I don’t weigh myself anymore. It’s been about a month since I did. This may come to a surprise to people who have been following me and know I used to be a daily weigher.
Those who really know me should not be surprised though, because if there’s one thing I will always continue to embrace, it’s change. I know that in order to continue to grow, I will sometimes change my mind.
So what happened? A couple of things. The first thing was my injury the day after Labor Day, when I fell and suffered a concussion. My weight all the sudden meant less to me. It seemed so silly and ridiculous the amount of time I spent ensuring I always stayed in the same range after losing 120 pounds 2 years ago. Every day, weighing myself, adjusting what I ate, adjusting what exercise I did… it seemed reasonable at the time. It doesn’t now. When I was really feeling shitty from the concussion, I felt like it was clear which things were important and which weren’t. Spending a lot of time thinking about my weight lost importance, it went into the same category as stressing out about my job. Not that it’s simple stop thinking about those things, but I’ve been putting in the effort not to be absorbed by things that don’t improve my daily happiness.
I’ve relaxed significantly. The other thing that I’m dealing with is my chronic back pain which has been constant and frankly getting worse for the last year. I’ve de-intensified my exercise for this reason. I’ve been listening to my body, and my physical therapist. I’ve stopped lifting heavy weights altogether. I’ve stopped running. I’ve stopped doing any sort of impactful exercise. I’ve started doing certain yoga poses specifically for my back. I’ve started doing the gentle abdominal exercises prescribed to me. I get my heartrate up by uphill walking, elliptical trainer, or recumbent biking.
I’ve also started changing my daily habits to eliminate long periods of sitting. I just received a standing desk for my office at work and I’m already sitting less than 4 hours a day at work which is a huge improvement over sitting over 8 hours or more. I plan to gradually reduce sitting time as much as I can.
I feel really good about my eating habits. I haven’t changed what I’ve been eating, though I’ve become more aware of eating what I really want to eat and spending less time thinking about whether I “should” eat it. I’ve found that I often want a hot breakfast with eggs, something I used to have very infrequently. I’ve found that for lunch, I generally want soup or chili. I’ve found that for dinner, I tend to prefer a huge pile of vegetables with some sort of grain or pasta.
But I’ve also found that sometimes, I don’t need to cook everything from scratch. At least once a week, I’ve been having a frozen Amy’s meal (love them!). Sometimes I stop at Whole Foods and make myself a big salad for lunch or get breakfast from their hot foods case. I sometimes have Chipotle for dinner. Starbucks has this veggie artisan sandwich I just love.
I had gotten so adverse to foods I didn’t cook myself, that I was foregoing these things, that I do actually really like! Yes, I can make decently good pre-made food choices. I don’t need to be so stringent. I still cook most of what I eat myself, but I’m just feeling less strict about it and this has released so much stress from my life that I didn’t really realize was building up.
And finally, the tipping event, I started reading the book Health at Every Size. I plan to review it when I finish it, but the minute I started reading it, I recognized something in myself that I immediately knew had to stop: spending one more second thinking about my weight. Done. Over it. That’s that.
And here’s the real kicker, something I never realized until I started to read this book. Say what I would about focusing on health instead of weight, I was not entirely doing that myself.
I am doing it now. Part of letting go was coming to a place of acceptance that I might gain some weight. That’s what stopped me from getting off the scale for so long: fear of gaining weight. In fact, when I stopped weighing myself last April for a month, I did gain weight.
And I’ve been struggling for awhile about this, but not wanting to write about it because I wanted to let what was taking place mentally with me happen naturally and not be influenced by the opinions of others. I have been vacillating between thinking of trying to lose the bit of weight I re-gained and embracing it. Every once in awhile I’d fire up the old MyFitnessPal app and start thinking about counting calories… and it just didn’t happen.
I realized something when I got that concussion. Being comfortable with my eating and exercise habits as they are now, listening to what my body needs, focusing on the medical issues I have, these things are more important to me than what I weigh. The way I know to lose weight, calorie counting, means giving up something that’s more important to me: my very healthy relationship with food! I have never had such a reasonable, moderate, and satisfying relationship with food. To put it bluntly, I don’t want to fuck with a good thing.
In making this decision, I feel so powerful because I am ignoring all the false messaging that we all must constantly obsess about our weight. Note, this does not mean I no longer work out and I am going to eat a bunch of fast food and gain 100 pounds again. I get so tired fo hearing that from people: that if you aren’t focused on your weight, the only other option is cheesy nachos, pizza, cake, chips, and television. That’s just a false choice, a red herring. I love my healthy lifestyle! Exercise is vital! Eating real whole foods most of the time is practically magic in the way it makes you feel. Don’t worry, I’m not headed to the drivethru.
Our society is so damned overly-obsessed with our weight, losing weight, gaining weight, celebrity’s weight, baby weight, and being on a diet to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t want to be a part of that. I definitely love that I can inspire people because I lost a lot of weight, but I’m hoping that instead of focusing on that aspect, I can get people to see that the most profound changes I have made over this journey are much deeper and more important: my actions, my habits, my internal dialogue, my self-esteem, my self-respect, my commitment to my own physical and mental health, taking care of my nutritional needs, and regularly moving my body. Without these things, weight loss would be meaningless.