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Beware the numbers game!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beware the numbers game!

YES, the numbers can be our best ally as we watch calories and bump up our workouts and watch the scale...

BUT: these ARE only numbers and we have to not lose sight of the forest for the trees.

We're all here working on building a new & healthy LIFESTYLE! Don't forget to stop and smell those new roses we've all been growing for ourselves as we pursue better and better "numbers."

After all, think about this:

When one reaches your goal what numbers will you be watching then? One of the difficult aspects of maintenance once you've reached your goals is that the "numbers" on the scale don't keep dropping. The "numbers" on the tape measure don't keep dropping. The "numbers" on our blood pressure readings, triglycerides & cholesterol...they'll stop dropping too! The "numbers" on the weights we lift or the reps we do don't keep increasing...at least not by the leaps and bounds to which we've grown accustomed. How will you measure your progress and satisfaction then?

I think that illness and injury can help us in preparing for those days by forcing us to take stock of our accomplishments and to savor the SPARKED way of life that we've created for ourselves. With rare exceptions, we all will bounce back from such hurdles. And if we don't quite bounce back to the level we might have previously enjoyed? We can appreciate how our healthy lifestyle has helped us to avoid even MORE serious repercussions and value the skills and abilities we have.

Most of us are giving our workouts the best we can. And just as we tell our children, we need to tell ourselves as well: our best is MORE than good enough!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great blog - so true.

    Yet, I must say that after looking at your 'numbers' on your weight tracker ... YOU ROCK dude! emoticon WTG
    2696 days ago
    As someone who is on maintenance, I have to say that, personally, I still watch the numbers. I still weigh myself daily, and I still log my food and exercise. I know me, and I know that daily weigh-ins and logging my food keeps me accountable. If I don't do those things, THAT'S when I start to gain.

    However, the numbers are no longer a source of motivation for me. They are just check-in points. As you so rightly point out, at goal, we have to find other sources of motivation - fitness goals, contentment with how we look and how our clothes fit, recognition of all the benefits of our healthier lifestyle! Everyone is different, so the sources of motivation at goal will vary, but we must find other things that keep us motivated to maintain.

    Great blog! Thanks for the reminder!
    2706 days ago
    Thank you for this! I have an injury from long before I started Sparking and working out. I've been through the gamut of pain and ability levels with it, so I know exactly what you mean about what they can teach us about accomplishment. And yet I still needed this reminder right now! I am struggling with not being able to do more so that I can push forward just 10 or so pounds to my goal, and I am losing sight of the fact that I have made huge (65 pounds!) strides already despite the chronic pain of an injury and must remember to be proud of myself!

    I am also getting really hung up with the numbers game - mostly the darn scale - and need to hear that I should get back to focusing on my new healthier lifestyle, not just barely staying ahead of that stinkin' number.

    2709 days ago
    Maintenance means working to keep the line flat! That is not quite as reinforcing as a steady decline in in weight nor as reinforcing as the compliments made by friends and colleagues about how weight loss is showing.

    At Weight Watchers there is now monthly recognition for those at goal which is way more than ever done for lifetime members at goal in previous years. This recognition has helped my meeting friends keep their weight steady. I suggest a monthly reward for keeping your weight off could be just the ticket for reinforcing continued weight maintenance.

    2711 days ago
    Great insights, Don! I have to watch myself all the time, because I can get too hung up on what the numbers are saying.
    2711 days ago
    This subject is SO important. I tried to comment a couple of nights ago, but SP was doing maintenance on the site. I appreciate your discussion and the input from your other friends.

    I've been thinking a lot about this, since I am determined not to repeat my history of losing significant amounts of weight and regaining. Continuing to change the thinking and behavior that you speak of, to stabilize the lower weight permanently, is such a magnificent accomplishment that I will be forever proud of my efforts, regardless of what my future holds.

    Instead of thinking about what food I'll eat at my "goal met" party (or, in the old days, afterwards, when the guests have left, LOL), I'm thinking ahead to the excitement of seeing how the other half lives.

    Trying out my smaller, stronger body and "getting used to it" sounds thrilling. Being happy and continuing to grow and enrich my life in ways that my larger body and habitual thought patterns believed I couldn't is the goal. The measurement of success will be "how comfortable and happy I am at the lower weight." Another measurement will be "how well I deal with the reactions of others to my being smaller". That can open a huge can of worms.

    When I settle on what appears to be my lowest maintainable weight, I will continue to pay attention to "becoming SATISFIED with the weight that I have worked to achieve". I'll be getting old someday (almost 69 now), and I want to do it with a twinkle in my eye. As you have made clear, it's not about the food or the numbers as much as it is about the happiness and the growth. We will all decay soon enough.

    Sorry about nattering on, but you got me on a roll.
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    2713 days ago
    Good insights, especially as one approaches maintenance, you have to start changing your thinking and goal-orientation. Thanks for the reminder, Don!
    2713 days ago
    I have to admit I am such a numbers person, from the number on the scale to the number that is my jeans size.. My name is Kelly and I am a numbers addict. LOL I am not sure what I will do once i hit that goal, but I think it will be the enjoyment of the fact that I accomplished something great, and not everyone can commit to do.
    2714 days ago
    Thank you.
    2714 days ago
    I've gone off the numbers for a while myself. Didn't weigh for nearly a week. Haven't been tracking intake. Had a week or two off of workouts even, so no mileage, weight, reps, whatever.

    Oh, I so dig the numbers, and will be back to them (already am since I did a workout yesterday). But it's been an interesting reminder of what it was like to be "normal" and live life without tracking all those numbers all the time.

    Isn't the idea of Spark to do better at the diet and fitness portion of your life, then move on to challenge yourself in other areas as well? With that in mind, I think satisfaction at maintenance will come not only from enjoying how much better I feel and look, but how many things I get done in working toward hopes and dreams. Plus, hopefully, how many fun sporting activities that I can take part in with skill and grace. Wait, that's the best one I came up with yet... fun! That one is REALLY the point of all this... fun. That's a good thing to keep in mind, I think.
    2714 days ago
    Like Carrie, I'm a numbers person.

    I need numbers as an objective measure of how I'm doing. It's too easy to talk myself into believing that a gain is OK or minimal if I don't have a number to back it up.

    If I don't track my food and weight and body fat daily I tend to gain weight very rapidly. So I track them. Just in an effort to keep the numbers down.
    2714 days ago
    Words to live by. The road dips, rises and meanders. Get used to it. :)
    2715 days ago
  • CARRIE1948
    Interesting. I need to think about this. I'm a numbers person; I need something to monitor, even if that's a straight line
    2716 days ago
    Great Blog. Keep up the hard work.
    2716 days ago
    don -- i followed suzi's blog to yours. like suzi, i'm experiencing some health issues that have stalled my progress. it's been frustrating and i've been disheartened, but reading your blog forces me to remember where i've been and how i got to the place i am today. i have to believe i will recover more quickly because of my efforts to become healthy before i became injured; that this could be so much worse. i may not be able to exercise, but all i've learned to this point will not fall out of my head. i can control my eating and i can control my attitude. i can still be sparkalicious. 'tis but a hiccup.....

    thank you for the insightful (and timely) blog.
    2716 days ago
    Great blog, very helpful. I need this shift in thinking right now! emoticon
    2716 days ago
    Great point. I personally have been working at being happy with the accomplishments I have already made and at not being perfect. I have stalled, but I know that I will make more progress and I weigh much less then I did at the beginning of this year. The numbers I will strive for is healthy numbers.
    2717 days ago
    this is what i needed this morning, it brought a tear to my eyes!

    Thank you Don!
    2717 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
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    2717 days ago

    Thank you for this Blog. It is helping me a lot at this time.

    Thanks good friend for the reminder.
    2717 days ago
    emoticon I've printed this blog so i can remember your wise words.
    2717 days ago
    I agree with you, well said. All the best. emoticon
    2717 days ago
    Wow, Don, this is timely. While I am not at the end of my journey, I am already having a battle with the numbers. The scale won't budge and I am not far enough in to be experiencing a plateau. I think it is more like I am building muscle. The scale is not moving, but I am getting more trim. I only do measurements, besides weight, monthly so it's not time for that. I have been thinking if I am this frustrated this early what DO I have to look forward to and HOW will I define the maintenance phase when I arrive. Thank you for such an insightful blog!
    2717 days ago
    Wise words indeed, Don! One of the hard things about maintenance is that there is not that dramatic feedback from scale or tape measure and if you don't change your goal strategy it's easy to regain!

    2717 days ago
    I especially want to be reminded of this line: "We can appreciate how our healthy lifestyle has helped us to avoid even MORE serious repercussions... " I get so focused on NOW that I forget that the good choices I currently make will likely make a difference years from now. (I'm thinking lately about the converse to that, how the bad habits I got into years ago still plague me today.)
    2717 days ago
    Very well said...I use my numbers to help train myself to head for healthier selections...but they don't possess me....
    2717 days ago
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