It’s inevitable when you start anything new that there will be triumphs and also some low points. Hopefully, the triumph outweigh the lows, but sometimes it’s hard to tell in the moment. The lows tend to feel like bombs and the highs just kind of get lost in the dust.
So how do we manage and keep perspective during the lows so that they don’t completely set us back?
I have a personal story to share, and I’m sure some of you, if not all, can relate. This past winter has been a pretty cold one and I ate a little more treats and yummy dinners out than I ordinarily would like, and since I’m not a super human that doesn’t gain any weight when I indulge a little more than usual, I gained a few pounds. Not the end of the world. Shit happens. The point that matters is what happened next. As we approach on spring and summer and the clothes get a little less bulky and the weather gets warmer, I naturally trend towards wanting to eat more lighter foods like fish, salads, fruit, etc. It’s just the way I’m designed. I crave less heavy foods in the summer, so I never think too much about it in the winter if I gain a few lbs because it always evens out. It’s part of my natural cycle in eating.
But I did notice that over this winter, I was stuck reading text books (getting my Masters in Clinical Nutrition! All to better serve you, my dears (said in the witch voice from one of the Disney Villians)). But suffice it to say, I was sitting a lot more than I was moving. But that all changed about 2 months ago when I started making sure to carve out time to workout.
So here I am, eating a lighter fare and working out more, so I would naturally assume that I would lose some poundage. But to my shock the other day when I stepped on the scale for the first time in months, I hadn’t actually lost any weight since the last time I weighed myself.
Note: I don’t weigh myself often, in fact, I would probably say that I only weigh myself like 3 times a year…if that.
When I saw the number on the scale was higher than expected, I immediately felt pretty shitty. Damn, I thought I had been doing “so well”. Here I was working out, eating lighter, and not movement. What gives?
Insert a moment of self loathing.
Quickly followed by a reality check.
The number on the scale doesn’t matter.
My clothes were fitting better, I was more active, and I was feeling great. So why do I care what the scale says? There are so many reasons why the number on the scale doesn’t budge at first. Muscle gain for starters, hormonal issues, weight can fluctuate throughout the day by a few pounds so why do we hold this number with such high value?
My personal thought is because my expectations didn’t meet my reality. I assumed that I had lost like 5 pounds which isn’t always realistic. The best measure for progress is always in the way we feel.
Here are a few pointers and questions that I asked myself so I didn’t spiral into a numbers obsession.
- Are you feeling better about the actions you’re taking?
- Do your clothes fit better?
- Are you being honest with yourself?
- Are you actually eating better and making working out a priority?
- Have you lost any inches on your body?
If you’re answering Yes to at least 3 of these questions, then put the scale away and forge on. I know, I know… but the scales don’t lie. But oh to the contrary…. They actually can. The number on the scale is definitely your weight, but other than that, it doesn’t give us any more information about your body and your health.
The best measure will always be how you’re feeling.
Keep that as your point of reference. It’s certainly the healthiest for your soul and mind and with keeping forging through with the activities that make you feel better about your body and self are the activities that will lead you in the direction of your goals, I promise.
So, what did I do? I didn’t give up and start eating cookies because nothing works anyways.
I put that scale away in a dark corner and vowed to not take it out because ultimately, it’s not the only measure for my successes and if it makes me feel badly, who needs that around? It’s not serving me.