Why I don't weigh myself
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I don't know what the optimal, healthy weight is for me. I've always been overweight -- just a little when I was a kid and teenager, but I got progressively heavier through adulthood.
When I started to work on losing weight a few years ago, I had a scale. I weighed myself every day, sometimes several times. I couldn't stop, even though I knew it wasn't helpful. My focus shifted from my healthy food and exercise choices to the numbers on the scale. That just felt wrong, and eventually, I got rid of the scale.
A couple of years ago, I lost 40 pounds (and kept most of it off!) I lost the first 20, and then months went by without any opportunity to weigh in. I used the scale at my physiotherapist's office, and I still remember the shock of seeing that I was 40 pounds down! FORTY POUNDS! I'd like to have that kind of surprise again. Next week, I'm going to weigh myself when I have dinner at a friend's house. My clothes are much looser, so I'm looking forward to a DELICIOUS surprise when I hop on their scale.... WOO HOO!
The healthy habits that helped me to lose that 40 pounds have mostly remained. Now I'm ready to do the work to get down to my body's natural healthy weight -- and my body will decide what that is.
My brain gets to decide what, how much and when I eat. It gets to decide about exercise, sleep, water, de-stressing techniques. It gets most of the decisions. But my body has the final call; it decides whether to let go of fat or not. If I'm stressed out, my adrenal glands will secrete extra cortisol, which can lead to weight gain even without an increase in caloric intake! Cortisol production is beyond my conscious control. All I can do is remain conscious of my stress levels and actively work towards reducing stressors and their impacts.
Whatever weight I am, I'll still be me -- the same insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, the same me. A number on a scale does not define me; it never could! My actions and choices are what make me who I am.
Stepping on a scale is just one moment. Every day, I make hundreds of choices (maybe even thousands; I haven't really counted!) and those choices add up. Those choices have created my body: my muscle strength, posture and body fat composition. It took years to get here. It could take a long time to get to my perfect weight. I'm focused on the immediate present, on what I do in each moment, and I'm also focused on creating habits that will sustain me for the rest of my life. It's too much distraction to focus on what I might have lost in a day or a week! I can't afford that kind of divided attention; other things are so much more important!
The way I am eating now is AMAZING! I feel so healthy and energized. I eat exactly what I want, whenever I want. No deprivation. Even if I weren't losing weight, I'd want to keep eating like this, because I am really listening to my body and eating the foods that sustain me. The foods I crave have changed. Sweets repulse me a little now! WTF?!?! Sometimes I get confused; who is this person who wants blueberries instead of a cookie? It's ME! Hee hee!
Yeah, I'm still working on increasing exercise, but since I mostly walk and bike everywhere, my baseline fitness is actually pretty good. I've just asked two friends to join me in training for a virtual 5K race, and we're starting this week! Baby steps, and celebrating every step!
This weight loss journey is a paradigm shift. It's about choices. It's about getting stronger, being more active, increasing endurance and flexibility, nourishing myself and feeling good about everything I eat.
Ok, I admit that I want to wear smaller clothes, be more toned, look better in a bathing suit -- all of that. Absolutely! But ultimately, above all else, I want to be healthy and happy and take exquisite care of myself. A scale can't measure that.