or you had planned to. By planning ahead you can combat difficult or triggering situations. But when you cant plan, you can choose to make the best possible choice when it comes to food. Go out to eat and get a salad instead of pizza. Or opt for a vodka soda instead of that frozen daiquiri.
3. Eat something, and let it go
But when push comes to shove… if you want that daiquiri, get it. Get two. Eat that waffle (and fried chicken). And then let it go. You wanted it. And that’s okay. It’s okay! No need to feel guilty. And the next meal, if you want to, make the best choice possible. Eating or drinking something unhealthy is not going to completely derail your journey – that is, unless you let it.
4. Stay connected
…to your body, your needs, your wants, and your support system. Notice how you feel when when you workout, when you don’t, when you eat something, or don’t. Be aware of your stress levels, your aches, your pains, how you feel, and respond. Do what you need to do to keep the balance. And that includes taking breaks.
5. Take a break
Taking a step back. Reflect and rest. Sometimes it’s just necessary! But don’t stop. When you feel ready, get back to it, and start from step 1.