Okay, so you’ve quit bingeing and you’re eating better and sleeping longer and moving more and you’ve been doing this for WEEKS NOW and you get on the scale and holy S^#$! THAT!!! THAT NUMBER RIGHT THERE - that is not what you were expecting to see!
And so what is the point, really? Maybe this is never going to work and is simply not worth it. I GIVE UP! you are thinking.
Okay, please don’t give up yet. Here’s four good reasons why:
1. All bodies are different, but they have this in common: They are WEIRD. Weird and in the short term unpredictable and complicated. There’s a lot going on, and we don’t know the half of it. We handle the inputs, the body handles how to adjust to the changes we make.
Sometimes the number goes up before it goes down. You might stay put for a while, or the weight might drop off suddenly for no obvious reason.
Whatever happens, it's your body that’s in charge. Bodies do what they want to do. Maybe yours is taking its time readjusting. If you’ve been alive for 40 or 50 or 60 years, a few weeks is not a long time. Even when you’ve made some really solid habit change.
What probably won't happen is a steady, predictable daily decrease in weight. You have to get more data before the overall picture looks like a nice downward trend.
Here’s what one of my teachers says: When she stopped overeating, and changed everything about her diet and exercise and eating habits, she weighed herself every day. And every single day for six weeks, that number stayed the same.
Did not budge. In six WEEKS, no change. As she herself said, People, that is a long-ass time.
So if you’ve made some changes after a lifetime of not-so-great eating, maybe your body needs more than a few weeks to adjust? Maybe a little more patience is what’s required. A little more faith.
It’s not easy! Oh believe me I know. But we can’t just turn the dial down on the chips and chocolate, and expect to see the needle on the scale move like Usain Bolt. It’s probably gonna take more time than any of us would like.
2. Speaking of weighing yourself every day, I suggest you do that. Unless you don’t want to know the number at all, ever, which is hard unless you avoid the doctor’s office.
Because what if you have not been keeping daily track? You change your eating, you’re doing everything right, and you get on the scale after a few weeks and you compare that number to the most recent number you remember seeing, which was one day last June. That may be a comparison that makes you really unhappy. And it might be a totally invalid comparison. Maybe that day in June you had been sick. Maybe last night you had a lot of salt.
Two data points is nothing.
So if you want to get some good data, get a lot of it. Control the variables as much as possible. That means weighing yourself first thing in the morning, naked, after you've gone to the bathroom, before eating or drinking anything.
Then plug the number into an app that will smooth out the insignificant ups and downs (I use Happy Scale; it's free) so you can keep an eye on trends, which is the only thing we care about. We don’t care about today’s number. "Get it and forget it" daily, and enjoy the total lack of sudden shocks.
Alternative: Skip the weighing entirely, and just take your body measurements. Or pick a form-fitting garment and keep track of how it hangs on you.
3. Take a good look at what you're eating. We’ve talked about this before, but it can be done more than once. I do it regularly:
Ask yourself, is there anything happening here that might cause extra weight to hang around the neighborhood? If I'm just like everybody else, and there's nothing really wacky about my physiology (can we agree?), what might be contributing to a few extra pounds?
Do this like you weigh yourself. Objectively. You’re just taking a look, not going on a death march. No need to do anything different right now. And absolutely no judging your character! You might live for your weekly bear claw, but that doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person who likes pastry, The End. Everybody’s got their something.
For example: I am huge potato hound. I could absolutely trim a few pounds from my frame if I wanted to stop eating potatoes a few times a week. (Which I don't! Because I love my potatoes and also, Winter is Coming. Wintertime is Potato Time.)
But I'm not confused about whether potatoes, Stilton, tequila or suchwhich have an effect on my weight. They do. So if it was worth it to me, I could quit eating those things, or cut back.
4. About doing everything right? There is no need to do EVERYTHING right. Of course we all know that none of us is ever doing literally EVERYTHING right, but deep down we all feel like we should. So drop that, when you become aware of it. There’s simply no NEED to do everything right. You can get where you want to go doing 80-90%. Shoot for that.
And start where you're at right now. If you start at 30%, AWESOME.
Finally, if you are not dieting and not bingeing, you are doing something TOTALLY right. You are doing a really HUGE thing right. And you can remind yourself that you’re sane and free and making your own sovereign, healthy choices about food and eating and self-care.
Which gives you the kind of self-respect that no number can ever take the fun out of.
Stop bingeing and overeating. Immediately.
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