Last week I took a few days off work to spend time with myself, do my own thing, worry a little less, and recoup from a very busy few weeks. Despite being on my semester break between Summer and Fall, I felt like I’d continued going a million miles an hour, even after my last exam was written.
I knew I had to weigh in on Friday for the month of August. After all the traveling and indulging I’d done this month, I was not looking forward to it. I weighed myself daily and impatiently waited for the drop on the scale that unfortunately never came. I walked into the Meeting Room for the first time in 2 years of Maintenance knowing that I wasn’t going to be within my healthy range of 2lbs +/- from my goal weight. It crushed me. I laughed it off with the receptionist, however inside I wanted to cry.
The feeling of sadness continued throughout the meeting, only changing from sorrow for myself, to sadness for another, when one particular woman spoke up in the group. She asked how people on maintenance do it, because “putting one foot in front of another” just didn’t seem to make sense to her. It wasn’t enough. She mentioned that she’d been dieting since the age of 12, and looked visibly exhausted at the thought of another day feeling like she wasn’t good enough, healthy enough, light enough. I wondered how much the weight of this stress would reflect on the scale.
Like this brave and honest woman, I too was feeling weighed down by the pressure of the scale. I write about this often; the anxiety the scale adds to each of our journeys. And despite making my goal and having a good understanding of the journey and what it takes for me to be healthy- ditching the scale has always been something that bewildered me. How do people stay on track without that reminder? What is it that gets them back on plan before it’s too late and they slip into that downward spiral of ice cream and Burrito’s the size of a forearm (been there). Embarrassingly, I need that reminder almost daily. At least that’s what I tell myself. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been able to maintain my healthy weight (up until last week), however the mental fixation around it seems less than healthy.
Perhaps I don’t have this as figured out as I tell myself I do.
I thought of this woman all day on Friday, and it infuriated me. A pandemic I told myself. This is all-too-common idea that only thin people are healthy, that the number on the scale needs to be low to be happy, that if you’re not a size 8, you don’t deserve to be loved and accepted. It’s a friggin’ pandemic. How many women do we have waltzing around society feeling like they need to be “skinny” to have value? How many men for that matter? How many other 12-year-old girls will grow up telling themselves they need to be on a diet?
As if the weight of the mortgage, the kids, the school loans, the work deadlines, the relationship struggles, the family drama isn’t enough…
Despite feeling like I’ve done a fairly good job keeping my head above water these last few weeks (with the mortgage, the work deadlines, the schooling), I knew I needed to get back on track, or find a new track when it came to my eating and exercise these last few weeks. I vowed to get to the bottom of it this week. But I’m taking it in strides, reminding myself of the full benefits of the Weight Watchers program.
Taking time to myself, all part of the package. Choosing the yoga class over the high intensity workout in the gym, totally okay. The glass of wine when I really want one, also allowed.
This lifestyle I’ve built has endless positives and benefits when it’s doing its job and keeping me healthy. When I go off track, or life takes me away from it and makes returning a struggle, that’s when a lot of the work begins. It’s finding the balance between being pissed off and angry, and becoming motivated. Between pushing myself, and overloading myself.
And there’s always improvement to be made.
I told myself I’d do it for that woman. I’d get back on track for the sole purpose of showing myself it can be done while feeling good. I won’t beat myself up for starting over. This isn’t because I currently feel bad in my skin. My Monday started on a positive with some deep breaths and short shorts that make me feel good. This week will hold positivity and greatness, and in my mind, I’ll send it her way.