A weight loss client of mine mentioned something very profound to me this weekend. I had asked her how she had managed to lose ten pounds over the past few months. She explained that she had lost weight before and gained it all back (welcome to the club!) but that this time around, she had changed her approach. As she told it ‘In the past I was focused on instant gratification at the scale. When I couldn’t get that, I gave up. This time around, I’m trying to enjoy myself as much as possible, while still maintaining at least an incremental amount of weight loss.’
While I have experienced first hand the dangers and futility of rapid weight loss, I found her attitude to be a very helpful way to reframe my mindset about it. In the past I have at times struggled to deprive myself so thoroughly that my weight would assuredly go down. Unfortunately, I’ve generally had great/dramatic results… results which never lasted. My current weight maintenance journey is really the first time in my life where I haven’t been constantly gaining or constantly losing.
At the moment, I weigh more than I wish to. I’ve mulled this over a great deal and I’ve written about it frequently on this blog. There are many strategies I’ve explored that worked, a few that didn’t and even a few that backfired. But this weekend I began to spend some time thinking long and hard about how I felt and what I was doing the last time I was at my personal ‘dream weight.’
Sadly, the answer I came up with is that for the time I was able to hold the line at a particular number on the scale, it was my strong obsession with that number and my unquenchable need for ‘instant gratification’ from those results that kept me there. Up a pound? I’d spend a week cutting back on food and exercising more. Down a pound? Yippee! Think about lowering my goal to an even smaller number!
I was ‘instantly gratified’ by those results on the machine. But to be perfectly honest, I was not at all focused on feeling good about the foods I was choosing and with the results in my heart. My obsession with not gaining caused me to be edgy, irritable and unsociable. After all, there was only ONE thing that could make me feel happy.
So at the moment, I’m ticked off about having gained some weight, depressed at seeing a couple of pairs of pants I can’t wear, and annoyed at some of the things I’m seeing in the mirror. But there is no way that I’m going to use ‘instant scale gratification’ as a way to get back to my goal. In fact its my very fear of what I had to do before that is clearly keeping me from doing it again.
So this week I choose to eat well, love myself for who I am and lose just the TINIEST amount of weight possible. I’ll keep you posted.