Weighty Matters

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Staying in the Day

I have a bad habit of pressuring myself with big expectations when it comes to my weight loss performance.  Surely this is part of a diet mentality, but sometimes it feels like big wishes while other times it could be setting myself up to fail.  I’m not sure but I know that I have to stop.

The root of this is my obsession with weighing myself.  I’ll get on the scale before showering or eating anything in the morning and then again before I go to bed at night.  My mind set is somewhat different, depending on what stage I’m in for the effort.  When I’d first start a diet and was going great guns, or right after weight loss surgery, I just wanted to weigh myself alll of the time, as if I could physically watch the pounds disappear from my body and just needed the digital evidence before my eyes.

When things go great, this is positive reinforcement.  Look, I lost a pound.  Hooray!  That’s great.

Then I start calculating progress in my head and projecting where I want to be, or where I could be a few weeks or months into the future.  I set goals based more on “oh please, that’s where I want to be” rather than giving any thought to what’s practical and possible.

What eventually happens is that I veer a little off course, or my body doesn’t stay on the schedule that my mind determined.  I get upset with myself.  A little depressed.  Air leaks out of my motivational balloon.  My mindset gets less positive.  Things can go downhill fast.

I’ve had a string of really strong days but I can already see that I’m falling into that bad habit again.  Too much weighing.  Too much playing “what if” and calculating how much weight I possibly could lose by such and such date.  This game goes like this… “What if I lose two pounds a week?  That’s eight pounds a month, or thirty pounds in four months.”  Oh, but wait.  I don’t stop there.  The thought process goes, “But if I lost 10-12 pounds in a month, then I could lose almost 50 pounds in four months!”  Gradually, the expectations get larger, more improbable, and the pressure increases.  I lose my focus on what I need to do today with each meal.  Projecting into tomorrow, next week, next month or whenever, does not help me shore up the foundation of right now, which is what I need to get to tomorrow.

I like to think that weighing myself daily keeps me honest, and twice a day gives me an emotional boost.  While these things could sort of work positively for me sometimes, honestly, there is more potential for screwing me up in my head.

My recovery program emphasizes One Day at a Time.  When times are challenging, it could get even more immediate, like One Meal at a Time.

I need to stay in the day with my program.  This is a process and not an event.  It’s a journey.  It isn’t a diet.  It’s my life — lived in health and recovery.

Most of the time the tools of the program are things that we do.  In this case, the next tool I need to add to my kit is to stop doing something… weighing myself so frequently.  It is almost as scary to think of doing this cold turkey as it is to give up a certain food all together.  I am afraid that it will stress me out too much to right now commit to only weighing myself once a week.  I’m going to gradually reduce my dependency on that digital display as a measure of my success.

This requires faith in myself and in my program.  I know, I know, that if I follow my food plan and keep my abstinence one day at a time, I will not only be a lot more serene and happy, but I will also lose weight.  I need to free myself of a time schedule for the weight loss and just keep going day by day by day.

Just like I’m making sure to commit my food by typing it into a digital note on my phone every  morning and then logging each meal on My Fitness Plan after I eat it, I’m going to make this commitment in writing — okay, in typing.

For this week, I commit to weighing myself only three times:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings before breakfast.  My focus will not be on what I weigh, but what I need to do every day to stay abstinent, follow my food plan, and nurture my recovery.  No matter what the scale number says on one of those mornings, I will not give into the temptation to weigh myself again at night, or the next morning.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings only for the week.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

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Scale Separation Anxiety

Holy cow.  I weighed myself one final time this morning because, for all of my brave talk yesterday, I wanted, needed to know my number before I embarked on giving up the scale and not focusing on the number.  Oh sure, if I’d been really strong I wouldn’t have gotten on the scale this morning, but I caved.  I’m glad that I did because I received the reassurance that I did not gain weight on my cruise.  So, Booyah for me on that point.

After I saw the number, I got off of the scale and nudged it under the dresser.  There it will remain.  I am determined that I am not going to weigh every day, or even once a week.  I think I should go for 30 days of abstinent living and not weigh myself for a month.

Can I tell you that the thought of going that long tenses me up?  I haven’t even gone a regular 24 hours without weighing myself and I’m already feeling some separation anxiety.

This is ridiculous.  Clearly I am even more obsessed with my weight number than I realized — and I thought I’d realized that I am pretty damn obsessed.  Friends, let me tell you.  Feeling this stress and tension drives home the point that I really need to take this action and break my scale number addiction.  In appropriate doses, the scale number can be a healthy measure of progress.  What I’m doing, this fixation, is not healthy.  So, changing the behavior is, I think, a step in the right direction.  I am even more determined to focus my attention and effort on eating in an abstinent manner — making it my daily goal to be abstinent for the day, each day, one day at a time.

Abstaining from compulsive overeating is the essence of my recovery.  Losing excess weight is the happy extra benefit.  (Hah — can I be my own friend with bennies?  Bad joke.  Sorry.)

Okay.  Here we go.  I’m going to make a commitment.  I honestly don’t know if I can hold out for a whole month, so I’m going to shoot for a shorter commitment but still one that’s a significant amount of time to count.  I will not weigh myself again until Monday, February 16th.  Two weeks.  I can do this.  Instead of obsessing over my weight number, I will concentrate on my abstinence and recovery.  Every day.  One day at a time.

By the way, I had a great abstinent day today.  I don’t want to let my scale issues cloud the acknowledgment that today was a good food day.

Tomorrow, I wake up and do it again.

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