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This may sound silly and even a little trivial, but when I look back on 2013, the victory that I feel best about has to do with how I weigh in at the WeightWatchers meeting I attend. Of course there were other big victories (for example, getting back to my goal weight!) in a year filled with challenges. But this little one feels good to me.
So let me explain: when I began with WeightWatchers many years ago, I soon realized that when it was time to get weighed, my weight would be lower if:
- I wore smaller, lighter clothes
- did it first thing in the morning
- my stomach was empty
- I had just gone for a long run
- I skipped drinking coffee or water
- I had eaten lightly the night before
- and on and on and on …
Over the years, it became a ritual that I just couldn’t shake. In fact, on the rare occasions I had to get weighed under any other circumstances (sometimes we used to have to do this at WeightWatchers staff meetings in the afternoon or evening), I would freak out and tell the person not to tell me the number.
It got to the point where even when I lived in Wisconsin in the dead of winter I would get up in the wee hours on a Saturday morning, go for a long run, dress in super light clothes (no undershirt!) and, without having had a drop of liquid in my body, rush off to get weighed right away.
Many jokes have been made about this sort of weighing-in strategy, and I make them myself when I’m working the scales at a meeting (“Have you removed your contact lenses?”). But here’s my little secret… with me it WASN’T a joke.
It became a compulsive obsession.
And this particular obsession was unhealthy for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that dehydration is no laughing matter. Also, the preoccupation with making the number as low as possible, was a negative feedback loop in my pysche. Rather than feeling successful with this crazy weigh-in day routine, I felt like it was controlling me. As if the scale had taken me prisoner.
So after last year’s upwards gain on the scale, I made a conscious decision to start going to a meeting and getting weighed in my work clothes in the evenings after work. This might sound like the easiest thing in the world. But for me it was not. For a very long time I couldn’t even look at the number. I would just tell them to put the sticker in my book.
This year, however, as I started to catch fire with my motivation and my efforts, I began to actually look forward to weigh-in day. Sure, I was still highly concerned about the number on the machine, but I was ready to look at it and process it right away. Obviously that’s easier when the scale is consistently going down, but I even did this when I was having a reversal. Or two. Or four.
Now my routine for getting weighed looks like this:
- get up in the morning and go running if that’s part of my plan
- have my regular healthy, large breakfast and a couple of cups of coffee
- dress in whatever work clothes feel right for the weather and my work schedule
- drink a minimum of a liter of water while at the office
- have the same normal, healthy lunch that I have every day
- walk to the WW center and get weighed.
I’ll point out for the sake of honesty that when I’m at the scale I remove everything from my pockets, as well as my belt and a tie (if I’m wearing one). And I’m not stupid … I take off my shoes!
But other than that, in 2013 I learned that it’s okay to look at the scale number in the evening because my weight is my weight is my weight.
For someone with a life-long overeating issue, this is clearly my proudest accomplishment of the year.