Oops, now that Ghostbusters song is going to be stuck in all our heads, right? Sorry about that. So, a few things have caused me to have an "F the scale" week or two. Um, by "F" you know I mean forget, right? What?! You thought I meant that other F word? I am shocked, I tell you, shocked
So, here is the deal. My scale is messing with my head a bit and I know I am preaching to the choir here, so I won't go on about it. I don't base the value of my life on a stupid set of numbers but it is a handy little tool for tracking one area of my health so, it does have some effect on me. According to the
, I have made no progress for months. Random comments over the past few days have made me think this may not be the whole story. First, after a school play in which my little darling portrayed an enormous spider (sorry to the arachnaphobes - you would NOT have appreciated the costume I actually managed to create), I helped another mom carry chairs from one building to another. The other building was across a playground and up some stairs so it required a bit of effort. At one point, she looked around and said "why are two small women doing all the work when there are dads just standing around?" Well, I was thrown by her comment about "two small women" so I did not have an answer. Oh, she is referring to ME and herself. Weird. I did have to laugh when, shortly after that, one of the dads said "oh, good, you are done carrying those chairs - I was starting to feel guilty". Yesterday, I stopped by our neighborhood market to buy a few things (the store where I used to load up on binge foods). I bought a few snacks but nothing crazy. The young woman behind the counter said "you look fantastic". WHAT?! I was dressed in workout clothes, no make-up, and my hair in a ponytail and, let's face it, even all dolled up "fantastic" is a distant memory, Sparkly people. She must have noticed my surprise
(my surprise face looks a lot like my shocked face and neither are fantastic). She said she could really see a difference in my appearance and I looked good, i.e. healthier and fitter. She then told me her mother and sister are trying a new diet which does not allow them to eat protein and if you know me at all you know this made my head want to explode
so instead I told her about Sparkpeople. Finally, this morning, as I was running with my neurotic but loyal and cute
a mom I know, who is young and cute and fit (actually, they all are because I am 52 and the mother of a second grader so that pretty much renders every mom younger and cuter and I don't begrudge them that, one bit, thankfully) stopped me on the trail. She said "I have been meaning to tell you how great you look. I can especially see it through here" and then she made that gesture with her hands, about rib-cage level. Okay, something is definitely happening to elicit these comments. After spontaneously hugging her, twice, I ran off with a new spring in my step. It made me think. Oh, while I have been focusing on chubby arms and legs that, while stronger certainly, remain very well insulated, apparently other parts of my body have been visibly affected by exercise. I realized that while my belly hangs on for dear life (though not to the degree it did 30 lbs ago, for sure) my ribs have made a return - a bit of a gentle curve has replaced the roll that once resided there. Huh. Who knew? Not me, since I was a bit focused on the areas where I do not see change. I don't think of myself as a "negative Nellie" but I have had friends tell me I am too hard on myself. So, do I tell you this to brag? No, not really - not bragging, just reporting. The reason I am telling you this is to say that even if you struggle, as I do, with the food side of this equation, all is not lost. I have said from the get-go that my focus is strength more than weight loss but at times I have felt like I take this too far, and hide behind this philosophy to avoid some of the discomfort that comes from reining myself in around food, from dealing with my compulsions and disorderly eating. However, I actually have made some progress in that area. Because I exercise so often, I do think of food as fuel more often than I did in my "fat and getting ever fatter" days. I don't exercise as a direct way to lose weight, but I do enjoy the fact that it helps my metabolism to operate more efficiently, and that it gives me a healthy way of sorting through emotional anxieties that, left unchecked, will show up as voracious cravings for simple carbs disguised as actual food. So, keep putting one foot in front of the other (preferably at a fairly rapid pace so your heart and your lungs are reminded of how vital they are). Challenge your muscles. Challenge your thinking. Go a little further, a little faster, a little longer, a little more often than you think you can. You never know. Just when you think that the hard work only shows on the inside (where it is most important, of course), along comes some proof that yes, the outside is shaping up a bit, too. I have to say, a little positive recognition can offer some additional motivation to get out and enjoy the neighborhood.