Sure enough, after dropping a little over four pounds in my first week, I’ve plateaued.
Fortunately, I know what this is like. It doesn’t confuse or upset me the way it did when I was first figuring out how to keep a food log and track all my metrics. I mean, it’s annoying, but it’s not going to end me.
I lost a tenth of a pound four days in a row.
With older scales, that change wouldn’t have even registered. It would have just looked like nothing was happening whatsoever.
This type of thing is noticeable when you’re hungry enough that you can smell cold bread from across the room.
What?? Why is this happening? WHY am I not making progress, why??
Calculate it out, though.
A tenth of a pound a day means a pound every ten days. (Lost or gained, mind you).
Three pounds every thirty days. (Again, lost or gained).
Thirty pounds in three hundred days, a little less than a year. (Note, again, either a loss or a gain).
This is how the game is won, in the tiniest of increments.
This is also how the game is lost.
Other people seem to be pretty darn delighted with their shape and size, and good for them. For me, when I put on extra weight, it seems to start a downward spiral that makes it harder and harder to reverse. Like I’m drilling myself into the ground.
I gain weight, I don’t sleep as well, I start being tired all the time, I start getting headaches, my energy level craters, my daily average mood drops from like an 8 or 9 to more like a 5 or 6. It isn’t fun.
I start pulling myself out of the ditch, I start feeling more cheerful, I start having more energy, and after a while I realize it’s been weeks or months since I had a migraine. This is when I feel like the Real Me (TM).
This is why I pay so much attention to this little problem of the tenth of a pound trend line.
For someone like me, someone with a small frame, it doesn’t take much to pull me out of alignment.
As I’ve discovered, it can be a difference of as little as a hundred calories a day one way or the other.
What is very disappointing to discover is that 100 calories is the equivalent of:
Or a 1” square of a brownie
Or a handful of chips
On the other hand, it’s fairly easy to avoid eating that extra hundred calories a day. This is especially true if you’re very busy.
For instance, today I was in back to back meetings for five hours. Ordinarily, I would have gotten up around 3:00 and had an energy bar, which is part of my plan. By the time I had a moment to switch off, it was so close to dinner that I shrugged and skipped it.
This is probably true for a lot of people, but it’s easy to put something in your mouth just because it’s there, or you’re bored, or it’s there, or it’s there.
The other thing I learned, the first time I did this food-logging exercise, is that it is not easy to estimate how different one food is from another. If I saw three bowls of soups, all different flavors, how would I know whether one had double the calories of another?
In my mind, “dinner” was just a category.
I never thought of my various snacks as snacks, either. I just wanted to eat something, and I ate it. It never seemed to amount to much because I never put it all into a pile and observed it.
A food log does that, though.
Before I got married, I would eat dinner, and then go back a couple hours later and eat a bowl of breakfast cereal. I thought of it as “a bowl” but it typically was more like five servings.
I didn’t learn that until I actually got out a measuring cup and looked at it.
I’m grateful for all the work that Past Me put in to learning all these skills. At the same time, I’m annoyed with Past Me for gaining this weight. Obviously I understand that getting coronavirus is a reasonable excuse, and that’s fine.
I’d rather live in what I feel like is my real body than live inside an excuse, though.
This would seem to be a question of self-compassion, and it is. I have to have enough compassion for myself and my situation to reach for something better.
After what I’ve been through, I deserve the time and space to work my way back to something that feels better to me. I’m doing what I need to do, even if it has to happen one tenth of a pound at a time.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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