Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quoting close to home.

I wasn't planning on blogging today, but I read a quote just a few seconds ago that really resonated with me:

"I'm so grateful that I don't get on a scale because it's never going to be the right number."

-Kyra Sedgwick

This quote didn't stop me in my tracks because I found it particularly motivational or life-changing, but because it caused me to flashback to the day I reached my "goal" weight.

It was a great day. I gushed to friends and family and received their congratulatory comments with open arms. But y'know what? I have something to confess: When I stepped on that scale and saw 157, I was happy for less than 10 seconds and thought "I can and need to lose more!" And I did. And I couldn't maintain that weight. And I started to gain. And I kept weighing myself. And kept hating myself. Forget that I was no longer obese, a regular runner, a better cook, more energized and no longer at risk for diabetes. I didn't give a shit about any of that because all I could see were those numbers on the scale. And I, like countless others, allowed those numbers to dictate my happiness.

So Ms. Sedgwick is completely right, and almost painfully so. The numbers will never be right. Yes, I needed to see the numbers regularly to pull me down from 248, but did I need to see them every week day when I was hovering around 150? Not so much.

I'm not anti-scale. I currently have two in my house. They serve a purpose and I'll never preach that they're completely useless. But I haven't stepped on one in over a month and don't plan on stepping on one until my annual physical next month. I'll look at the number. It'll be greater than last year's number. But that's something I've known for a while now and seeing it in a doctor's office doesn't change anything. It doesn't change the fact that I still run, am still not obese, still cooking with healthier, more wholesome foods and still not at risk for diabetes.

I will step on scales in the future. But certainly not every day or every week, which I totally used to do.

For me, weight-loss has been a double-edged sword. Obviously, the big pros were becoming healthy and trimming down significantly. But the cons include developing a handful of unhealthy, obsessive, counter-productive behaviors that have sunk their claws in deep and have made maintenance a bitch. I knew losing a significant amount of weight was going to be a long, tough journey, but I was in no way prepared for the new journey that followed. I wasn't prepared to discover how some of my previous "healthy habits" would start to work against me. I wasn't prepared to start binging. I wasn't prepared to re-learn how to eat. I wasn't prepared to let go of guilt. I wasn't prepared to hear mixed reactions from family members (something I'm still dealing with, as recent as two weeks ago). Lots of not-so-glamorous shit that I simply wasn't prepared for, at all.

But I digress. I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I'm still dealing with various post-weight loss issues, I think I can do without having the scale regularly thrown into that mix. I don't want the scale and I to be enemies, but I don't want to be BFFs either. Scale, you have been demoted to casual acquaintance. Hope that's cool.


Anonymous said...

The one thing I do seem to find different between you and I, is that you seem to get it with the numbers.. at least most of the time – or at least what you post. I am so friggin obsessed with numbers numbers numbers and have been for the last 5 years – since I started the weight loss process. I get SO depressed when I see the weight on the scale, then I refuse to weigh myself for a couple days because I don’t want to see how disgusting I feel.. does that even make sense? Another thing is, whenever I tell Chad that I don’t want to weigh myself everyday, he’s like “Remember where not weighing yourself got you? 265lbs.” So I feel like I am letting him down by not weighing myself everyday. I really need to talk to him about that I think.

Once again, it feels like I could have written most of this because these are my thoughts. I have also formed so many unhealthy, obsession, counter-productive behaviours. Like I will never be good enough. Or healthy enough. During the course of the day, you look at what I eat, and I would definitely say I am not your average everyday person. I eat so many healthy things and rarely stop by a fast food joint to get something quick.

Mixed reactions from your family about becoming a lot more healthy? That’s not good. I’m sorry you have to deal with that. That’s one thing I have been very lucky with.

Anyway, once again, thanks for being awesome. (ps. I posted in my LJ about what the specialist told me about my leg, if you’re interested in reading, and seeing that I cannot run for a minimum 6 MONTHS! Poop!)

Tamara said...

Aw, trying to hug you through the interwebs yet again, Tina!

I can kinda see where Chad is coming from in telling you that, but it's basically a threat and continuing to do things obsessively out of fear is no good. So yeah, talk to that man.

I am getting better with numbers and breaking away from them without breaking away from my health, but it's still hard. I lived and breathed points, calories, grams, ounces, miles and inches for over 2 years (I have hundreds of journal entries and spreadsheets to prove it), so to find a good balance between psycho-tracker and mindful healthy person is not an easy task, as I'm sure you know.

We're just too hard on ourselves! I too eat healthy day-to-day, but sometimes feel like I'm being judged by some Health Food God and the second I have a cookie or some cake, I flip out. It's ridiculous. I need to remember that an occasional piece of cake isn't going to put me back where I was. Never exercising and eating greasy drive-thru breakfast burritos every Saturday night will.

As always, I appreciate your support and am so glad that we still keep in touch about all of this stuff. It's still hard, but knowing that someone else out there can relate makes it easier and gives me hope.

I'm off to read your post in full, but 6 months?! Yikes, woman. You're my hero for dealing with injuries.

Mari said...

Hey chica! I loved this post!!!! I wish I could be at that place where I don't become a slave to the scale but I notice that when I do weigh myself daily, I tend to eat better...I know it is not the healthiest thing to do but I can't help myself.

But you are so right...I have come such a long way. I went from weighing 220lbs and being unhappy to running races, trying new workouts and eating SO MUCH Better and these are the things that SHOULD matter instead of a stupid number but damn that number has a hold on me.

Tamara said...

@ Mari:

I hear ya, girl. It's definitely a hard habit to break, ESPECIALLY for those who *were* unhealthy and *needed* to start paying attention to those numbers.

I probably should go back to weekly weigh-ins, or at least a dedicated monthly weigh-in, but the goal is not to let whatever the number says make or break my day, like it did so many times in the past.

And you just need to do what's best for you; if daily weigh-ins keep you in check without making you crazy and upset, keep it up! Everyone's different. But I think we (myself included) need to make a point to remind ourselves on a regular basis of the progress we've made *off* the scale.

Anonymous said...

I hate that scale! I was freaking out because I lost weight and then it went from 128 to 130, I mean that is ridiculous! It really has no place in my life and I am so much happier without it.

Tamara said...

Agreed, Michelle! I've been going through your program materials this week, btw- VERY excited to share my feedback on them soon. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

the only place scales should be are on fish!