I lost .2 at weigh-in this morning. Once again, I was expecting more – I had a particularly good week. In fact, according to my scale at home, I was down a full pound as of yesterday morning.
But then I went out for dinner last night to celebrate my boyfriend’s father’s birthday, and even though I was careful and followed all of my own rules about dining out (see my post about Surviving Restaurants), I know from experience that a bigger meal the night before weigh-in typically results in a small loss or a slight gain. But refusing to go out to dinner would, to me, be like letting the scale control my life – so even though I didn’t get the number I wanted, I still know that I had a great week. I’ll just have to deal.
This morning I weighed in with a receptionist who has lost over 120 pounds, and has managed to keep his weight off for many years. He really seems to “get” it when it comes to what it takes to maintain weight loss, and is always quick to offer encouragement, support, and advice when I visit him at the scale.
He knows I’ve been on Weight Watchers for over two years, but today was the first time he has ever asked if I’ve set my “goal weight” yet.
(For those of you who don’t know, you must set a goal weight that falls within an appropriate BMI for your height in order to begin your “maintenance” phase and attain “lifetime” status on Weight Watchers. Your only other option is to present a signed doctor’s note to your leader that indicates you can weigh something beyond what their BMI charts indicate.)
I immediately came back with an “absolutely not.” I told him that I know I’m nowhere near where I need to be, and I’m not ready to nail down a number just yet. I truly believe that a large part of my success on this program comes from not obsessing over the big picture. When I first started losing weight, instead of stressing over the fact that I needed to lose over 100 pounds, I instead focused on losing just 5 pounds at a time. I poured all of my efforts into losing 5 pounds, then 10, then 15, then 20 and moving forward from there. These mini goals were attainable, and thus I never felt overwhelmed by the road ahead. I knew I’d be more likely to quit if I sat down and actually thought about the enormity of losing 100+ pounds, and what it was going to take to achieve that goal.
He asked me my height, and I told him I was 5’4. He looked down at his BMI chart and said, “oh, wow, that’s another 30 pounds you would have to lose.”
He then looks up at me and says, “you know, you’re so thin already, you don’t want to go too far.” He advised me to consider getting a doctor’s note as soon as I reached a weight where I was “comfortable.”
Most people would have taken this as a compliment. My mind was reeling that someone would ever refer to me as “thin!” However, I perceived this as him telling me that I can’t do it. Surely he must mean that he has no faith that I can lose 30 more pounds. He has been watching me struggle with the same 5 pounds for a year, so he’s essentially telling me I should focus on losing a little bit more weight, get my doctor to sign off on whatever the scale says, and throw in the towel.
As much as I would love to think that I could lose 10 or 15 more pounds and declare myself at “goal,” at the same time, I don’t want to feel as though I’m giving up just because it’s difficult, or that I’m taking the easy way out.
My main reason for wanting to lose weight wasn’t to wear cute clothes or get hit on at the bar. It wasn’t to fit into a size 2 or weigh any particular number. I wanted to lose weight because, for the first time in my life, I wanted to be “healthy.” All I wanted was to feel confident enough to look someone in the eye when I talk to them, or have the ability to get up off the couch and do something. Of course I’m thrilled that I can shop in any store now, and that I’m not too self-conscious to wear girly dresses or bare my arms in a tank top, but my ultimate goal is to experience life not at someone who is “obese,” not as someone who is “overweight,” but as an average-sized, healthy, physically fit person.
I want to know what it’s like to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to be able to look into the mirror and see a lean, muscular body that’s capable of running and lifting and – someday – bearing children without endangering my life. I want the energy to tackle the demands of each day, and the initiative to chase down my dreams. It’s a shame that I have to try to put a number on all of that.
These are the things that matter to me – not what some stupid plastic box or a BMI chart says.