Friday, February 10, 2012

Coming to Terms with the Scale

Ever since I started monitoring my weight I have had a love/hate relationship with the scale.  When she showed me a number that I wanted to see, she was my best friend.  I would be on a euphoric high for the rest of the day.  I could conquer anything because of that number on the scale.  But when she showed me a number that I didn’t like, even though it was the truth, I would curse her and threaten to throw her out with the trash.  My mood would become dark and I would feel defeated.  I would ask myself what went wrong, even though I knew the answer.  Once again my emotional eating had gotten the best of me.

Emotional eating….that thing that would have me eating when I was happy, sad, bored, and indifferent.  On a bad day I could go through a box of Captain Crunch Oops All Berries or Lucky Charms in less than a day.  Even worse I would exercise like a mad person only to eat all of my hard work away.  The scale was showing me my ugly truth, but I knew before I could come to terms with the scale, I had to deal with my emotional eating.  

My emotional eating started when I was in elementary school.  I was dealing with some issues and realized I found comfort in food.  As I became older food was a constant friend, my saving grace was that I was involved in athletics and had a great metabolism.  Right after college I put on some weight, but soon took it off once I noticed my clothes were no longer fitting.  Fast forward to age 30.  My metabolism sloooooooooowed down.  I was no longer working out and the pounds started to pack on.  I was concerned, but not overly concerned.  That was until I went for my annual physical at the age of 33.  My doctor told me I was overweight, 168 pounds, and I had high blood pressure.  The first thought through my mind was, “What the hell?!”  But I knew I had put myself in this situation.  It was time for action!

I signed up for the Monument 10K Training Team and began running.  The pounds begin to come off, but then the weight loss stalled.  In my mind since I was running I could eat what I wanted, as long it wasn’t high in salt.  Oh what twisted thinking I had!  When the weight stopped coming off, I started buying diet books.  You name it, I probably read it.  I had my own diet book library.  So I had all of this information, but I was only semi applying it.  Furthermore, I still was not dealing with my emotional eating. 

I thought the answer was a nutritionist.  Wrong!  To make a long story short I went through four of them!  I felt like I was dating.  Things would be fine for a while, but I would find a characteristic I didn’t like, and use that as a reason to end the relationship.  That became old and expensive very quickly.  Finally it dawned on me that I had the answers.  I knew what I needed to do, but I had to face my emotionally eating head on.  I had to come up with a plan.

My plan is quite simple.  I mindfully eat.  I make sure I am aware of how I am feeling, what I am eating, and how much I am eating.  If I am upset and I see myself reaching for food, I stop and deal with what is upsetting me.  I ask myself if what I am eating is going to fuel my workouts or slow me down. (I do throw in treats here and there.  I LOVE the Smart Ones Chocolate Cookie Dough Sundaes.)  I can be a little heavy handed with my portions.  So either I measure or do my usual serving and split it in half.  Don’t get me wrong, I do slip-up sometimes.  To counter my slip-ups I try to keep a lot of healthy food in the house.  If I am going to emotionally eat, it will be a piece of fruit or some other healthy snack.

Now back to my relationship with the scale…….During my rollercoaster relationship with the scale, she has only been doing what she was supposed to do.  She is keeping me accountable.  I cannot fault her when she tells me the truth.  At the same time I cannot allow the truth make or break my day.  Every weekly weigh-in is not going to show a deficit, and that’s ok.  The important thing is that I am getting my emotional eating under control.  And you know what?  I am starting to lose weight again! 

My body is changing!  I am noticing less chub rub between my thighs and more definition where there was none.  Through my coaches I have learned about body composition, the ratio of lean body mass to fat.  So even though the scale may say I weigh 154.2 pounds, it is only telling me part of the truth.  During my last body composition measurement and weigh-in, I was told I had only lost one pound.  At first I was a little down until my coach told me I had lost 1.5 pounds of fat and had gained ½ pound of muscle!  That put things in a completely different perspective. 

So the scale and I are now cool.  She is not the enemy.  She is just another tool that I use to help me get across the finish line.

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