To Weigh or Not to Weigh

THAT is the question.

This has been on my mind a lot lately.  As someone on a losing—maintaining—losing–repeat journey, this question pops up a lot.  In Weight Watchers meetings one will hear the recommendation that we only weigh one time a week, at our meetings.  I have read recommendations that one should not get on the scale, but rather use how clothing fits as a guide instead.  There are a lot of different thoughts on the topic of how often to weigh, all aimed at making us less tied to the scale, giving the scale less power over us and how we view ourselves.

And I GET that!  I know people who get stressed when they step on the scale and seeing it go up, even just a little can send them reeling…. Giving the scale the power to tell us our worth. 

But that scale cannot tell us our worth. 

With this being said, I weigh myself every day.  Yes, you read that right!  I weigh Every. Single. Day. 

Oh, and I weigh not just every day, but twice a day.  WHAT??

Extreme?  Obsessive?  Maybe for some, but NOT for me.

I weigh in the morning before I eat.  And I weigh at night before I go to bed.

Why?

It keeps me on track and gives me feedback, information I need. 

Now our bodies fluctuate every day, up and down.  So many things can go into what that scale says our weight is.  I know that.  And it does not bother me to see those fluctuations.  It gives me information instead of stress.  I know that my body will be heavier at night than it was that morning.  It will be lighter in the morning than it was the previous night.  Salt, lack of water, weather, exercise, medications, how I am feeling, hormones…. Well they all play a roll in the normal fluctuations in my weight from day to day and moment to moment. 

So why then do I weigh every day, twice a day?  Because it gives me feedback.  It gives me information.  Knowledge about my body.  And knowledge IS power!

I began weighing twice a day during my fifth journey with weight watchers, on my way to my goal.  By stepping on the scale every day, I was able to see those normal fluctuations.  I learned that every 28 days my body weight went up, not a little but 5lbs or more.  Now if I had not been weighing every day THAT may have freaked me out, causing me to slip and eventually give up.  But because of the feedback I had been gathering, I knew it was normal for me and that the next week it would go right back down without me doing anything different.  It was a hormonal fluctuation.  I learned what salt did to my body and what happened if I didn’t drink enough water.  And it had to be water, because other fluids didn’t work like water did. 

I knew that my weekly weigh in would be down because during the week, the ups and downs and ups again showed that the ups were lower than the previous ups…. I WAS losing…. And learning how my body worked. 

One meeting during my journey to my goal, my leader talked about the scale and how we allow it to define us (she walked in with a “scale” tied to her leg, dragging it behind her…something I later did in my own meetings).  And that is when I shared that I weighed every day.  The gasps!  Oh my!  The others were quite shocked that I weighed other than at my weekly meeting.  My friend who attended with me only weighed at the meetings.  So, we all discussed what works and how to know if the scale was a stressor or an aide.  At that meeting my friend and I committed to doing the opposite of what we had been doing…. She would weigh every day for the week, and I would NOT step on the scale until the next meeting….. Oh man was that going to be hard!

And it WAS hard.  Turned out to be the most stressful week for both my friend and I.  Stepping on the scale for her was STRESS.  She didn’t like seeing the scale go up, even if it was normal part of the journey, a healthy weight fluctuation.  It made her want to eat.  And me, well NOT stepping on the scale was extremely stressful!  I had no idea how I was doing.  I had no idea if I needed to make adjustments.  I had no idea what was happening with my body weight and it really scared me, making me want to eat.  That stress showed up for both of us on the scale at our next meeting. 

And we both immediately went back to what worked for us.  I love that about Weight Watchers and meetings.  It is NOT a one-size-fits-all program.  In those meetings there are others on a similar journey, and we share ideas, successes, challenges, and what works for us.  We get ideas to try when things are not working for us.  And every single person gets to decide what works for them and what doesn’t. 

Knowing what works for us is a big part of making this journey a lifestyle and making it last.  What works for one person may not work for another.  And there in no ONE right way to do this. 

For me, weighing every morning and every night works.  It just does.  I get the feedback I need.  And when I stop stepping on the scale every day, it also gives me feedback.  When I stop stepping on the scale that is when I am struggling…. Things aren’t going well…..  And then when I wrap my head back around this journey and what I need to do, I step back on the scale, taking the feedback it gives me and using it to make adjustments or to continue doing what I am doing because it is working.

Ask yourself how the scale is affecting your journey.  Are you getting on it every day?  Or only once a week?  Or not at all?  If getting on the scale everyday stresses you out…. If stepping on that metal box makes you cringe….. if seeing the number go up after doing everything right makes you want to quit…. Then DO NOT step on the scale until that weekly meeting…. Or use non-scale ways to measure your success on your journey.

But if, like me, stepping on the scale is just another means of feedback and aids you on your journey…. if staying off the scale is your stressor… then step on the scale when you need too. 

Find what works for you!  We each need to ask the question “to weigh or not to weigh” and then find the answer that works for us.  We need to find what takes the power from the scale and gives it back to us!  As long as you do not let that scale define who you are or what your worth is, you have got this!  You will be successful!

I have found what works for me and I continue to do it most of the time.  I am NOT perfect at this…. But I am NEVER giving up! 

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I Am Worth It!

This week’s topic “Ease Emotions without food” really talks to what I have written about a couple of times already.  And it applies to my journey and my AHA moment on my journey to goal and lifetime.  I am an emotional eater, but you already know that.  So, I wanted to share my story, my beginning with you to let you know where I come from on my journey. 

I joined Weight Watchers for the 5th time in March 2006, after having tried many different methods/programs to lose my weight.  I had tried meetings 4 times before and I never reached my goal….. I never lost more than 20 lbs on Weight Watchers.  But I needed to do something.

My doctor had suggested that I lose just 20 lbs.  I had back issues that would land me in the hospital every couple of years, in immense pain and unable to walk much.  He thought that losing “just 20 lbs” would help take some of the pressure off my back, and hopefully would help me get to a point of not having to have back surgery, something I was adamantly against. 

While the suggestion from my doctor had me thinking about joining Weight Watchers again, it was what happened the night before I joined that really got me through the door.

I was in the kitchen, standing in front of the sink with an open bag of Oreo cookies in one hand and tears flowing down my cheeks.  I was shoveling those cookies in my mouth, eating them without tasting them.  And talking to myself, out loud.  I was hurt and angry and not being kind to me at that moment. 

And then I said the words, out loud, that made me stop dead in my tracks—“Terri, you are killing yourself…… and I DON’T care, no one does, and no one will care when I am gone”.

Talk about a smack upside the head and a moment that made me hold my breath.  Did I really think that?  Did I really not care that my overeating was killing me?  That one day this unhealthy way of living would be the end of me?   Saying those words out loud, actually hearing myself say them, well it scared me.  I HAD to do something.

And I did.  The next morning, I walked into that Weight Watchers meeting.  I was scared, nervous and ashamed.  I had been to that meeting before and I didn’t want to see anyone I had seen before.  I was at my highest weight, ever!  And I was embarrassed.  Something had to change.

I sat through the meetings that first year, which was the longest I had stuck with Weight Watchers.  I learned to track my food, to eat the right portions and to make healthier choices.  I was making friends in my meeting and I felt safe.  I also loved my leader, she inspired me each week and she cared about me and the other members.  And that made a huge difference for me. 

I lost 20 lbs that first year.  The most I had ever lost on my attempts with Weight Watchers.  But I was struggling and I couldn’t seem to push past that 20 lbs.  I still had over 50 lbs to go.  I was feeling frustrated and was on the verge of giving up.

It was at that point that my leader gave me a popsicle stick…. She said it was to remind me to stick to it.  I took it home and taped the popsicle stick to my pantry door, where my comfort foods waited for me to eat them.  Later that same day I got a phone call from a family member.  That phone call upset me and when I hung up the phone the first thing I did was walk straight to the pantry.  I wanted… NEEDED… the peanut butter, chips, cookies…. anything that I could eat that would stuff those emotions all back deep inside me.

And then I saw it…. The popsicle stick.  I stopped.  I did not open the pantry door.  Instead I turned around and sat down on the couch.  And then it hit me!  I am a food addict.  Food was my answer to anything in my life and food was the answer to how I felt about myself and how I dealt with the pain of my abusive childhood. 

That AHA moment changed everything for me.  I realized in that moment that I did not think I was worth it.  I was not worth the effort it would take to lose the weight and get healthy.  I spent my young years and teen years being told just how worthless I was, and I realized in that moment that I believed I WAS worthless.

I knew I needed to change something or I would never succeed at this journey… or at anything in my life.  I sat there and cried.  And then I grabbed my laptop and I began to write what was to become my weight loss journal.  And I titled it “Stop Eating Your Emotions”.  It was while I was writing that I decided I needed to start each morning looking in the mirror and saying 4 words.  Those 4 words are the most empowering words I have EVER said to myself:

I AM WORHT IT!

I started saying those words the next morning.  And I did not believe it.  But I kept saying those 4 words, every morning.  I did not believe them that first week, or the next.  It was a couple of months of saying those 4 very empowering words before I started to believe them.

I am worth it!

I am worth more than that jar of peanut butter.  I am worth more than the chips, cookies, cake, ice cream and candy.  I am worth it to go to my meeting every week and I am worth taking care of.

Those 4 words changed EVERYTHING for me.

It took me another 10 months to lose my last 52 lbs.  I lost 72 lbs to reach my goal weight.  I felt amazing!  I liked myself and I believed I was worth it.

I reached my goal weight on January 10, 2008 and lifetime 6 weeks late on February 14, 2008.  I had done it! 

And while I am now 23 lbs over my goal (I weighed in today and lost another 1 lb for a total of 2.4 lbs in 2 weeks), I KNOW I will NOT go back to the girl I was before Weight Watchers changed my life.  While I forget some days, especially during the difficult times I have had these past few years, that I am worth it, it is easier for me to get back to that mindset, easier to remember that I am worth it! 

I am not that little girl any longer, the girl filled with pain and wanting to stuff the uncomfortable feelings deep inside.  I am not the girl who didn’t care that I was killing myself, slowly.  When tough days come, I remember how far I have come.  The weight has gone up a little, but because of the confidence and self-worth I gained on my journey to goal and because of the tools I keep in my back pocket, I can stop the gain before I lose too much control.  And that is the difference between the “me” of today, and the “me” before Weight Watchers.

I am worth it! 

No matter how imperfect.  No matter how many slips I may have.  I am worth it!  And this journey is worth it! 

I still have the popsicle stick that my leader gave me all those years ago.  It is now tucked away in a keepsake box…. maybe it is time to bring it back out and tape it onto my pantry door…. A gentle reminder that I can do this and that I am worth it!

Do Something Different

I missed my workshop yesterday, just couldn’t get there.  Sometimes things happen and plans need to change.  Life happens.  Or your husband needs the car at the same time as you need to go to your workshop, so of course you let your husband take the car. 

And I missed my workshop. 

In the past when I missed a workshop, I skipped the week.  That was my workshop and if I couldn’t get there then I would just decide to go the next week.  Well…..

Skipping a week did not usually go well for me.  Skipping the week usually gave me a mindset of skipping everything.  I would then go off-track, not just the day I missed, but the next day and the next and before I knew it, the week was gone and all plans to make it a GREAT two weeks had long flown out the window. 

And these past couple of years I missed more workshops than I made it too.  Another sign of how things were going for me. 

I heard from another member of WW that this time she was not giving up, because she knew what that felt like and this time she wanted to see what would happen if she didn’t give up.  WOW!  She inspired me and others when she shared this in a workshop. 

I committed when I started this blog and when I bought that monthly pass, to go to my weekly weigh-in and weekly workshop.  And I committed to myself to keep going until I was back at goal and then to keep going in order to stay at goal.  I know what NOT going looks like and feels like and I know what going feels and looks like, which I would much rather feel! 

So, I went this morning.  I couldn’t go yesterday but I could go today.  A different mindset is taking over. 

To see change, to reach goals and to be successful, I HAVE to do something different than I was doing.  As my leader/coach said many years ago in a workshop—“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got!”  So, do something different.  Get the results you want by not giving up, by not quitting. 

And today, instead of doing what I have done often in the past when I missed my workshop, I went to a workshop.  Changing what I do.  Doing something different.  Taking care of me!

I went to a workshop!

I showed up!  I stepped on the scale and had a loss of 1.4 lbs!!  Woohoo!!  And that was after a week where I did not track every day.  Where I wasn’t perfect.  And I still saw success.  Proof that this journey does not need to be perfect to be effective!  I just had to change something, just one thing, and I did that by doing those three things this past week instead of eating my stress.  Doing something different.  Changing what I do. 

Now imagine what would happen if I really tracked this week!   Hmmm….. I think there is some accountability here and that is the one thing I will work on this week (as I continue to do my three things instead of eating that stress).  One thing at a time.  One change at a time.  One step at a time. 

Doing something different will get me where I want to go!

Three things

While waiting in line to step on the scale at last weeks workshop, I had a chance to talk with the coach. We know each other, having been co-workers previously. But this conversation was a member who was struggling talking with and seeking accountability from her coach.

I answered her questions honestly. After I told her I would be getting on the scale and that it would not be pretty, she asked how my week had looked. Honestly, the week hadn’t been too bad, I told her. The real problem…. was the last couple of years and the stress I had been eating….. like the entire bag of chips I had finished in 1 hour just a few days ago (and still, my week was not bad! I have had much worse weeks!).

The topic for the week was on food and not feeling deprived. And yes, that is one of the things I love about WW– NO food is off limits. So she asked me if not having chips, or saying I couldn’t have them would leave me feeling deprived.

And I again answered her honestly. No, I wouldn’t feel deprived. In fact, most of the food I turn to for emotional reasons, are not foods I really LOVE. I eat them for other reasons. And when I am not stressed, or worried, or (insert any emotion) those foods just don’t taste as good.

So then my coach did what I needed. She asked me what I could do instead of eating the stress. Hmmm. Okay, I know that. I talked for years about finding something other than food to feed the needs of the heart and head so many times with members who walked into my workshops. But hearing her say it, hearing her ask me what I could do different, well, that is what I needed.

She asked me if I could come up with three things this week that I could use as my “go-to’s” instead of food for non-physical hunger. Yes, I could come up with three things. And then she added in the accountability aspect– she said she would check with me next week to see what three things I came up with.

Accountability! Not just for coming up with three things, but also in being at the workshop the next week. Double the accountability!

THAT is why I go to workshops! THAT is one of the reasons workshops work!

So, I came up with three things– I will write. I will scrapbook, I will go for a walk or swim (depending on the weather).

Three things. Accountability. Making habit changes one step-at-a-time.

Now, I will say, I wasn’t perfect this week. Did I have moments of emotional eating? Yes. But only short moments. Then the three things kicked in. My week isn’t over. And I am doing more of those three things than I am eating right now. Not perfect. This journey does not need to be perfect to be effective!

Looking forward to my workshop this week and sharing with my coach what I came up with.

Perfectly Imperfect

Why?

Why start this blog?

Why now?

First, let me introduce myself.  I am Terri.  And I am a lifetime member of WW (Weight Watchers).  I reached my goal weight in 2008, after losing 72 lbs.  I am currently over my goal weight and working on getting back to my goal, back to me.

I also recently resigned as a Leader/Coach for WW.  I had worked for WW in 5 different states and for 10 years.  I loved working in meeting rooms, now workshops.  I was inspired every single week.  Every. Single. Day.   And I miss it.  I miss the members.  I miss the inspiration.  And I miss the accountability.

So here I am.  Writing this blog. 

Why am I writing now, so many years after reaching my goal and lifetime status?  I want to share my journey of losing weight.  I want to share my journey of maintaining (when I get back there).  I want a place where I can reflect on this journey and the things I learn. 

And I want accountability.

As a leader/coach, I had accountability with my members, with my co-workers and with myself.  I was never perfect.  I still struggled then and struggle now.  And I have successes.  But the accountability helped me to get back on track when I had an off-track day…. or week….. or month. 

I also wrote a weekly email that I sent to the members who attended my workshops.   And now I miss writing that email as much as I miss coaching workshops.

I don’t know if anyone read those emails.  I don’t know if what I wrote helped anyone, but I still wrote it.  The chance it could help someone was only part of why I wrote it.

I realize, now that I am no longer writing that weekly note, that those emails were as much for me, as they were for those I sent it too. 

You see, in writing those emails I was able to reflect.  Reflect on my own journey.  Reflect on that week’s topic and how it had impacted my journey previously and how it applied now, where I was at on my journey in that moment.  That weekly email also gave me an opportunity to mull over the questions I asked in the workshops and the answers the members gave me.  It gave me time to answer the questions myself. 

And I miss that.  I miss the reflection.  I miss learning from my members.  I miss the aha moments those workshops gave me and how I reinforced what I was learning when I wrote those emails.  For me, writing has always been a way to express how I feel and a way to sort through the mess in my head.  Writing helps me to reinforce the positive and get rid of the negative.

So, this blog is inspired by those emails.  It is a place where I can share my thoughts on not just the topic for the week, but also the things I learn from members in the meeting I attend.  It is a place for me to share where I am at on my journey and where I want to be.  To write and reflect on what I am doing, how I am changing and how this journey continues to evolve for me. 

And it is also an accountability tool.  By writing my journey, by sharing my successes and challenges, by sharing my Perfectly Imperfect Journey I am finding accountability.  Writing it here for others to read means I WILL do it.  I know I CAN do it.  The real question is will I?  And with the help of this blog, I will!

You will see as you join me on this Perfectly Imperfect Journey, that I am honest and open with my struggles and my successes.  And I am not perfect….. Who is?  We grow and change in the imperfections of our lives and by stepping outside our comfort zone.  So, this is about being real.  About being healthy.  About losing the weight I have gained over the past very tough few years.  About changing the way I think about food and about me.  And so much more. 

This is about remembering that I am worth it!  And that the journey does not need to be perfect to be effective.

I hope you will come along with me, laugh and cry with me, celebrate with me, and share in the challenges, realizing that we are not alone on this journey…. Someone else gets it!  And together we can reach any goals we set.

We just have to start. 

So here, right now, my accountability starts.  I went to my workshop this morning and weighed in.  I had not stepped on a scale in a workshop in months.  I knew what it was going to say because I weigh myself at home every day.  But it was still hard to step on that scale, in front of someone I knew…….

I am starting this blog and continuing my journey right here, right now.  I am currently 26 lbs over my goal weight.  Wow, THAT was hard to write.  But it is the truth.  It is also the last time I will be at this weight.  I CAN and I WILL lose this 26 lbs and get back to where I am healthy and happiest, on my Perfectly Imperfect Journey!