Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hops, Skips and Jumps

Anyone who has read even a smattering of posts on this blog knows that I don't weigh myself often, and, indeed, did not weigh myself at all for a very long time after changing my life and myself. These days, I weigh myself once a month because progress has become impossible to measure from visual or environmental indications alone. This is part of what happens as your weight goes lower and I knew that even back when I first started.

I usually weigh myself at the beginning or end of the month, give or take a few days. I always ask myself before I step on the scale if whatever number comes up, be it a little higher or a little lower, is going to frustrate or upset me. If the answer is "yes", then I don't weigh myself. The answer these days is always "no", it will not bother me.

I don't blog often about the numbers, because they are secondary to the changes themselves. If you are newish to this blog, then you may not know that I make behavioral and psychological changes my goals, not numbers or dress sizes. The numbers only ensure that my psychology and behavior are where they need to be for continued progress. They tell me if I'm going far enough, or too far too fast. They don't tell me what to think, feel, or do, however.

Last time I weighed myself, my weight had taken a pretty big drop down to 186 lbs. The time I weighed myself after that, it had "gone back up" to 191 lbs. The truth is, and I'm writing about this because I want to stress this point strongly to anyone who is struggling with weight issues, I didn't lose as much as I appeared to the first time nor did I gain any the second time. The numbers are affected by a lot of things - whether or not I have defecated or urinated recently, whether or not I have eaten and what I have eaten, the time of day, the time of month, the amount of water I have drunk, the temperature of the room and how much exercise I've been getting in. The sensitivity of the scale may also factor into it.

When I went "up" after a month, I wasn't distressed because I knew the numbers weren't a reflection of a setback or lack of progress. One of the useful things about making behavior and psychology the goal is that the outcome is a natural consequence, not the end-all and be-all. I know what I do and I know what will happen if I keep doing it. And I weighed myself today because I had noticed a physical change which looked like I'd experienced a change in size. My weight was 182 lbs. Of course, this number is also not accurate, and I may see some other fluctuation next month, but that's okay. It's worth noting that I am now just a few pounds short of having lost 200 lbs. Also, at 174 lbs., I will magically go from "obese" to "overweight". I'm not sure if my body can tell the difference between now and 8 lbs. less from now, but I'm sure a doctor will think it's a big deal.

My current body, in a big shirt, but pants that actually fit. You can see how most of my weight is down on the bottom. Those lumps in the middle aren't love handles. It's the shirt bagging out. I actually have a much smaller waist than can be seen here.

Sometimes I look at my body and just ache to get to the end of this, not because I'm itching to stuff myself with food again. I know that I'm only two or three glasses of milk away from the calorie level at which I might be eating for the rest of my life. I'm anxious simply to be seen as "normal" and to not have any concerns that I'm being judged by my weight. And I still am judged by my body size. What is more, I'm anxious to go to a doctor and have him listen to my symptoms rather than dismiss everything based only on body size. The latter is something which I will face soon as I'm going to have a full check-up in September.

This will be for the first time in many, many years that I will do such a thing. I put it off because I didn't want to face the prejudice, but now, I'm old enough to face the fear and judgement in the interest of knowing where I stand physically. Frankly, I'm not especially worried about the outcome. My guess is that my numbers will look pretty good because my lifestyle habits are pretty good with regular (non-strenuous) exercise and very balanced nutrition. That isn't to say I still don't eat a cookie or a bit of chocolate everyday, but just that I don't think a bite of such things here and there sink the health ship.

Part of me is almost keen to get tested to see if a bunch of machines will tell me I'm as okay as I think I should be. Perhaps I'm fooling myself though. Perhaps all of this weight loss hasn't done anything for me and good eating and regular exercise aren't what they're cracked up to be. It wouldn't be the first time in my life that I did everything "right" and ended up somehow being "wrong" at the end, but I can hope.