More than a Number

Yesterday I talked about the number on the scale… the magical goal weight that some of us envision as our happy place.   The number that has been a focus of my diet journey.  Today I want to consider the notion that maybe that number matters less than I had always thought.

I have historically given too much power to my scale.  If I stepped on and didn’t like what I saw, chances are I would then also not like myself very much that day.  Number high = mood low.  If I saw a low number, I might feel happy for no other reason.  Happy just because the scale made me that way.  I have always felt that it is wrong to let my feelings and mood get caught up by what I weigh each day.  But my mind and emotions do not always follow rational, logical thinking.

The other day I got on the scale and the number was nice.  I liked it.  But I didn’t like me.  I didn’t like that I had gone off track with my eating for a few days.  There were negative emotions from the cheating that had nothing to do with the number on the scale.  I was disappointed in myself.  I was disappointed in choices I had made.  All while I was not disappointed in the number on the scale.  Huh?

And then I realized that the opposite is also true:  when I am eating the way I should be eating, I am in a better emotional place.  I feel stronger and happier and I like myself more.  It isn’t just about how much I weigh (even though there is clearly a cause and effect most of the time).  It has become about a lifestyle and how living that lifestyle makes me feel.  And it makes me feel good:)  And I am not talking about the actually physical “feel”:  the less-tired-more-energetic feel.  I’m talking about the indefinable peace of mind that comes with knowing I am eating well, the sense of satisfaction that I am in control.  And when I fall of the wagon, or the horse, or whatever we call cheating, I don’t like how I feel.  In the moment.  Later.  At the end of the day.  Or the next morning when I wake with regret.  And just to be clear, I am talking about those out-of-control-why-am-I-doing-this-again cheats… not the planned or special occasion cheats treats.

So I am going to call this a lifestyle-not-a-diet-that-ends epiphany!  I can make my life better and myself happier by what I eat and it has little nothing to do with what I weigh.  I like the Karen who eats healthy and stays on plan:)  I like her mood.  I like her strength.  I like that she goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning with no regret about food and eating.  Now I just need to remember this in the moment when the food is calling to me, tempting me.  And I need to remember this when I look at the scale and don’t like the number reflected back.

Progress.  One mouthful at a time.

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23 Comments

Filed under dieting, emotions/emotional issues, making a change, weight issues

23 responses to “More than a Number

  1. I think you have a very good point and I definitely let the number on the scale dictate my mood sometimes (more than I care to admit!)

    On the other hand, if I’m eating well and the scale isn’t cooperating, I can rest assured still that as long as I continue to exercise and eat on plan, the scale will eventually resolve itself. It may not say what I want it to say every single day, but if I’m doing the right things, it will eventually result in something positive.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Hello? Weekend? Are you there? =-.

    • Karen

      I like that thinking and have tried to adopt it myself this time around, remaining focused on my lifestyle and all that does for me, instead of the sometimes uncooperative scale. Most days.

  2. This is an excellent point. Because what might be a big number for me, might not be for you. It’s about body perception – and your height and build.

    I think how you feel is a better indicator personally, and staying positive.

    Have a great weekend! 🙂
    .-= Debora Dennis´s last blog ..Starbucks App Love =-.

  3. That is a really positive way to look at it:) I also like to go by how my clothes fit, as opposed to the reading on the scales.
    .-= Hear Mum Roar´s last blog ..Quick rice pudding for cheats =-.

    • Karen

      Clothes can be a great indicator. I need to get rid of my baggy knit pants with forgiving stretch and my loose summer dresses. None are fitted enough to let me know how I am doing.

  4. congrats on your amazing, important epiphany! Right on! I always, always make very conscious decisions about the worthiness of eating less than healthy food or even portions of healthy food. “Is it worth it?” “How much will I regret it, if at all?” Kinda, actually, like I told my daughters about pre-marital sex. LOL

    ok, I better stop now. 😛
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..I Plan on Losing Eleven More Pounds! =-.

    • Karen

      I love that analogy! I am collecting analogies now about dieting and don’t be surprised if you see that someday in a post:)

  5. YAY! Such a great way/weigh to view this journey most of your readers (especially me!) are on. I believe your approach is the only method to make this a life-long change, but DAMN it’s hard to do when plateaus hit or cravings recur or emotional eating re-emerges.

    Keep up your epiphanies – we all benefit from them!
    .-= Sskar´s last blog ..I Didn’t “Kneed” This =-.

    • Karen

      It is hard! Just last week when I overate I was not thinking about how great I felt when I didn’t. Or maybe I was thinking but in the moment the craving was stronger than the memory. This is such a process! Just when I think I have it figured out I take a step backwards. But I am moving forwards again.

  6. Diet Buddy

    http://www.cytosport.com/products/muscle-milk/muscle-milk-light-100-calorie-ready-to-drink

    It’s a lactose free ready to drink shake with low carbs and high protein. Most drinks like this are chalky, but this one rocks. I could only have liquids before my procedure and this was included!

    Where are you going on vacation?

    • Karen

      Can’t tell you that here… it is a surprise destination for my husband’s 50th birthday and he reads all the comments! But I will certainly blog about it eventually. And I can say that I have bought new, smaller shorts to take with me:) Yahoo for that!

  7. sunnydaze

    Great post. Amen to it – especially the last paragraph. That is exactly how I feel. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

    • Karen

      Thanks SunnyD. (I always think of you as that, reminds me of the orange drink, to distinguish you from the other Sunny.) Hope you get some great walks in this weekend.

  8. Great post- it’s so true- just today my workout buddies and I were talking about how much better we feel since we’ve been consistently working out 3x a week after lunch 🙂

    And the best part is- I enjoy my food more knowing it’s something I can eat without any regrets 🙂 And I’m eating more than carrot sticks and yogurt! lol.
    .-= beerab´s last blog ..TGIF =-.

  9. I think I might cry! I had the same epiphany (though I don’t think mine was as eloquent.) Doesn’t it feel more “right” to base your feelings of success on your actions? We can control our actions! Or choose not to (carefully) when we want! Knowing that we’re doing the best we can for ourselves is soooo empowering! It keeps my momentum going!

    I’m so glad you’re in such a good space!
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..For Your Consideration: A Day of Rest =-.

    • Karen

      Cammy!!! I just had a second epiphany thanks to you! I so had not realized that point about basing the feelings of success on something I could control! I didn’t make that connection. And I am a control freak! I need to think about this more. There may be a whole post in my future just on this comment. Thank you for such wisdom again:)

  10. what a great epiphany!
    it IS about how you feel, not the number on the scale. try to look at it as trying to get healthy, physically and mentally, as opposed to getting thin.
    .-= love2eatinpa´s last blog ..Amazing Book – “goodbye ed, hello me” =-.

  11. I really is all about the lifestyle. I too have been rewarded on the scale for no good reason and felt almost angry like “this is not how it’s supposed to work!” Maybe I thought I needed to be punished just like when I’ve been good I need to be rewarded. Unfortunately the scale doesn’t always work that way. This is what I have figured out: eat good = feel good.

    Can’t it just be that simple?
    .-= My Lipstick Life´s last blog ..Can We Turn Up The Heat In Here? =-.

    • Karen

      Simple, isn’t it? Yet why is it so hard for so many of us to remember that when we are putting something “not good” into our mouths?

  12. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » Control Freak

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