Dear Phat Girl,
I need your help. I’m sick of weighing myself and chasing the needle up and down the scale. I want to be free of obsessive weighing, but I don’t want to lose momentum. Honestly, I need the feedback. How else can I measure my progress without feeling like a slave to the scale?
Ready to Fly in Florida
Dear Ready to Fly,
I love this space you’re in. At times in my life, I have felt like my body was bigger than “me” on the inside. Where you’re at, it feels more like you’re bigger than your body. That feels good! I get the sense that you’re expanding into new possibilities and have the energy to create solutions that work for you. Your weight-loss journey is maturing (Queue the weepy mom: “My little baby is all grown up and ditchin’ the scale!”)
I’m a fan of minimal weighing. Imagine me at my annual doctor visit: “Can I stand backward on the scale? Don’t tell me; just let me know if it went up or down.” Obviously, I agree with your desire to be free of a number. We always hear, “you’re more than a number,” but rarely does anyone follow up with solid ideas for collecting valuable feedback (The reason why we started weighing in the first place!)
What’s great about weighing is that it’s personal. It’s about you and only you. That’s a rarity in the health industry where – in a span of 24 hours – we can hear or read lots of conflicting advice. I’ve learned to take my health advice like I take my religion. I keep it personal by sampling new ideas to see how they work with my life and my body. In truth, most health news applies to a small subset of a very specific population that was studied, so it’s silly to plaster our lives with everything we hear; just like it’s unrealistic for the entire world to express their beliefs with the same, exact customs. (Confession: I used to wander self-help isles, waiting for a diet book to call out to me, much like how I played “Bible roulette” by opening up the book with my eyes closed and landing my finger on some random scripture.) Today, I appreciate solid data – like a number on a scale – as one way to side-wind all the superstition and crossed-fingers that go along with trying to lose weight. There’s other ways, too.
Let’s keep the scale’s benefits (personal, meaningful information in a format easy to gather) but break free from the scale’s oppression. Enter: Weekend Way-Ins (as the way into you!)
Dial in your observation skills. Practice noticing. Notice how you need to work stronger now just to get your heart rate up. Spot little changes in your body, like less puffiness in your fingers or ankles. Note how your jeans feel looser. These tiny victories – Weekend Way-Ins — point the way into that amazing person who has always been inside, just waiting to get out.
Along with that new body, you’re going to need a fresh body image. Otherwise, you risk regaining the weight. So you need one more — but critically important – step beyond just noticing. You need to retrain your brain. Marking tiny changes can literally rewire your neural net by breaking the old, “I’m fat” ruts and forming new thought pathways which accurately reflect the emerging you. Unfortunately, brains don’t speak English. Repeating positive statements about becoming thinner won’t get the message across. Visualization – ideas and feelings — is the brain’s language. You’ll need to use an image to celebrate your tiny victory. Sometimes, that “one great picture” is all we need to undo self-criticism. I suggest you pare your tiny victory with a picture from the internet or a magazine. Post it (along with a proclamation of your victory).
You can become free from the scale while still measuring success with personal, easy to gather feedback. Weekend Way-Ins are a fun, creative way to feel like your efforts make a difference. Plus, they do the legwork of consistently, persistently retraining your brain. By using Weekend Way-Ins, you’ll continue to feel your best long after the weight comes off.
These tiny celebrations of sassy victories – Weekend Way-Ins — point the way into that amazing person who has always been inside, just waiting to get out.
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Yo, Phat Girl, I Gots Ta Ask..