By Amy Eiges
This is not the blog post I intended to sit down and write this week, but circumstances change, so…. here goes.
On Friday I purchased a pair of pants that is the size I said I’d be satisfied with when I started keto 3 1/2 years ago. Ten sizes down from my largest and one size down since February (something I am particularly proud of given quarantine and the challenges/stresses faced).
Also? I got on my home scale and it was up 10 pounds.
Rationally, I know I didn’t actually gain 10 pounds of real weight — but no matter, it threw me into a full-on tear-filled tailspin. (And for full disclosure since I don’t fully trust myself and because of the great and humiliating peanut-butter debacle I admitted to in last week’s Group Coaching call, I have the body comp scale in Dr. Tro’s office to verify this… plus the new clothing.)
I have lost 180 pounds, even with this 10-pound hit. I am nearly half the person I used to be. My life and health have improved in ways I cannot begin to express and yet… still… it is that number on the scale that I obsess about constantly.
There have been many times throughout this weight-loss journey that I have had 5 to 10-pound gains, both “deserved” and undeserved, and all of them felt like a kick in the gut. Each time it happens is incredibly painful, and this time was no exception. What usually makes the trauma worse is how they have derailed me and how susceptible I am to the whims of that evil metal box.
As a health coach, I regularly work with clients who feel similarly, for whom the scale might not show their efforts. Instead of using it as an educational tool and motivation to change things up it is often seen as a reason to throw it all out the window. We let the scale dictate the kind of day we are going to have, the mood we are in, how we judge our worth and our merits. And our next meal.
When I saw that number yesterday my mind went to a really dark and ugly place. And there was A LOT of swearing because, as my mother used to say, I have a mouth like a NYC cabdriver. (You don’t want to see the texts I sent fellow health coach and all around great-sport Brian Wiley 🤬🤭 yesterday morning.)
The first thing I thought: F-it…what’s the point? I am just gonna eat ALL the things today. And then I started googling other diets because clearly low carb is not working for me (and I may or may not have cursed Dr. Tro’s name). Then I reversed course and planned a super long fast, followed by carnivore and doubling my workouts.
My head was all over the diet-map, but crappy food was first on the agenda. My inner food-addict was gonna get to eat because it wanted to be heard. “See, I told you this keto nonsense is BS… see? Now do you believe me? Here, have this box of cookies.”
Thankfully, at some point, grace took over and I respectfully and lovingly told the parts of my raging brain that were throwing a temper tantrum to hush up — to remember my “why” and all I have accomplished. And since I still want to lose about 25 more pounds, I got brutally honest with myself and made a list of a few things that could be cleaned up a bit on the food and exercise front. And I shored up my safety nets to make sure I stay on track.
In a previous life, this episode would have led to a six-month binge and a 40+ pound weight gain. No exaggeration. Fueled by self-hatred and thoughts like “I’ll always be fat so what’s the point” or some ridiculous notion about starting with a clean-slate on Monday (after the holidays, vacation, blah, blah, blah), I have lived in the demoralizing “F-it” spin-cycle for decades.
In my hysteria about the scale, I somehow managed to gain some perspective by reflecting on a scenario I’ve heard Dr. Tro pose many times – questioning the sanity of breaking all your car windows if you have a small crack in the windshield. Why do we do the equivalent when it comes to food? What sense does it make to completely blow our diets if we have made a mistake or if the scale doesn’t say what we want it to?
So yesterday I did the hard work and showed up for myself: I exercised, went for a few walks to clear my head, and ate my planned OMAD. Instead of swinging that pendulum super-far and going to either extreme (binge vs. extended fast), I stayed the course, remembering what I know to be true.
That? That is real progress and how I know this time is different.
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Read Amy Eiges’ popular post, I Am Not Broken