Weighty Matters

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Different Measures of Success

After a wonderful weight loss in the first two weeks of the new plan, I’ve had a frustrating week.  I’m still carefully following the plan.  However, I not only haven’t lost weight, I’ve gained a couple of pounds.  There might be a couple of things factoring into my body’s reaction.   I did three challenging rowing workouts this week.  I wasn’t great early in the week with drinking enough water.  My digestive system has been extremely sluggish.  Even knowing all of these things and absolutely knowing that I have not deviated on the plan, it’s hard to not be disappointed.

I will give myself permission to feel frustrated and disappointed.  However, I am determined to not let it throw me off of the wagon.  We already know that I have an unhealthy obsession with the number on the scale.  I cannot afford to let that be the only, or even the main, measure of my success.  It is definitely a great time for me to reconnect with Non-Scale Victories or NSVs.

Here are some of my other successes from the past week.  I went to a business dinner last Tuesday and, on Wednesday, we ordered from a restaurant for lunch one day.  At the dinner, I bypassed the dinner roll and the white rice and only ate foods that are on my plan.  For lunch, I did not order my favorite sandwich.  Instead, I ordered a great wedge salad and supplemented it with protein I brought from home.

I really, really worked hard at each rowing class.  Not that I don’t work hard every time, but these three classes included some challenges we haven’t tried before.  On Friday, when doing sprints, I hit a personal best on power – hitting 222 watts of power on several strokes.

I’ve faced temptations — then turned my back and walked away.

Even today I went to a big luncheon fundraiser.  I declined a cocktail.  When dessert came, I ate the whipped cream and fresh berries (both on the plan), took one forkful of the cake and then stood up and placed the plate out of my reach.  Later one when took a trip to the supermarket, I cruised by all kinds of food items that I would normally buy and eat.  Instead, I stuck to my list and that was that.

Although I wish the number on the scale would go back down, I can see the overall weight loss.  I can also feel that even just 11 pounds — or 8 with the weird gain – has reduced the pressure on my right knee.  I have less pain in that joint.  That’s huge.  Last month I was so depressed by how much and how frequently my knee hurt.  To be aware of the improvement is not just a physical thing.  It’s a real mood booster.

Three weeks into working a strong food plan, and working it so well, creates such an improved attitude.  OA has a saying that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.  Alleviating the compulsive overeating is a relief.  I feel better about my plan, my progress and, yes, about myself.  This, my friends, is a NSV beyond measure!

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Changing Lifestyle

The process of changing a lifestyle is more important than reaching a goal or measuring a performance. – Theodore Isaac Rubin

This quote was part of my daily reading the other day.  It really summed up what I continue to struggle with  in my recovery.  I know that my recovery is all about changing my lifestyle from unhealthy and sedentary to healthy with physical fitness and activity.  Yet, all too often I still measure my success in whether I strictly adhered to a rigorous protocol of food choices and what the number says on the scale.

These issues battle for control in my head all of the time.  The one that is winning on any given day all too often determines how I feel about myself.  When I focus too much on my weight by number or whether, goodness sake, I actually treated myself to some pasta at dinner or a single cupcake for dessert, I send myself right back into the diseased thinking of “You failed.  You ruined today.”

When I focus on how much I’ve achieved with my overall lifestyle change; when I embrace that I am SO much healthier in the way that I eat, the food choices I make, the physical activities that I enjoy doing, the adventures that I explore; I feel so much better emotionally, mentally and spiritually too.

I need to cultivate positive reinforcement for my lifestyle change.  I need to notice when I have a good, balanced day.  I also need to be mindful about how I talk to myself or quiz myself.   Did I choose the things I ate with care, or did I eat mindlessly, driven by compulsion?  Was I in balance in the actual food choices – healthy, fresh, natural most of the time and not so much fatty, low-quality, over-processed foods?  If I ate anything compulsively, or over-indulged at some point in less healthier food choices, I shouldn’t go on to castigate myself.  Nothing is served by mentally berating myself.  I can look at the day objectively and treat myself with love, understanding, and a re-commitment.

Was I physically active?  I don’t need to march a 5K every day, but some part of my day needs to include some sort of activity — walks with the dogs, Tai Chi, a workout DVD, a bike ride.

Consistent commitment to the healthier choices strengthens the foundation of my improved lifestyle far more than obsessing on the scale numbers or the size on the tags of my clothes.  Do I feel good, strong, and energetic?  Am I peaceful and happy in my heart?  Those are the things that matter.

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