Friday, February 22, 2013

Moving away from the scale

When I was on Optifast and dropping so much weight very quickly, I posted on here how much I was losing (or gaining) each and every weigh-in.  For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you'll notice that my page with all of my scale stats is gone.  I still have it, but it's in a hidden folder right now because I realized that I was giving that scale too much power.  It was awesome to jump on that thing when I was losing so much weight.  It told me I was feeling good because who can fight that feeling when things are going well?  I remember the first week I was on Optifast products ... I lost 19 pounds that week.  I know that it was a lot of water weight, but 19 pounds?  For a woman??  Mondays was my weigh-in date at the clinic and I posted that evening so people could see how much I had lost.  People even told me they would wait to see my post before going to bed.  It really was a great time of celebration for me.  Then, when the physical pain I've been going through really took a turn for the worst and I had to be put on medication and had to make a change with my eating plan, it was a horrible experience getting on the scale.  I remember one time when I gained 30 pounds in one week.  I know many of you remember that, too.  All of a sudden, that scale became the most awful thing because it produced feelings in me that no one deserves to feel about themselves.  It didn't matter that the bulk of that weight came on when I was put on steroids.  All I could think in my head is Kathy, you have failed.  So I had to make a change.

After starting WW, I decided that I wasn't going to step on my scale at home as much.  I still have it, but it's in the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom.  I can pull it out when I want, but it's not sitting out as it was before.  And if anything is going on, I don't automatically jump on it for validation, one way or the other.  I quickly realized through the course of my triumphs and difficulties that I need to celebrate non-scale accomplishments more.  That's not to say I'm not going to weigh because, let's face it, it is a tool to tell me if I'm at least headed in the right direction.  But right now, and this is just for me, I cannot put too much focus on a few pounds difference.  That will trigger me to overeat.  When I weigh in at the WW meeting, if it's going down, that's the right direction for me.  My weight loss is not going to be anywhere near as fast as it was on Optifast.  Now it's a steady 1-2 pounds per week.  Here are some tips I have learned to help me with dealing with the scale numbers:
  • (For those of you on WW) Don't look at your weigh-in results until after you've left the meeting because you can then be present for what's going on around you instead of focusing on the numbers.
  • You have no business comparing yourself against other people.  I have been so guilty of that and it's not fair to me, nor to the other person.  I appreciate that my friends are doing so well and don't want to take any of that happiness away from them.
  • Avoid weight-loss goals in terms of time, something like, "I'm going to be a size 12 by the summer."  
  • Make sure that you are also looking at inches lost, as that is a very good tool to accurately reflect where you're at.
  • The absolute most important reminder for me:  ask yourself what the scale is doing to you.  If I am weighing myself on a daily basis, is it making me crazy or is it helping me stay on track?  Be honest about this!  If it is making you crazy, like it was for me, do something to curb that.  For me it was putting my scale away out of my sight that made me feel relaxed.  
I will continue posting my weight on here, but periodically and not like clockwork before.  I have seen, after everything I've been through, that I have to be very gentle and kind towards myself in regards to that.   Having gained some of my weight back (although not most of it, thank you God) has been very difficult for me.  It has left me in tears more than I have admitted to anyone because I put so much work and sacrifice into taking off the weight to see it coming on again has been like a knife through my heart.  This has been really the most painful time for me, not just physically, which is significant, but emotionally as well.  The weight gain started with the addition of the medications that have side effects of weight gain, getting off of the Optifast products and the frustration I have been feeling with all of the chronic pain I've been going through.  That, in turn, has added more weight to my body.  As a result, I would eat more or inappropriate food to deal with the frustration and it has put me in a cycle that has left me with more and more weight on.

Thankfully now I'm on the downward trend, but I have to work very hard at fighting the urge to pick up the food.  It has been a real fight every freakin day.  It's not a fight I have all day long, but pretty much in the afternoon/evening is when I have the hardest time.  Sometimes it's a battle I win, sometimes not.  Thankfully I have my first appointment with the therapist on Thursday.  I have been trying to stay as positive as I can, but I do have my moments where the frustration gets the better of me.  I suspect that I'm going through a depression of sorts right now.  I've never been depressed before, but then again, I've never had to deal with something like this before where the physical pain has not gotten better.  When I had cancer, it was very painful going through surgery and recovery, but it eventually got better.  This has gotten worse.  Even at my heaviest weight, I never hurt near as much physically as I do now.   In fact, I found myself on webmd earlier today looking at symptoms of depression.  Obviously I'm not going to diagnose myself, but it may explain a lot.  I remember when I first made the appointment and how uncertain I was that seeing a therapist was something I wanted to do.  Now I'm certain it was the right move for me and I look forward to it.  It's pretty amazing how things work out that way, isn't it?  For me it's about facing fears and, when I do, the fear isn't anywhere near as huge as I had made it out to be.  That doesn't mean I'm not incredibly nervous about seeing the therapist because I know that things are going to come out during my appointments that I've kept locked inside of me for a long time.  That scares me, but I also realize that just because you close the door and throw away the key on something doesn't mean it's no longer on the other side of that door.  At some point, the door is going to have to be opened again if I want a fighting chance of moving forward.

Geez, puns aside, this was a heavy post today. Yet, I know that it's okay.  This is what I'm going through right now and I can all but guarantee that someone else out there is going through similar things as well.  So many people have commented to me that I have inspired them in the last year as I have lost weight and by not giving up as I've encountered challenges.  If anything,  now I hope the inspiration can be about standing up and fighting for your life, no matter what obstacles you may be facing.  Sometimes mine feel overwhelming, then I'll meet someone that is worse off than I am.  That's not to say that I am discounting my struggle, but it gives me the courage to stay and fight.  I've always been stubborn ... maybe now that's an asset instead of a defect. 

Before I close, I just want to say thank you to all of you for the support you've given me.  I have changed my blogroll list around a bit to incorporate Optifast blogs with all the others I read, but I appreciate you whether you have been on Optifast, WW, some other weight loss program or are here just to support me in general.  Sometimes when I post something on this blog, I'll hover my mouse over the publish button before I post it.  It's because I share extremely personal things on here and I wonder if I'm going to cross the line if I actually post the things I write about.  Then I remember the original purpose of this blog - to document my journey from 420 pounds down to whatever healthy weight God leads me to.  Sometimes that's a joyful journey and at other times it's incredibly difficult, but it's an honest glimpse into the road I travel.  Thanks for holding my hand and coming with me. 


Big Heart said...

We're blogging at the same time! It's funny (ironic funny) that you're posting about concentrating on other goals than the weight # because I just posted that I needed to be back on track. You're amazing Kathy! When we go walking I can't tell you're in pain. I never can. Until you tell me or I see you post about it. You are a very strong person and you are REAL, as in you are relatable. You continue to fight for your right to feel good and that is admirable. I hope your appt goes well!!

<3 Sara

Melissa said...

Hugs dear friend and what a fabulous post. As you know, I have a very, very difficult time with scales, and see the dietitian in a special session to work on this problem. I have been recently "ordered" (LOL) to not weigh for a week. Some might have no problem with this, but it makes me nervous and anxious now. I also have depression and want you to know it can be beautifully managed and the clouds lift and sunny skies return. So very, very proud of you for scheduling the therapy appointment -- that first call can be tough, but I know you'll never regret it! xoxo Melissa

Kathy said...

Thanks ladies for your support!

Sara, I am always in pain when we walk but I somehow push through it. It helps a lot that there's not an expectation that we will be zooming through our walk. Besides, talking with you helps me take the focus off the pain.

Melissa, that scale can be so horrid at times! I'm glad you're trying to work through issues with it. And thank you so much for encouraging me as I walk toward seeing that therapist. There's often a stigma associated with depression. Who knows if I have it, but this is a step in the right direction to work through it.

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