Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Weigh-in Wednesday

Once I started working out on a daily basis, I signed up to receive the newsletter, Losing it with Jillian Michaels, to help keep me motivated. Back in September I opened my email to read the title, Should you weigh yourself everyday? Ah ha! I will finally get the answer to this health debate. I clicked on the link and eagerly awaited my enlightenment.

Let me first start by saying, I have struggled with my weight, and have serious self image issues that I have been working on since college. I was obsessed with my weight after gaining around 30lbs. my Freshman year. This, after a lifetime of being skinny and never worrying what size I wore. I mean I wasn't about to go strutting around in a bikini (in fact I recall one particular pool party where my friend convinced me to wear her bikini and I refused to take off my t-shirt until I was fully submerged in the hot tub. I then subsequently lost said t-shirt. It was my favorite at the time), but I also wasn't hating my body either. I was self conscious, what teenage girl isn't? I just never fully understood the real issue with women and our weight until I was called fat for the first time.

It was Homecoming, and while on the phone with an ex-boyfriend I swear he just flat out said, "so I heard you got fat!" I wasn't in any denial that my now size 15 body was vastly different than the size 7 that had just graduated from these halls not four months prior. But to have it smacked right in your face was such a cruel lesson. Six simple words and my whole body image crumbled. My 18 year old self never fully recovered, and here I am at 35 still looking in the mirror and pointing out any minute flaws. It's a work in progress. Though, seeing where I am now, if I could tell my 18 year old self anything it would be to stop stepping on the scale so much. You see, I was obsessed with the damn thing. I would check it everyday, sometimes twice or more in a single day. It got worse over the summer. I'd wake up, weigh myself, go for a 1 hour walk around the neighborhood, come home and step back on that scale. Oh how I willed the damn thing to move, and the more it didn't the more I felt like giving up. My relationship with food became an unhealthy one and eventually I developed an eating disorder. Despite my best efforts to binge and vomit, I still didn't lose the amount of weight I wanted. So I sought out group therapy and eventually stopped my bad eating habits. I wrote down everything I ate for months and went over them in detail with the campus Nutritionist. I hated having to sit there and admit that I ate 20 cheese blocks at Mrs. Greens, rendering my healthy salad obsolete. Looking back, if anything came out of those sessions it was a belief that I still live by to this day. You see, she didn't tell me to go on a diet. In fact she said diets don't work and she hates the word. Her philosophy was not about denying yourself foods but about limiting them. The key was not to "diet" but to change my eating habits. And with her help, I eventually did. I gradually worked down to putting only 10 cheese blocks on my plate. I learned to stop eating when I was full, even if that meant the majority of my meal was still on my plate. Most important of all, I stopped weighing myself.

Such small changes, but when you added them all up it did the trick. 3 years after graduating college and a few months before my wedding, I was back down to a size 8 and looking and feeling great. I had not set out to lose weight, in fact I was pretty comfortable in my body at that point. Funny how it seemed that the less I tried, or even thought about it, how easy the weight eventually just came off. All without even stepping on a scale. So for me, I would say weighing yourself everyday does more harm than good. And Jillian agrees.

Do we need to weigh ourselves every day? Put simply, no. Our weight fluctuates throughout the day, whether it be from excessive fluid intake or lack thereof, and it is this variation that freaks us out. Been there done that. Which is why I try to judge my success by how I feel and how my clothes fit. I had no idea just how much weight I had lost this past year until one day in June, I tried on a pair of my favorite capri pants which had been devastatingly too tight as of late, and they fit. It was such a great feeling, as well as a huge motivator to keep at it. However, I want to point out that this does not mean you should never step on the scale. Jillian recommends that you do it once a week, at the same time, wearing the same clothes and using the same scale. This is the best way to judge your success, or failure as the case may be, as you will give your body time to adjust to the changes you are making.

And this my lovely readers is how weigh-in Wednesday came to be. I admit I took the idea straight from Jillian's newsletter, but it's catchy and easy to remember. Like Sangria Sundays, or Taco Tuesday. I even put a reminder on my phone to insure I do it at the same time each week. You know just in case my mommy brain takes over. A little ding goes off every Wednesday at 6:45am, just after I wake up. It's so much a part of my weekly routine now, even though I have met my goal, that I continue to do my weekly weigh-ins as a continued maintenance of my overall health.

This morning I hit a record low of 127.8lbs. You might be going, "well damn girl. You overachiever." I won't lie, seeing that number on the scale felt good, but what you don't know is that I just came off a weekend of feeling ill and not eating for two days. (see fluctuation!) I'm sure by next week I'll be back to 130lbs. where I have been comfortably hanging out for the last few months. But it's just fine with me. Cause I hit my goal (woohoo!) and then waved as it faded in my rearview.

I know this might sound like I am pounding my chest but I want to show those of you out there who might be struggling and feeling like giving up, that I've been there. I've tired and failed, and succeeded and relapsed, and given up, and then tried again. It's supposed to be hard. Change doesn't happen over night. It took me the better part of 3-4 months, and I did it while still having to raise two kids. It was hard as hell. But. It. Is. Possible. Don't give up. If you stick with it, you'll be happy you did and I'll be there with you each and every Wednesday to step on that scale and virtually high five your achievements.

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