A good friend once told me not to get caught up on the numbers on a scale. She also said not to weigh myself. So, I never did. This was one of the best pieces of advice I have received.
The truth is, I could not find a bathroom scale to record my weight anyway. My weight was off the scale. The number was so large that I was paranoid about being weighed and dreaded any medical practitioner requesting the numbers.
Counting calories, worrying about the amount and calorific value of a food as it enters our mouth and regularly weighing ourselves makes weight loss a stressful exercise. We live for the future denying ourselves in the present to reach our goal.
But what is the plan when we reach our goal? We can’t go back to our old ways. Can we maintain the behaviour to keep the weight off? Has our suffering changed us enough to keep us on the same narrow path or will we swing back with great speed into our old patterns?
Why are we doing this to ourselves? Is it to look better? Gain acceptance? Reduce public pressure? Reduce physical pain? What do we want from our life? Longevity? Health? Appearance?
You see, dieting in its very nature requires us to live for the future in the hope of reaching a desired goal. We choose to deny ourselves enjoyment from food to reach this goal. This type of motivation can only be maintained for a short period of time.
What if there was another way?
The best way to maintain any behavioural change is to live in the present. What can I do to make myself feel good in my body in this present moment? What I can do is make choices which make me feel healthy NOW. I chose health and the weight took care of itself. Instead of monitoring the numbers on a scale, I learned to live in the moment and monitored how I felt.
These are the questions I ask myself daily:
What am I eating now that makes me feel well? After eating a food, how did I feel a few hours later, or the next day? The potato chips tasted good at the time, but now I feel horrible. My body is lethargic, I have a headache, my mind is foggy, and my tummy feels swollen in discomfort. When you feel unwell, think back over what you have eaten over the last few days. It’s not just about unhealthy foods, it is also about foods which do not work for us. Potato is one of those foods for me. I stopped eating the foods which made me feel unwell and I lost weight.
How do I feel after being with some people? After an interaction, did I seek out food for comfort? Was I unable to control how much or what I ate at the time? Our behaviour will tell us if we listen. Over time I learned how to hear myself and relate in a more meaningful and honest way with my trusted friends. This lessened my need for food as comfort.
What about the situations I find myself in? Do I feel comfortable, or am I seeking compensation with food, alcohol, or some other substance? What reduces my stress? Walking is my way of facing uncomfortable feelings. I walk my frustration out.
Listening to ourselves, changing our diet, releasing stress and exercising all contribute to a reduction in inflammation. And this helps us lose weight gently, in a healthy manner and permanently.
Perhaps you just need to get to know yourself. What makes you feel better and what makes you genuinely happy. Instead of using a substance or some idealistic self to make you feel better, why not work out how to be healthy? Change your life, not the scales.
In love, Jenny