At this Sunday’s weigh-in, I was slapped with a 1 lb gain.
Actually, allow me to rephrase that. It was a 1 lb undeserved gain.
In the grand scheme of things, a single pound is nothing. It’s a measly 16 ounces. I’ve been at this for more than two years now, so I know better than to get upset by the daily, hourly, and even minute-to-minute fluctuations of my body weight on a scale. What I weigh at 9am is not the same as what I weigh at 11am, or 3pm, or 10 pm. (And, yes, I have actually weighed myself at all of those times…and have seen my weight fluctuate 5 lbs or more during the course of any given day).
I know from experience that eating canned soup or chinese food affects my weigh-in, the clothes I’m wearing affect my weigh-in, and drinking too much water affects my weigh-in.
Heck, wearing green or painting my fingernails can make me gain weight.
(Okay, so I’m exaggerating. But sometimes it does feel as though I could so much as look at a scale the wrong way and have it show a gain. )
When you step on a scale, the number you see staring back at you reflects just one moment in time. There are dozens of factors that can affect the number in that moment. You can stick to your weight loss efforts to a “t” and still gain. You can limit high-sodium foods for two days before weighing yourself, or step on the scale in your skivvies, but there’s still absolutely no way to predict how and when your body will give up its weight. You can have a great week and gain, or a not-so-great week and lose.
It’s just the way the human body works, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. All we can do is control what goes into our mouth and how much time we spend engaged in physical activity.
That’s why I try not to get discouraged when I work hard for a week without any big pay off on weigh-in day. Granted, it’s frustrating, because it seems to take weeks of eking out .4 or .2 losses to add up to a pound – so to gain one back in a single week is just plain unfair!
The way I deal with these gains that occur even after a perfectly good “on program” week, as my fellow Weight Watchers might say, is by keeping things in perspective.
Okay, so I kicked my butt at the gym this week, and stuck to my allotted daily, weekly, and activity POINTS. In theory, I should have lost. Maybe I ate something too heavy the night before. Maybe I’m retaining water. Or maybe I really didn’t eat as well as I thought I did. Who knows?
All I do know I’ll just have to keep trying the best that I can, and hope that my efforts pay off next week. I could try to do things differently (switch up my workout regimen, for example), or I could take comfort in knowing that it probably was nothing I did or didn’t do…the scale just didn’t work in my favor at precisely 8:30am on Sunday morning.
After losing 90 lbs, fluctuating a pound or two in either direction doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But for those of you who haven’t lost a significant amount of weight yet, just keep in mind that this is one week of the rest of your life. That’s seven days. Your journey to better health is an ongoing process, and you will have weeks where you slip up.
Losing weight – and keeping it off – is about making better food choices and being more active. It’s not a week-to-week scale contest. What’s the rush? Time is going to pass either way; why not spend it trying your best to be healthier?
One reason I don’t get disappointed by these hiccups in my weight loss record is that I don’t allow myself to set timed goals (“I’m going to lose 50 pounds by bikini season!”). I also don’t play games with the scale by starving myself the night before I weigh-in, or stripping down in front of everyone at my Weight Watchers meeting. It’s just not worth it.
Sometimes I party a little too hard on the weekend and “deserve” a gain, and sometimes they happen unexpectedly, but either way, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that gains will happen, no matter how well I eat or how much I exercise. All I can do is accept the gain, move on, and keep plugging away at my weight loss goals.
There’s no turning back now. If I threw in the towel every time the scale showed that I was up a pound or two, I’d probably still be getting stuck in roller coaster seats and splitting my pants – an utterly humiliating experience that happened more than once, I’m ashamed to say.
That’s why, for me, there is no giving up. It’s this…or obesity.
(Oh, and for the record, the scale may have shown a gain this week, but my jeans are definitely feeling looser these days. There are other measures of success!)
Loss to date: 87.6 lbs