Friday, October 13, 2006

Scaling back

(I wrote this Thursday, but due to two circumstances -- more technical difficulties at work in the morning and a sick child home from school in the afternoon -- it never got posted. So here it is)

The past two mornings I have forced myself to not step on the scale. This was after weighing myself Tuesday and being so unhappy with the number I saw that it wrecked my mood and made me just nasty in general. I was so put out with my behavior that I shoved the scale under my husband's side of the bed and ordered myself not to touch the thing until Friday.

It makes me angry that I let myself get so worked up over a number. Why do I let some digits on a screen determine if I start the day with a smile or a scowl? I knew before I stepped on the thing that it was going to be higher than I'd like from my indiscretions Sunday with the Chinese food and the cake and ice cream. The sodium content in Chinese food always makes me bloat up, but it's a temporary thing and goes away. But even though I knew this, I still spiraled emotionally when I saw the numbers.

Years ago when I was at my heaviest weight, I rarely weighed myself. I'd usually grudgingly get right before a doctor's appointment so I wouldn't be caught off guard when I faced the "gallows" at the doctor's office. Was I living in denial? Yeah, definitely. Not only about my weight, but other factors in my life that weren’t making me happy. I just didn't want to know about it. I wanted my Food (not food as in sustenance to live, but Food as in my drug of choice), and I wasn't about to change that.

I suppose it was the new high of losing weight that changed my behavior with the scale. It was so exciting to see those numbers go down, I couldn't wait to get on there and get that emotional boost. Because my weight can fluctuate a good bit with water retention, etc., I got on there every day because I was afraid the day I didn't weigh would be one of my "low" days and I'd miss it. It’s getting to the point where the scale has become my main barometer for success and failure. For example, this past Saturday I weighed myself and I was down to 226, which made me question if I should make Friday or Saturday my official weigh-in day.

But like any exciting ride with its exhilarating highs, there are the lows. And what a bummer that low can be. It causes me to beat myself up, find ways to punish my "bad" behavior, and overall just feel about myself. And that gets carried over to my family; I'm snippy with my husband and irritable with my daughter. Which of course makes me even think more negative thoughts.

So the past two days have been interesting. Part of me is dying to know what the scale says right now since I’ve been doing great all week. Not knowing makes me feel unsure all this work is worth the effort.

But there’s another part of me that is actually pleased to not have myself labeled by a number. Why should a 230 Andrea be horrible, but a 220 Andrea would be cause for celebration. Which makes no sense; because at this time last year I was praying I could get back to another 230 Andrea.
So the question is, what happens tomorrow? What if I get on the scale and the results don’t meet my expectations? Do I throw a fit, rail against the unfairness of my life, and take my frustrations out on those I love? Instead I need to congratulate myself on the hard work I’ve done this week: getting lots of cardio exercise, drinking plenty of water, avoiding the many opportunities to overeat and instead make healthy choices. The results may not show up on that machine with the “right” numbers, but if I stick with it the health benefits are being made and will stick with me in the years to come.

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