Weighty Matters

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Goal-Setting Revamp

on February 1, 2015

When I dieted, I lived and died by the numbers.  Okay, that’s overly dramatic because, hey, I never actually died, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that I fixated on the scale number as the sole measure for my success.  (I originally typed that as soul measure which, in its own way, is also accurate.)

It wasn’t enough for me to say that I wanted to lose X number of pounds.  Oh no, I had to say things like, “I want to lose three-four pounds a week” or “Must lose 20 pounds before such and such date”.  I was ruled by this practice.  It has taken me a lonnnngg time to realize that not only am I setting myself up for unreasonable expectations because I always determine high numbers for the measure, but also in so doing, I was creating huge stress for myself.

Anytime I obsess over any aspect of my program and progress, I stress myself out.  It all becomes an exercise of wondering and worrying what my weight will be any time I get on the scale.  Then, if I didn’t hit what I projected, or didn’t think I would hit the week’s goal, I’d add negative feelings of disappointment, disillusionment, despair, self-loathing and other things to my stress.

Then, in true compulsive overeater/food addict form, I’d want to eat huge amounts of not-good-for-me foods to try to squelch those horrible feelings.

When I first started learning more about my compulsive eating disorder and joined OA, I learned to focus less on the numbers.  Instead the goal was to just follow my program one day at a time.  I worked on developing self-honesty as to whether I’d been abstinent of compulsive eating.  I didn’t set weekly or monthly goals for the number of pounds I wanted to lose.

I began to learn how to foster self-esteem in ways that were not connected to my weight and body size.  I wasn’t obsessed with numbers but with taking good care of myself through healthy, non-diseased eating.

I’m thinking about this a lot today.  I still haven’t gotten on the scale since returning from the cruise.  At first, this started because of pure avoidance.  If I gained weight while on vacation I did not want to know because I didn’t want to feel lousy about myself.  Now, a week later, this has shown me how, once more, I’ve become such a slave to the numbers as the measure of whether I’m in recovery.

That’s not the way to do this for me.  The measure of recovery and healthy eating is the process.  Am I following my program, maintaining my defined abstinence from compulsive overeating, making healthy choices?  Those are the things that matter.  If I’m not paying attention to those things but monkeying around, I could still end up with a good number on the scale – but it would be a false indication of the consistency of my abstinence and recovery.

In the course of writing out this blog and working through my thoughts, I’ve decided that I’m going to shove my scale under the dresser for the foreseeable future and go back to solely focusing on my daily behavior.   Look, if I do this one day at a time and build up long abstinence, I will lose weight.  That’s a given.  However,  can let it happen in a relaxed, stress-free, natural time frame, sans the obsession on the scale number.The commitment to abstinence is the single most important tool.   I need it to continue long term recovery.

I feel it’s important to point out that what is necessary for me is not automatically what is necessary for anyone else.  Not every person who is overweight has an eating disorder.  One size does not fit all when it comes to weight loss and healthier living.  I support every individual discovering what works and is appropriate for them and salute them as they follow their own path.

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