WHY can’t I take my own advice?

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Wendie and Betsy 2016

 

I weigh the same today as I did last year.

And it’s the same as the year before.

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SAME race 2015, with Spencer

This is 2+ years of stable weight for me.  Ups and downs, but year over year – I am staying almost the same. 🙂

And THAT is a big deal in my world.  A world that was dominated by very consistent weight gains my ENTIRE life.  Mixed-in with radical, unsustainable, starvation-style, short-lived weight losses. Such a life-long, nasty, horrible, depressing cycle.

Until 5 years ago.

I enlisted the help of Wade, Hannah, Liz, Deb and Anneke to be my accountability team and help me get control of my life before Type 2 diabetes and obesity killed me. I carefully tracked my weight loss over the 3 years I was losing and checked in with them all weekly.  But I have only been tracking my ‘stable’ weight for the last year and a half. This was in part prompted by Spencer asking me why I was paralyzed with fear at a ‘small’ weight gain.  I was in total meltdown, convinced I had gained 15 pounds or more overnight.  When we really investigated it and broke it down; it was about a 3 pound weight gain.  It felt MUCH BIGGER. But the truth was that I hadn’t tracked my weight consistently so I had NOTHING factual to go on. So the past 18 months or so I have documented my weight along with my workouts in my Garmin database.   Now I can only argue with graphs and facts.  Not my faulty and anxious memory.

I weigh 172.8 pounds today.

The part no one told me about this whole journey was that every little dip, dive, gain on that scale (Which is ENTIRELY NORMAL) often escalates into emotional drama and fear and over-reaction. I am ashamed to admit how many times I have stepped on the scale multiple times within a single day seeking reassurance or in some way hoping that stupid little machine would banish my fears…

Holy crap has the scale/my weight/a NUMBER had me in a chokehold.

This morning it was in graph form for me to see.  No arguing with anything.  I weigh the same as I did last year.  I told Spencer that my weight is now 2 years stable.  And his response ‘so what does that make you think about…?’

Good question. 🙂

I thought about ALL of the wasted time, drama, energy, self-loathing that have gone into the last few years where I was SURE every single food choice had the ability to catapult me backwards or derail my efforts. Let alone when I let the daily number on the scale dictate my mood for the day…

But this mornings weight and graph were pretty solid proof that I can actually manage my weight with food and activity. I’m doing the right things over the long haul, even if I don’t get the day to day stuff just right. 🙂

This morning’s realization and conversation also got me thinking…  Had I been open-minded at the start of this whole thing and could have listened to and absorbed some grounded advice — what information would have been helpful?

I really wish I could have told myself a few things when I started this whole crazy journey…

Told myself and BELIEVED it…

1. Your weight fluctuates.  Daily. It can go up or down during training.  If you have your period.  If you eat too much salt.  The rotation of the earth. 🙂 Sometimes it’s really legit gain because you ate too many calories because your friend Wendie makes this insane guacamole that you can not stop eating.  But you have to understand that your weight isn’t stable in the day to day. Not gonna happen. Quit even thinking it’s possible. And you know what?  It isn’t meant to be. You thought you got to a number and stayed there with just a little effort?  That this whole bodyweight thing was simple math and cut and dried?  Uh…  HELL NO.

2. Take measurements.  I really WISH I had known how big my hips or belly or thighs were at my largest.  I didn’t take measurements because — hell — who really wants to know that they have a 75” waist?  You will wish you had those body measurements for reference and reassurance in the process. At any point when you’re feeling ‘fat’, stalled or just wondering how far your journey has taken you — you can pull out a tape measure and be assured, well beyond the confines of a stupid scale, that you were NOT gaining anything but muscle or fitness.

3.  Worry is wasted energy.  Spend time looking for solutions and opportunities.

4. And for the love of ALL THAT IS HOLY quit beating yourself up. YOU, who you are at the very CORE of your being, has nothing to do with the number on a scale or the packaging of your body. NOTHING.  Please, oh please, just believe me on this one.  I’m in tears writing this.  I am crying for you and for myself too. Because I know you won’t believe me, you can’t fathom what I’m trying to tell you… This is the last thing you can possibly wrap your mind around when you’ve battled your weight your entire life and a number is staring you in the face — a number you hate.  A number so large you didn’t know the scale went that high. I know that feeling of panicked desperation and hopelessness as well as I know the sound of my own heart beating. Text me, call me, reach out to me and I will spend the rest of my life relentlessly reminding you of your value to our world. I’m a way better judge of your value than a stupid mechanical piece of crap you bought at Costco.

5. Don’t pick a number for a goal.  (See 1.) Don’t pick a clothing size either. That’s really just another number. Pick a feeling, activity, ability, destination.  You want to climb stairs and not be gulping for air?  You want to feel solidly OK with how you feel in your birthday or bathing suit? 🙂  You want to be able to hike, run, walk, move better….  PICK something that isn’t a transient, essentially meaningless, number.

6. Know that the BIG picture is worth all the little steps, mis-steps, concerns, questions, sacrifices. It’s hard work. It’s worth it.  And this is in NO WAY linear.  No way.  There is nothing direct, logical or straight about this path you are on.  And you’re going to be making stuff up as you go.

7. Do NOT let that scale dictate your mood to the world.  It’s up a bit?  DO SOMETHING about it.  Don’t be a bitch. Or walk around like someone ran over your dog. Or have a short fuse with loved ones.  Or start secluding yourself from the people you love because you feel you don’t ‘deserve’ their love or you’re deeply embarrassed. Stop allowing that stupid, effing, scale to affect your mood.

8. Please, please, please love on yourself.  And believe in yourself.  YOU will do this.  And you can’t see the day, but it’s coming; you will be healthy and happy. Your weight should not be allowed to dictate ANY of that.  You have so much to offer the world.  You’re an aunt.  A sister.  A friend.  A daughter.  A momma. A lot of really, really remarkable things that no one else in the whole entire world can possibly be! We were only given ONE of you. One. Do what you can each day to help yourself get healthy so you can be around and enjoy the life in front of you.  Be around for US.

9.  This isn’t a short-term investment.  You will look at something daily and judge it as not moving, plateaued (favorite Weight Watchers scapegoat phrase right there…) failing.  But if you can just HANG ON and look at this from the 3,000 foot view, look at this from a 365-day investment — you will see growth.  YOU WILL.  Really!  Keep at it.  You didn’t gain the weight over night.  You will not lose it overnight. Trite and irritating – but TRUE.

10. One of my favorite songs of all times is ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ by Tim McGraw.  You’re living this weight loss journey with a lot of fear.  Fear of going backwards.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of FAILURE…  What if…?  Holy smokes.  The fear you have embraced and live with could choke an elephant. What if you could just enjoy the journey for what it was and live each day like you are trying to be your very best? Living like you’re dying doesn’t mean you live with no consequences for your choices.  It means you accept each day, each moment for what it is and keep moving toward the goal you want to reach…


Even though I was intellectually aware of all of this,  I sure as hell did not understand it.  Couldn’t figure out how to apply it to my situation.  None of it.  I know that until very recently I simply wasn’t ready to hear it,  understand it.

Today prompted a lot of thinking.

This time I really am listening. 🙂

I hope that anyone else who might need to hear this is listening as well…

 

marilyn-ad-nike

10 thoughts on “WHY can’t I take my own advice?

    1. OH! My friend. I JUST saw this comment. I somehow missed this!!!! So many thoughts. You weren’t asking for my thoughts or opinions. But we’re kinda-sorta instant friends because we’re both doing the triple digit weight loss thing — and that makes us a tribe like it or not. 🙂 First? BE EASY ON YOURSELF! You have years of history that you are working to fight against and unravel. YEARS. And you’re tackling it day-by-day. Go easy on yourself! Second? Pick a goal. ONE. And then try to stick to it. Is it a 10K, a 20 day challenge, moving every day, logging food…. Get ONE goal. Get it going good and strong and then BUILD on that success. Having too many goal led to a sort of ‘mental fatigue’ for me… It was MORE stuff to do, more stuff to miss, more stuff to judge myself on… OI have one goal, I get good at it/nail it – and then I can pick something else and have that success in my back pocket. 🙂 Third? STOP WEIGHING EVERY DAY. Stop it. Really. What the hell does that stupid little number even tell you? You relaly want the ‘long line’ for your weight… Plotting it once a week or once every few weeks over a YEAR. That’s where the real information comes from how your lifestyle is working and where you’re headed. The most weight-stable/mentally-happy women I know NEVER WEIGH. They use a social trigger for knowing when to eat less for a period of time. Pants too tight? Feel stiff in a certain yoga pose? face looks a little rounder? Time to cut back on a few calories for a period of time…. STOP LETTING THAT EFFING SCALE TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE…. And stop letting it dictate what kind of life you are going to life. Use it as a tool, one single tool to help you figure out if you’re headed int he right direction in the big picture. Fourth? You’re not alone. And you’re loved. And you’re strong. And so much of what you are/who you are/what you do/ why people love you has NOTHING to do with running or food or weight or how you look. I wish I would have seen this post sooner. thank you for reaching out. Stay strong. Run Happy. Be easy on yourself.

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  1. Betsy this is such a fabulous post, thank you. I almost feel like I am reading a letter from my future self to me now (if that makes sense). I also googled the song, wow! What a beautiful one!
    It’s so encouraging to see people who have achieved what I want to and that includes the maintaining of the healthy lifestyle and weight loss. I’m looking forward to reading through your back story.
    Simcha

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      1. And I’m reading your blog — but I can NOT figure out how to comment. We are working to cement lifestyle changes and build a community of support. And we get to make it GLOBAL — how fun is that??! I’m here for you. 🙂

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  2. Well said Betsy! So happy to hear your voice speaking loud and clear in the insanity that is women’s body shaming! And just in case you wonder- those of us who had a smaller (numbers) journey still wrestle with the same stupid body issues and weight gain fears, sad but true.

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