Last week was not a good one for discipline. The exercise got done but the workouts weren't as intense as the weeks before. And eating? Fugedaboudit! After all, the traditional Memorial Day cook-out meant potato chips, s'mores and strawberry shortcake.
Days before I got on the scale I was composing a confessional type post in my head about why I gained weight instead of losing. Saturday morning, full of trepidation, I forced myself to get on. When the scale said I had lost a pound, a whole pound and nothing but a pound, I jumped off before it had time to change its mind. I grabbed the tape measure, now ready to face the truth. Down half an inch!
What a mess of mixed thoughts in my head. This was great! I ate what I wanted, didn't exercise that hard and I still lost! But wait, how can that be? And wasn't it just a week ago that I was feeling the opposite? Wasn't I a super good girl back then and my weight didn't budge?
This is dangerous territory. What if I allow myself to think I can abandon the ideals of good eating and exercise and still lose weight? No good can come of that. It just doesn't make sense. How could I defy the laws of weight-loss physics? There has to be another explanation.
In the first book Bob Greene wrote with Oprah, Make The Connection, he said Oprah had trouble with this. If I remember correctly, he said she'd get all snarly because for weeks she worked like a dog and the scale didn't show it. Oprah can be scary when she's snarly, just ask James Frey. Greene (with infinite patience, I imagine) explained to her that our bodies don't work on the Roman calendar like our minds do. There is so much going on physiologically in the day to day workings of our body we can't say why or when it will decide to reflect on the scale the amount of real fat burned. One big reason daily weigh-ins are verboten in Greene-land. Sure enough after three or four weeks the scale gave up three plus pounds and a happy Oprah could see Bob's point.
My theory is that my six weeks of attention to the hunger scale, reducing portions and rarely having seconds, not eating after 7:30PM and stepping up the good ol' exercise routine is finally reflected in pounds shed. Maybe if I had passed on the chips, chocolate and toasted marshmallows I would have lost even more. Who knows?
One thing I know for sure, if I'm serious about losing a healthy 10% of my weight (from a high 156; don't forget I'm a puny 5'3") I can't allow myself to think now's the time to relax my resolve. I still like my self-imposed rules. They really aren't that hard. I can see living with them for the rest of my life. As long as the scale is going in the right direction, a little at a time, that's reward enough.
Photo courtesy Jamelah via Flickr