Lessons Learned

In my post ‘A Necessary Detox’ I announced that I was not going to weigh myself for a month. I hoped a detox would help me to crowbar my emotional state away from the numbers on the scale.

Today was weigh-in day.

When I woke up, the scale was the first thing on my mind. My heart was pounding before my feet hit the floor. I mean pounding.

Successful detox? Not so much.

This morning, I discovered that I lost four pounds. That’s fine. It means I lost the two that I put on (precipitating the detox) and shed two more. I’m still in the 5 pound range (140-145) that I aim to maintain.

Staying off of the scale didn’t cause the dreaded yo-yo.

But, I have to admit that the experiment was a complete failure.

I thought that staying away from the scale would make me care about it less. Instead, I developed a full-blown fear-driven obsession. I was so afraid that I would return to the scale and find a true yo-yo (gaining 10+ pounds) that I became punishingly strict with myself all month long as I attempted to silence the fear.

When I’m especially strict, I’m not gentle with myself. My thought processes went something like this: “How many blueberries did I just eat? I bet it was more than 1/4 cup! That’s more than I budgeted myself for the afternoon! Stupid!! I’m going to pay for that on weigh-in day for sure! I better get back to the gym even though I’m not feeling well.”

Wait… wasn’t I supposed to be ‘detoxing’ in an effort to stop beating up on myself?

This morning, when I saw that there had been no significant change, I felt certifiably ridiculous. I have been driving myself to distraction for no reason.

Attention to metrics feels like having a good grip on the status of my health. Avoiding the metrics led to fear rather than the sought-after empowerment.

So, I’m going to go the other way and see if it’s any better for my mental health. I’m going to weigh myself if I have the impulse to do so. If I need a little reassurance that I’m not going off track, I’ll weigh in. But, there will be no set weigh-in time. No more Mandatory Mondays.

Maybe over time I’ll shed the fear.

For now, I need to acknowledge that I live with a daily fear of losing what I have worked so hard for. I think maybe I need to be ok with that, and give myself time. I’ve kept 100 pounds off for about 7 months. Hopefully, when I’ve kept it off for 7 years, it will be so second nature, I won’t need to think about it.

Until then, I’ll settle for the wisdom of trials and errors.

7 thoughts on “Lessons Learned

  1. Your self-discipline is remarkable, K. — and it is matched by your honesty. Thank you for writing fearlessly about how hard you’ve been on yourself, how much fear you’ve contained, during this month of exploration. I was reading Jon Kabat-Zinn tonight, and this jumped out: “There can be no resolution leading to growth until the present situation has been faced completely and you have opened to it with mindfulness, allowing the roughness of the situation itself to sand down your own rough edges.” Mindfulness is the skill of noticing the present moment without judgment. Judgment, in this case, isn’t wise analysis, it’s that snap-to negativity that prevents us from seeing clearly. I love your blog and wish you well in your settling in to a new relationship with your “metrics.”

  2. I was checking my aol email today and came across a story on weight loss and I clicked through all the “success stories,” choosing not to stop and read any of them, just looking at the pictures….until I saw yours. I thought to myself “wow! she’s beautiful!” and saw your before pic and thought ‘she has the same shape as me!’ And i clicked on “your story.” Funny thing— we have a lot in common. My daughter will be 3 next momnth and my son (i believe you said you had a son after your daughter) is 16 months. I have yo yo dieted on weight watchers for SOOOO long and have gotten to a place now, after my 216 post baby weight–that i am done. I am ready to be the person I deserve to be. I’ve gone from 216 to 171 and i’m here now. I eat well, exdercise and as i just read in your blog…i swore off the scale. I had to stop weight watdhers because the dweekly weigh in has become an obession of mine. I have swore that I won’t get on the scale until august 1st. but after reading what YOU wrote, im worried I will feel the same way as you do. I’m going to be aware of what you said and your experience in NOT weighting in aon a sometimes daily (bi-daily!)basis…and maybe I can offer YOU someinsight at the end of my month. YOu know as I do that we can’t be slave to the scale but I need to find a better way. I’m feeling and seeing the difference in my determination and shape, but I hate that feeling When i get on the scale and see minimal or no difference and decide “why did i work so hard for such a small change in number?”…anyway, I’d keep typing but i’m typing blindly as my computer is not letting me see what i’m saying AS I type so iprobably have a million typing erros. I appreciate you’re writing and empathize more than you probably know. You look amazing. I hope you FEEL good and please know that your post has inspired me. f the 300 pictures, i’m gladd Iclicked on yours. It was exactly what I needed at this very. moment. Best to you 🙂 kelly

    • Dear Kelly,
      I’m so glad that you came around! Congratulations on your amazing transformation! I’m so glad that you’re paying attention to taking care of your emotional state around the whole process. I hate the Weight Watchers weigh-in requirement. I could never! I would really love to hear how your month off the scale goes. Hope it works for you! Please come back and share the things you learn along the way. GO, girl! Keep on prioritizing your health!

  3. I made my husband hide the scale today! Oh my GOD, I swear that thing calls my name! It’s in the bathroom next to my daugther’s bedroom…whenever I go upstairs to get her up in the morning, I have to give myself a serious pep talk to NOT get on the scale! WHY does that damn number have so much POWER?? Seriously–POWER. It can make me HAPPY it can make me depressed, sad, angry. It’s a NUMBER. Yet, that number holds so much value to me. I really, really hate that. And you’re right–the weekly weigh in—i just can’t do it anymore. Anyway, I’m going strong…i said I would weigh in August 1st, but I start teaching again Sept. and I think I may just push through this summer til school starts and see how much of a transfomation I can have (stypois–my computer isn’t letting me see what i’m typing again, sorry) I was thinking about chopping my hair if i reach my 157 goal 🙂 (it’s the lowest ive EVER been since like, middle school (i’m 30 now 🙂 I’ll keep you opsted! Keep inspiring!

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