Monday, May 28, 2012
Saturday is my regular weigh in day, but after the craziness that was my plateau, I swore off weighing in for two or three weeks. Truth be told, I was afraid that my weight might fluctuate again and I'd be back at my plateaued weight. Who needs that kind of stress on the way to better health?
I am still reflecting on the HBO Documentary on Obesity that I watched on youtube yesterday. In case you missed it, or don't have HBO, I provided a link to the youtube site in yesterday's blog.
There were lots of telling moments in the series, including one tearful woman who lamented that she couldn't find love because men can't get past her weight. Another man in his 70s lost the lower half of his leg to diabetes. The camera followed him to the doctor's office where the doctor examined his stump and a sore on his red, swollen remaining foot. When you saw his foot you knew that he would probably lose it as well. His wife said something like, "We were overweight, but not obese. We ate like everyone else." The couple drastically changed their diet after the diagnosis.
Another segment focused on obese children and how aggressively the food industry markets unhealthy foods to young minds. They also discussed school cafeteria food, the absence of playgrounds and grocery stores in poor neighborhoods, and innovative strategies for changing a child's environment to prevent weight gain.
Sprinkled throughout the segments were debates on the government's role in obesity, both good and bad. On one hand, they are subsidizing farmers that grow large quantities of crops that are processed into key junk food ingredients. But, farmers who grow fruits and vegetables get no government subsidies. The food industry has powerful interests in Washington D.C. and has killed numerous bills intending to change the subsidies. On the other hand, government has a role in building walkable communities that include parks, playgrounds and other amenities that encourage fitness. Most of these initiatives receive bipartisan support because they encourage people to take responsibility for their health.
What this show reinforced for me is that my weight is a byproduct of a series of small decisions I make day in and day out. Each decision seems small at the time, but together they have a cumulative effect on my health. So, if 80% or 90% of my decisions every day are good, then I will be healthier. Substituting a salad for fries, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking 10 minutes to the drugstore instead of driving, refusing that second portion of casserole, drinking a diet soda instead of regular. Baby steps day in, day out, every day. Keeping the Spark.
The weight loss process is slow, gradual and imperceptible. Like watching ice melt or paint dry, or a building under construction. It looks like nothing is happening minute by minute, but if you take time-lapse photos things really are changing.
So why WOULD I expect a drastic change day to day or week to week? It makes no sense, but I expect it anyway. If someone offered me $25 today or $50 if I wait a month, I'm the idiot that would take the $25 because I have no concept of delayed gratification. But delayed gratification is essential to weight loss success, so by hopping on and off the scale, I am destroying my ability to accept the process.
Will I be disappointed if I weigh in next week and there's little change? Hell yeah! I admit it. But I'm also missing the point. This process is building a healthier me. Eventually, one day, after weeks and months of consistent behavior, I will look back and realize my progress.