Friday, June 01, 2007

Balance The Scales

Last night as I was preparing for bed I realized tomorrow (now today) was the first of the month, and I thought maybe I should weigh myself, then do it once a month on the first. I thought monthly weigh-ins would be a reasonable, just to check in and see how things are going.

What anxiety this produced! I was beside myself worrying that I was going to be so disappointed by the scale reading. I was sure it was going to be up 5, 10, even 15 pounds, and I just didn't think I could handle it if it was.

Then I thought of something Karen Koenig repeats over and over again in her Food and Feelings Workbook: I can bear feeling (insert emotion here) and any other feelings. If I weigh myself and I've gained a bunch of weight, I might be sad, disappointed, maybe even a little angry or afraid. It might not be pleasant, but feeling these emotions won't kill me. I can bear these feelings. Really!

Even though IE teaches you to not focus on the scale and numbers, it also teaches to face your feelings. And the only way I could see to face this fear head-on and truly feel it was to go ahead and get on the scale.

I mean, I know I'm supposed to make the scale less important and not weigh myself three times a day like I was. But, on the other hand, isn't it also making the scale too important when I make it such a frightening, all powerful machine that controls my thoughts and emotions? The way I see it, IE is all about balance, so it seems right for me to find some kind of middle ground when it comes to the bathroom scale. Hence the once a month weigh-in.

So, with lots of apprehension, I stepped on the scale this morning. And yes, as predicted, I did gain. But only one pound.

I left out a huge sigh of relief and stepped off the scale, glad I had taken the plunge and pushed past my fears. One pound was such a small amount, such a normal fluctuation, that I could see it only as a measure of the success and power of Intuitive Eating. I have been at this a month now, and to have stayed within a 5-pound range is amazing to me. In the past, me taking a month off from dieting would have meant the 10, 15-pound gain I mentioned above, because I would have gone off the deep end with rebound overeating.

I don't think I could have a better Month One Report than the one I'm giving. My binges have decreased, I'm legalizing all foods, and I'm eating until I'm satisfied or pleasantly full the majority of the time. I'm still exercising but doing it for the enjoyment (physical and mental benefits) and not focusing on the weight-loss aspect of it. I've made a lot of important discoveries about myself in regards to eating and emotions, and I've learned lots of new techniques to work through the uncomfortable emotions and find ways to relax.

It's not always easy, it sometimes feels like a hell of a lot of work, and there are days I'd like to forget about it all and just sit on the couch and eat ice cream until I burst. But I know this work is important, I know it's making a difference, and in the end it will give me a fuller, more meaningful life.

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