Thursday, November 15, 2012
Bottom line: It keeps me on track.
My son turned 2 last week, which means I have gotten on that scale nearly every single day for 2 years. I understand that a number doesn't define us and the scale is only one way to measure progress and Spark doesn't recommend it and yadda yadda yadda.
But we all have our own stories to tell. And different things work for different people. Here's my weight loss journey in a nutshell:
Basically I've been around 150 as long as I can remember. And even writing that is a lie. I've been around 155 as long as I can remember; 150 just sounds better. 5 or 6 years ago I knew I gained and needed help. I joined LA weight loss at 170, basically a weight watchers type place. I weighed in weekly. I feared that weigh-in. I would restrict calories for the few days before it. I would wear as little clothing as possible. I would skip the meal before I weighed in. And then I'd see a number I liked and lie to myself and say I lost weight. Then I'd go back to normal habits for a few days. Then the fear of the weekly weigh-in would creep back in and I'd start restricting again. Sound familiar? Sound healthy?
Somewhere around this time I found sparkpeople. And like so many of you, something clicked. I bought my own scale, I quit paying that awful place and I made some steps to become healthier. I read all the articles and followed the advice. Once a week weigh-ins on Fridays. But that probably wasn't the best choice for me because this was at a time in my life when I was going out a lot and weekends were full of food and drinks. I'd eat and drink, then every Monday get myself back on track. Sound familiar??!
Through all of this I got from 170 to 155.
Then I got pregnant and after my daughter was born I abandoned sparkpeople. (bad idea!) I braved the scale once and surprisingly liked the number I saw. I knew it wasn't accurate because my clothes didn't fit right and I didn't feel good. But I let the number lie to me and went on my merry way right into another pregnancy.
By 7 or 8 months pregnant I felt awful. I looked awful. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I never thought I'd become "that mom." I knew I had to make changes. I knew it'd be hard and I knew it was time to be honest with myself. I also knew I could do it.
I'm a number girl. I like data and I like tracking progress. So I stepped on the scale. After having my son I stepped on the scale again. And then I wrote it down. And then I did that again and again and again. Obviously the numbers were going down because I had just had a baby. But I was also being accountable and honest.
At 6 weeks postpartum, I went directly back to the gym. I've always liked working out. Now I had to figure out how to make it a priority with having 2 young children at home.
When the numbers weren't changing as much as I wanted them to, I learned more about nutrition. Then things really started to change. I stopped counting calories and stressing about a range. I gave up processed food and listened to my body. (But that's for another blog...)
When my son was 6 months old, I reached my 155 goal weight. I reassessed and kept going. I hit 150 and decided I wanted 145.
And I've been bouncing around those 5 pounds since July 2011. That's around the time that I started running longer distances (6+ miles). My goals changed from weight loss to endurance training. I dove head first into HMs, a full 26.2 and some triathlons.
Throughout my training I continued to weigh-in everyday. I knew my history. I knew how easy it was to put on a few. I learned how hard it is to maintain weight while running long distances. It's counter intuitive, but if you want to lose weight, running half-marathons may not be the best way to do it.
I have a calendar where I chart my workouts. I give myself different, cute stickers for different types of workouts. It makes me happy! I also write down my weight every single day. It's my way of being honest with myself. It's also a way to see patterns. After a long run, I am up. Wed-Fri I am usually lower. I compare week to week. I don't kid myself by thinking I lost a whole pound overnight. And I don't get upset when I am up 2 in one day. I do remind myself of what type of day I need to have to make sure I'm not "up" another 2 the next day.
The scale does not dictate my mood. Sure, it has gotten to me at times. But I remind myself that it is one tool. And one that I like. If I'm unhappy with a number, it's almost always because of choices that I made. And I have the power to make different choices.
Lately I have not been as "on" my nutrition game as usual. And I've skipped a few weigh-ins. On purpose. I didn't want to see the number. Uh oh. That alone should be a red flag to me. I know that I need to own it. The scale is a concrete alarm when I see 150.0. Time to get serious! And after 3 days back on track, making my go-to meals, I am back to 147.
Now, what I really want is to see that 147 again next Thursday. That is what tells me it's real. I don't trust one day lows. Doesn't count as a real loss for me.
Maintenance is hard work. This lifestyle is a serious commitment. It's so easy to backslide. But it so so worth it. It's rewarding and satisfying to get back on track. Instead of embarrassed, I feel strong. Instead of ashamed, I feel proud.
Isn't it funny how a blog can take on a life of its own? I didn't set out to give this whole story. And I certainly am not saying that this is what everyone should do. It works for me. I needed that reminder.
The scale reminds me to stop a backslide in its tracks.