"How much weight have you lost?"
If I had a dollar for every time I have gotten that question, I would be financially secure. Better yet, if I lost a pound each time I heard that, I wouldn't have to work out anymore. :-)
Friends, family, strangers...everyone wants the answer to this question. It's an interesting place to sit. People feel completely comfortable talking to me about my weight. I guess when you "out" yourself on Oprah for wanting to lose weight, you are fair game to this type of probing. Honestly, it's only natural to be curious about that. But as I've reflected on it this week, I realized that in most people's minds—including my own—weight loss has become the sole barometer of my success on this journey. It's more about the number and less about the lifestyle changes and new habits that have formed.
In reviewing my journal entries, I saw how much I was beating myself up because the scale didn't appear to reflect my effort. I was trying to figure out ways to get the scale to move, to prove to everyone that I was really working hard. After all, no one is with me 24/7 to see the changes I've made in my life. So the scale is their only window to my effort. Forget about what the book says about the slow and steady weight loss. No one really cares about that. They want some dramatic weight loss (heck, so do I!), and are judging me based on the decline of the scale. C'mon scale, move down...move down!
I realized the amount of pressure I have put on myself to decrease the scale amount. I began to get so caught up in the whirlwind of the number that I was losing sight of the bigger picture of making incremental steps to become healthier FOREVER! I get it, it's a weight loss challenge. So, at the end of the day, I should lose weight.
What I've come to realize, though, is that by focusing solely on the weight loss I fail to affirm the daily success that I've had, such as eating before I go out or volunteering to bring a healthy dessert for a potluck. Shouldn't I be proud of the fact that I have packed my lunch for the past three weeks? And working out on the elliptical at 11:30 p.m. after just getting home definitely deserves a gold star! So when I give someone an update and their response is, "You must not be trying hard enough," or "Keep at it, I'm sure you'll eventually become successful," or "Are you cheating?" it completely negates my sincere effort. I start doubting myself and that's no longer okay. I know I'm working hard...PERIOD. With continual effort, I will reach my goal. I can't get caught up in this or it will become something it isn't—a diet!
I know that I will still get the question, and I will still answer it. But privately I will celebrate my steps toward living the best life. When necessary, I'll make adjustments—e.g. the french fry debacle—and keep it moving.
We would all like to see the scale decline when we are on a weight loss journey. But I have to believe that it is not the full measure of success. I'm going to focus on the behavior. After all, it's the only thing that I really can control. Okay, I'm taking the challenge on the road (again) and am off to Montego Bay tomorrow. I know I'll have a lot to fill you in on when I return!
Until next time,