On our Beck Team our lesson today was about getting ready for the weigh in. After years of stepping on the scale almost daily, and sometimes 2 or 3 times a day - I thought I was done with getting worried with weigh ins. I have read many articles about the scale only being one way of measuring your progress, and how it is much more valuable to look at those non-scale victories as a true measure of progress.
However as I got on the scale this morning and discovered I was up a pound I started having some of those old self-sabotaging thoughts creep back into my head. The loudest of these discouraging thoughts was - how is that possible? I have stayed on my plan everyday, I have exercised above and beyond what I planned. I should be down at least 2 pounds.
Then I thought how lucky it was that today was the day to prepare for our weekly weigh in which is tomorrow. Of course one of my first thoughts was how can I lose that weight in one day. Should I not eat anything, should I just drink water? All of those old thoughts started drifting through my brain.
Then I stopped and realized that this was just another one of those ways that the brain is trying to take me back down the old paths of bad habits. I quickly moved to change my thinking.
First I had to change the sabotaging thought into something that would be a positive, something that I would tell a friend if they were asking my opinion. My first thought was, what did I do this week that might explain a slight weight gain. Then I realized that I was switching around some foods that I thought would overall be better choices for my nutrition. And then the second thing I thought of is that I have started doing a lot of new exercises that I haven't done in quite a long time. So it is possible that I have been retaining a bit more water or am actually replacing fat with muscle. These are both possible explanations. And it is possible that the body is just in a stage of holding onto more water as it is moving through a stage of weight loss. There are many good explanations for weight fluctuations. So once I worked through this in my head I was able to tell my brain that these fluctuations are normal and that weight loss progress is better measured not on the scale, but by my non-scale victories of how I am able to stay on plan, how I am able to catch myself when old habits want to drift back in, how I am able to move my body more easily, how my clothes feel more comfortable. All of these are a much better indication of what is happening in my body than just a number on the scale.
So I took some time to ask myself why this mattered so much to me and I realized that in my life I am not a huge competitor. I don't care who wins and loses at games, I don't pay much attention to things like sports champions, movie stars, etc. But one thing that I am really competitive is with myself. I always want to do my best, get good grades, be a good person, etc. And I have also applied this to my weight loss progress. I felt such a disappointment because I felt like the scale was saying I hadn't done my best.
Well, that is all over for me. I am declaring my independence from what numbers are on scales. As long as over a period of time I have a downward trend, that is all that is important to me. Once again, I know I have been here before, this is not new to me. But this is the first time that I understood that this is just another way my brain is set in the old habits. What is that saying? Old habits die hard? Oh ya. Now I understand what they are talking about.