This healthy journey of mine didn’t just start a few weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to be healthier since I was a teenager but most attempts I have ever made to shed some pounds and to become more active have failed miserably.
The most success I ever had was almost two years ago after my mom was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It was a wake-up call for both of us: my mom needed to get healthier to manage the diabetes, and I needed to do the same to make sure I didn’t end up getting the disease myself. We focused on portion control, being active (I had a mini meltdown in the parking lot but I joined a gym for the first time in my life) and we worked to make a difference. It worked: I lost almost 30 pounds and was more active than I’ve ever been. I challenged my body, proved to myself that I’m a lot tougher than I thought, and got to buy a whole bunch of new clothes as my old ones became too big.
Moving away from home definitely made it a little too easy to fall off track. I was no longer going to the gym because there wasn’t one conveniently located near my new house and I no longer had access to a car to get me to one. My new job left me exhausted some days and it resulted in too many nights of ordering pizza, grabbing snacks from the nearby convenient store, and taking advantage of the 20% discount on theme park food (too many funnel cakes).
I have definitely put some weight back on, my clothes are a little tight and there’s some chubbiness back in my cheeks. There’s no denying it. But I’ve decided I’m not going to step back onto the scale, not for a while at least.
1. Weight isn’t everything.
I have obsessed over that number on the scale many, many times. Whenever there is a scale in my home you will find me on it multiple times a week, desperate to see change. That’s just not how it works. Some weeks you’ll have losses and other weeks you will maintain or even gain for a various number of reasons (muscle gain, sickness, menstruation, etc.).
2. My emotional reactions to the scale mess with my progress.
I am the type of person that will step on the scale and that split second moment will determine the rest of my week. If I have lost weight I will stay on track because I see that all my hard work was paying off. But if I have gained weight I will often give up and binge or I will try to starve myself a bit that week which is equally unhealthy as the binging. I am an emotional person and the scale messes with my emotions too much to be productive.
3. Weight looks different on everyone.
Knowing my exact weight often makes me compare myself to others who I think are the same weight as me. I wonder why my stomach isn’t flatter, why my arms aren’t smoother, and why I can’t fit into the same clothes as them. Those comparisons were always harmful to me, they didn’t challenge me to become better but instead they made me lose hope. “I’ll never look like her” was something that ran through my mind often and it really defeated me.
I’m determined not to let anything stop me this time.
I know this is not the right choice for everyone. The scale can be a beneficial tool in tracking your progress and I am in no way shaming anyone who is tracking their weight. I just know it doesn’t work with the way I think. So I’ve decided to try something different: I’m going to track everything I put into my body (my meals) and everything I do with it (my workouts). In addition to this on the first of every month I will be taking progress pictures so I can see how my body has changed instead of just relying on a number to tell me it has.
Becoming healthier is all about finding what works for you. Fitness and health are not a one size fits all kind of thing so you have to explore a bit. That’s what I’m doing.