Friday, September 16, 2011

"Progress Not Perfection"

“Progress not perfection” is part of a quote that’s used by many. I’ve seen it used by recovery groups and it can be a very powerful statement. I think that sometimes we focus too much on the end result. I often hear people say “I’m here and I want/need to be there.” We set goals and push ourselves until we reach them. By striving for perfection, people are saying that there’s no acceptable alternative. This can lead to major disappointments when we don’t reach our goals when we want.

For me, this directly relates to my weight loss. It was easy for me at first. When I committed to the changes in my life, and stuck to them, the pounds came off and continued to do so. The last seven months have been more difficult. I keep hitting plateaus. I could lose ten pounds in a month when I started…Now it can take two or three! The problem is that I’ve lost a lot of weight. My body is resisting. The closer I get to my goal, the harder it is to lose.

I tend to forget about progress. There are days when I run myself ragged trying to reach a certain amount of calories burned, or a certain mileage within a set time. I will push as hard as I can, especially at the end, to get there. I do the same with my diet. I’ll struggle but force myself to avoid certain foods, or to stay within a certain amount of calories per day (usually below a specified number). Honestly I think this sabotages me. I spend too much time focused on what I won’t allow myself to have. I need to focus more on the healthy choices I’m making; the awesome workouts I do…And the overall picture. Sure, my weight loss has slowed, but I see muscle definition that wasn’t there before. I am losing inches. The pounds will come off when they come off so I need to focus more on the progress I am making rather than my end goal.

A major factor in this for me is my obsessive relationship with my scale.

I realize that there are about a billion-and-one people in the world who are “know-it-all” types. Here’s a challenge to those of you who are those types: don’t leave a  comment that could make you seem like a know-it-all. Not so easy to refrain from something that’s second nature to you…Is it?

That being said, please realize that I am aware of…

1. Weight fluctuations. They happen over the course of the day, or day-to-day. They are usually not related to an actual gain in fat, but are more often just the normal changes.
2. It takes 3500 calories to equal a pound. These are consumed OVER a person’s daily needs. I know that I don’t eat even close to that.
3. It is recommended to weigh weekly. Daily is typically bad news for the above mentioned reasons (and more!).
4. Water retention. This can mess with weight like you wouldn’t believe. Example: I was 7 pounds heavier tonight than I was this morning. I can lose between 2-5 pounds overnight (daily fluctuations). I’m also feeling as though I’m retaining some water (puffy, dry feeling hands; salty taste in my mouth). I also know that I did not consume 24,500 calories today! I ate within my range; lower than the highest I’m allowed.
There’s more but I’m sure you get my point by now. I KNOW about weight and factors that influence it; and that weighing daily is not recommended.

But? I still do it. I like to monitor my progress. I know that daily is excessive. More than daily is really excessive - probably to the point of obsessive. My current healthy goal is to stop weighing in daily. Eventually I want to get to weekly weights but that’s too big of a step for me. I’m going to slowly decrease my frequency. I’m hoping to not weigh again until Saturday. That’s 3 full days of no weights…YIKES!!! I doubt my ability to wait that long. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want to do it. I like to weigh daily. However, I’m not okay with any gains. I’m fine with stability and happy with losses, but if I gain, I get a little crazy. I obsess even more, restrict cals even more, and try to burn more. This? Is not good.

I like to think of the bigger picture when it comes to this….

I was fat (still feel that I am, actually - but that’s a subjective thing). I did not get fat on my own. I got fat by eating unhealthy foods, boozin’ it up with my friends in college (and after), and by not moving my fat behind. It’s not rocket science. Similar reasons are why so many Americans are fatties.

Food is sometimes a coping mechanism. Stress? Eat. Sad? Eat. Angry? Eat (as fast as you can because that’ll teach ‘em!). Emotions play such a huge role in the things that we do in life. Some people turn to alcohol. Some to drugs. Some to video games. Some to pornography. And… Some turn to food (c’est moi!). I was fat because it was a behavioral thing. I changed my behavior.

I’ve also done this with another “issue” in my life. I now know how to b-b-b-budget (still pains me to say that). Apparently at some point in life you have to stop being a spoiled only child and take some responsibility. Mom and Dad aren’t wearing the clothes - so why should they pay for them!? I did NOT want to stop my shopping behavior, but I had to. I thought “if I want to be as independent as I think I am, I’ve gotta grow up…”  That’s another blog (haha) and one that I can’t write about because I am using that theme for a piece I’m working on for a contest (which cannot be previously published). I don’t want to say too much here and duplicate it in my piece, soooo that’s that.

My point is that our behaviors are things that we can change. It seems though that we replace one behavior that may negatively impact us with another.

Now? I am replacing the eating with the scale. It’s an unhealthy relationship. It needs to change. Seriously. This is only sabotaging my efforts and causing me to be unhealthy…In a different way. Not eating enough calories or over-exercising are very damaging to the body. I understand the consequences….Just like I understood the consequences of eating at fast food places. I KNEW better but I still did it. I had to be READY to change. I had to have the correct motivation.

So…Here we are. It’s just me and the scale. It’s a fight to see who can get what they want. Can I resist? Or will the force of the scale pull me in? Recently it’s been the latter. I want to change that. I NEED to change that. I really don’t want to land in the hospital because I’ve made myself sick from eating too little and burning too much.

I’ll update you on my PROGRESS with the scale. “Progress not perfection” fits this situation too. Perfection (in my eyes) would be weighing weekly, or even less. I know that I can’t achieve that (right now). I’ll end up “messing up” and weighing too soon, and will cause more harm to myself than good. My goal is to make progress in this love-hate relationship with my scale. At this point, skipping even one day will be a small victory and a step toward progress.

The first step…

“Hi, my name is Rebecca and I am a scale addict.”


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