Lately, I've had a lot of life stuff going on. I don't want to get into details, but there seems to be change upon change sprinkled with uncertainty. I actually don't mind change as much as I mind the sprinkling of the unknown. When I have so much uncertainty in my life, I try and take control of something. And my default "something" is...dun-dun-dun...my weight! Shocking, I know. Somehow I feel as if I take control of my weight, I will create certainty out of the unknown.
In order to control the obsession, I have been practicing my no-scale, no-weigh philosophy for the last couple of weeks. That is, if I just don't weigh myself, I won't obsess over the number, so I stopped weighing myself a couple weeks ago. Every morning, I would ignore the scale and get into the shower.. As soon as I got out of the shower, I would turn away from the scale and shun it from my life as if the scale had let me down and disappointed me and could never again be trusted. I was doing great! Day after day I ignored it. If I felt it calling my name, I would go eat breakfast first because I do not weigh myself once I eat and drink something. Things were looking up. I thought my arbitrary goal of going 30 days without weighing myself would be a breeze...Then it happened. 6 days in, the scale lured me in. Just like an addict I thought- "Knowing my weight is not what makes me unhappy, it's my reaction. I can handle the number and not over-react. One time won't hurt" Well, I was right and wrong. I could "handle" the number because the number was on the low end of my normal weight fluctuation; however, the side effects of weighing myself were much sneakier and less forgiving.
I went on about my very early morning planning my classes and PT session; determining where and what I would do for my clients and for my own workout. My husband had his day off, and we had a lunch date plan to a wine bar I had been waiting for months to visit. I had to make sure I got my workout in before the wine and delicious food- and so began the obsessive thoughts. I went from session to session trying to get a run or workout in without success. The best I got was a workout while I was teaching a couple of classes. When I workout while I am teaching, I don't get to workout with the intensity that I would on my own, so I still felt as thought I didn't workout. My body thought otherwise: It was tired, worn and telling me to rest, but I decided I had to still do something more. When I got home, I planned on delaying my lunch date a little longer so I could got on a quick, hard 20 minute run. I kissed the hubby good-bye and headed out the door. I got about 100 ft down the road before I realized what was happening: Though the number on the scale was low, the obsession came back. I needed to do more, burn more, work harder, so I could "keep" that number or even stay below it! The 5 seconds it took to weigh myself were already causing me to calorie count, think through my every step, bite and sip.
After that day, I decided I would stick to the no-scale, no-weigh because I felt better and the obsessive thoughts seemed to dissipate a little each day I didn't weigh. How is going did you ask? Well...
First thing I did- "hide" the scale from myself. I knew where it was, but out of site=out of mind. Then I prayed over it to harness as much help as I could with my obsession. I went back to the no-scale/no-weigh and was determined to make it further than I did last time, and I did..I am celebrating the small victory, but it was as small as it gets, I made it 7 days. My weight was up 6 pounds! I didn't handle it as well as I did the week before, but I didn't do as badly as I could have. Obviously, I did not gain a genuine 6 pounds in a week. I over indulged all of my stress cravings during the week, so I was holding onto water weight. Although I could use logic to get me through that thought process, I still felt like a failure and fueled my additive thoughts- "See! If I don't weigh myself, then I could never maintain a healthy weight. How can I not weigh myself and stay healthy?!" OK, so I know from a logical stand point how to talk myself off the ledge. Here is logic: "You can maintain a healthy weight without weighing yourself, but you cannot maintain a healthy weight over indulging in everything everyday. Forgive yourself because life is a fiery mess right now and you are still worthy and valuable even though you gave into your stress cravings. Get back to your healthy habits and you will feel great- the lower number is just a side-effect!" Instead, I stressed, tried to control my eating and workout out and wound up feeling like a failure for the next two days. I even weighed myself again just to make sure my hypothesis was correct about the water weight (and it was). Again, I vowed to go back to not weighing myself. This time, my scale is going to my best friend's house. I have to kick this habit and I am not going to do it with the temptation calling from under my bathroom sink.
If I can just remember the truth. If we make more good decisions than bad decisions in our health, it all evens out. If we think of our health day by day, it is a recipe for stress and disaster. But if we think of it on a continuous stream of decisions over weeks, months, years, we will see there are good times and bad times-- Are you taking care of yourself or not?
If you, too, struggle with this issue, please stay tuned! I have more to come and even some support on it's way.