Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I quit!!!

Alright. That's it. I've had it. I'm not going to participate anymore. I'm taking my ball and going home.

I'm talking about dieting. For over the past year I've been on a quest to try to lose the last 10-15 pounds of baby weight (well, let's be honest and call it “too many doughnuts while I was pregnant” weight). I tried lots of stuff. Meeting with a friend weekly to set goals. She lost 25 pounds, I lost 5. I tracked calories. I worked out...lots. I ate healthy. I became obsessed and discouraged. I bought new workout equipment. I ate vegetables, lean protein, protein drinks, drank water, gave up pop...and still I stayed in the same 5 pound range. Every week (or day) I would get on the scale and weigh...and let the number dictate my day. I would spend hours researching on the internet...looking for true research, not just the latest advertising in a $55 billion a year industry that has a 95% failure rate. So why was I stuck? And why did I care?

I'm not sure about #1. Maybe I cheated too much. Maybe there's something off in my body chemistry. I am about 15 pounds lighter than I was through high school and college. Maybe my body likes it here.

#2...well, come to find out, I don't (much). I realized part of the reason I wasn't losing is I actually don't mind how I look. What really matters to me more is how I feel. Energetic. Healthy. Friendly (something I'm not always good at when I'm tormenting myself with a scale). A few weeks ago I realized that my husband likes me as I am, and the torment of an arbitrary number was doing me no good.

So I gave it up. No more stepping on the scale (well, not for a while anyhow). No more counting calories or trying to carry out crazy exercise programs.

Does that mean I just get to sit on the couch watching Glee and eating bon bons?

Absolutely not! First, I prefer oreos over bon bons. And second, that doesn't help me feel energetic, healthy, or friendly. I am choosing to eat in a healthy way, but in a way that I can maintain. I am choosing to participate in daily exercise, but not to the extent that I tear up my knees any more than they already are. I am setting weekly goals for exercise and eating healthy but my success is not determined by the number on a scale. Completing each daily goal that moves me to a healthier me is the success.

I'll be honest, it's tempting to step back on the scale. But I've been hitting my goals and I feel great. If I were to step on that machine, it may show no difference and make me totally throw my hands up and say “bring me the oreos!” I also catch myself reverting back to spending too much time looking up extreme exercise programs and eating plans, neither of which I will be able to maintain for a lifetime. I want to spend my days enjoying life and the people around me...not jumping from one diet to the next or erasing carbs from my diet only to gorge on a chocolate cake the next day.

So diet industry, I'll keep my money. Your success rate sucks anyhow. But cultivating habits that last a lifetime...that's worth investing in.

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