This morning, I woke up bright and early (not my thing, I assure you!) and hopped on my fancy scale (again, not something I normally do). The giant LCD screen read 300.6 lbs. Holy thunder thighs, Batman! But you know what? I did not have a melt down. I did not stare at the scale in bewilderment. I did not relive all those nights alone on my couch surrounded by take-out containers, candy wrappers, and empty ice cream tubs. I did not chuck the damn thing out the window. And perhaps, more importantly, I didn’t let that number ruin my day. Actually, I barely thought about it. I used to be terrified of the scale. The thought of stepping on one has kept me out of the Doctor’s office more times than I would like to admit. Today, though, I called a truce. Today, the scale became a trusted ally in this whole new challenge. The numbers that will flash on the screen in the coming weeks will keep me accountable and help me measure my progress.
I know I have a lot of weight to lose, but I have a plan. Plus, this isn’t just about losing pounds, or wearing a bikini, or being on the cover of Cosmo. I have made a conscious decision to change the course of my life. My life is going to turn out completely different because of the steps I’m taking today. The enormity of that far surpasses the amount of poundage I have to lose.
Trust me, though…I know that I won’t always have these days full of confidence and clarity. I know myself well enough to expect many, many emotional ups and downs. But I’m already ahead of myself. I’ve made a list of some of the challenges and potential setbacks that may trigger disaster and how I plan to cope with them or avoid them all together at least some of the time.
1. My habit of skipping breakfast– I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blah blah blah. But I have never been much of a breakfast eater. I never got into the habit as a child, and as a perpetually tardy adult, I tend to be rushing around in the morning readying myself for work instead of slowing down to eat a meal. Since I’m not a morning person to begin with, you can see how eating breakfast is quite the challenge. My plan is to make and freeze a big batch of healthy smoothies so I can have a ready supply of a decent breakfasts that I can guzzle in the car on my commute to work. I know it’s not a perfect plan, but my hope is that all of this healthy living will positively affect my sleeping patterns. I’m not saying I’ll magically morph into an Eager Morning Beaver, but perhaps I’ll be able to hit that snooze button less and have the time to eat a sit-down breakfast.
2. My habit of inhaling my food– Everybody knows that eating slower is a great way to savor a meal and to make sure you don’t overeat because of that whole “brain/stomach signals” delay. I WOOF down my food and before you know it, I’ve had seconds and thirds and end up unbuttoning my pants because I’m uncomfortably full. Then I’m totally guilt-ridden, decide I’m absolutely worthless and since I’ve fucked up already I might as well go the whole hog and eat a box of cookies. This time around, I’m going to make a real effort to eat S L O W L Y and wait a few minutes before having second helpings. I am going to try and be mindful of my hunger level and learn how to recognize true satisfaction– not too full, and not too hungry.
3. Exercising– Believe it or not, I don’t hate exercise. I actually quite enjoy working up a sweat and the burning and fatigued muscles the day after. But every time I try and lose weight, I get way too hardcore about exercising and end up overdoing it. I get so tired and sore, that I can’t keep up a regular routine or I manage to injure myself and am forced to not work out for a few days and never jump back on the activity wagon. This time, however, I’m starting out slow. My focus for the first few weeks is just going to be being more active in my daily life. Then I’m going to add 15-20 minutes of walking a few times a week and build slowly from there. I will NOT try and do too much too fast.
4. The discouragement that comes when the number on the scale doesn’t reflect the effort– This is a tough one. The couple of days leading up to a Weigh In day are always full of so much anticipation. I ALWAYS expect to lose, and when I don’t, or heaven forbid, I GAIN, the negative self-talk takes over. It spirals out of control and faster than you can say “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough,” I’m in my pjs on the couch with a half-eaten carton of ice cream. My tactics this time, include focusing on non-scale victories like eating well all week, exercising an extra few minutes, planning and preparing great meals all week, etc. Those small victories will not go unnoticed this time.
I am, by nature, pretty pessimistic. But that’s part of the reason I took the time to think about the things that tend to derail my efforts. I want to be prepared and this blog is part of that preparation. Being able to type out all of my fears, accomplishments, motivations, and setbacks and put them into perspective will hopefully provide that extra bit of self-examination and accountability that will keep me on this path.
So, Scale…it’s me and you. You’re not going to be the only thing I use to measure my success, and you’re not the bane of my existence anymore.