A Wrong Focus

Have you ever noticed how I get really excited about something, and then I change my mind?  I really don’t like that about myself.  When I’m excited about something, I absolutely know, without a doubt, that it will work, that I will stick with it until I get my desired result.  Or whatever the situation may be.  But at the same time, I can’t trust myself.  Will I really stick with it?

It’s the emotions thing again.  I live and die by my emotions.  But at the same time, I have a hard time doing something when my heart isn’t in it, even when it’s still the right thing.  And, when I don’t feel that absolute certainty, I start to believe that it isn’t the right thing anymore.  But when I look back, all I’ve really gotten out of this method is a lot of starts and stops.

The particular issue tonight is diet and weight loss.  I am still absolutely committed to focusing on things I can do to be the best, healthiest version of myself.  I’m just waffling about the right way to do that.  As always.

There is one thing I haven’t tried, but I don’t know if I can do it.  I haven’t tried throwing out the scale, (or hiding it away on the top shelf of a closet or something), and just not knowing my weight.  After all, weight is only a number.  But then the anxiety kicks in…But if I do that, how will I see my progress?  How will I know when it’s “safe” to try on a smaller size of clothes?  How will I know if I did good or bad the day before?

These thoughts, fearful though they are, tell me that I should do it!  After all, what I want out of this is not ultimately a certain number on the scale.  I want to feel great, look great, have a lot of energy, be healthy, be able to run a 5K with my sister in April.  Somehow it’s just gotten stuck in my head that those accomplishments will come at that certain target weight.  The truth is, I don’t know what my “natural” weight is, exactly.  How could I?  Have I ever really experienced it?  Maybe in college, when I didn’t have a scale and wasn’t obsessed with counting calories and weighing myself the moment I woke up!  Let’s think about that, shall we?  🙂

Okay, I can hear you say, just do it then!  Clearly that’s the best thing, right?  So here’s why I’m waffling…If I throw out the idea of seeing the numbers go down, I can’t see myself being motivated to count calories.  When I count calories, it’s because I know I will see the number go down regularly.  If I do that, I throw out my target date of Christmas that I planned.  I just let it happen as it happens.  My target date would be more like April, and the goal would be running the 5K.  No more control over exactly what happens along the way. 

But now that I think about it, that’s actually kind of…liberating!  No more worrying over my food.  No more agonizing over what I will eat tomorrow, trying various combinations to get the calories right.  No more waking up with the memory of how I “screwed up” yesterday and dreading how that will reflect on the scale.  It would just be me, eating what I want and working toward my goal by working out. 

But…that means trust.  Always an issue, isn’t it?  I have to trust that my natural weight is best.  What if my natural weight is 15 pounds more than what I imagined my goal weight to be?  (Although, how would I know if I didn’t have a scale?)  I have to trust that my God-given hunger and fullness signals will result in weight loss, if that’s what my body needs.  I have to trust that God will give me the grace to listen and follow those signals, even when I’m hungry, angry, lonely, tired.

Back to the other hand, but counting makes me crazy!  I’ve been doing this a couple of weeks, and already the counting calories is starting to go south.  I was originally aiming for a range of 1400-1600 calories a day, which I think is reasonable for losing weight.  But before my two-day screw up yesterday and today, I had several days in a row of 1000-1100.  And just this evening, I was thinking that since I messed up for two days, I should probably go to 600-800 for a couple of days.  Stupid, stupid, stupid!  All the calculating, estimating, trying different food combinations…  See, I need to stop!  Since the only reason I count calories is to see results on the scale, throwing out the scale would definitely solve the calorie issue.  Even counting pounds lost or gained makes me crazy.  If the number goes down, I did good.  If it stays the same, fine, but what more can I do?  If it goes up…

You know, some of the healthiest people I know don’t weigh themselves or count calories.  They’re just pounds, it’s just a number.  Like cholesterol…I don’t have a clue what my cholesterol level is, and do you think I care?  🙂  My sisters are always stepping on the scale at my house like it’s a novelty, like they haven’t done it since the last time they were here. 

The real me might be hiding under a few extra pounds right now, but I don’t think she’s ever coming out if I make her focus on those extra pounds rather than just having fun and being healthy.  I just don’t know if I can take my focus off those extra pounds.  God, help!

The title of this entry is A Wrong Focus.  I’m going to go hide the scale, and think about the right focus and how to get it.  In 24 hours, maybe I’ll be back with some more thoughts on the issue.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sarah
    Sep 14, 2007 @ 08:40:29

    I’m getting in the habit of commenting on these! Maybe if I wrote in my own blog instead, someone would actually read it!

    Anyway, I wanted to say something about “hunger and fullness signals.” In my experience, if I eat until I’m “full,” I’ve eaten too much. If I eat until I’m “not hungry,” I generally have eaten just the right amount to keep me energized until the next time I’m able to eat. I think it’s dangerous to live on the thought that one is fueling their body, and that it’s okay to eat until you feel full. Then, if you eat more later, you’ve consumed more than your body can reasonably use that day. It’s more accurate (in my mind) to think about subsistence. One needs to eat the amount in one day that they need to use that day.

    Since our bodies evolved during a time in which we weren’t sure when our next meal would be, it makes sense that we all want to eat until we feel full. But since most of use who are reading this blog have access to way more food than our bodies can possibly use, it’s much healthier to eat what we need at that moment, and if we need to eat again in 3 hours, that’s okay.

    This may or may not make sense to anyone reading this, but that is how I do it.

    One more thing: if something is really really good and I want a lot of it, but don’t think it’s a good idea to have a lot of it, I eat one nice-sized portion very slowly, focusing on savoring the sensation of every tastebud.


  2. Doris
    Sep 14, 2007 @ 10:59:28

    I know that counting calories and watching pounds does nothing for my fitness level. The best I can do is be as active as the pain in my feet, legs, and back will let me be and eat what I need to keep the hunger away. Some days that is eating once a day sometimes it means eating every few hours. I know I am not a picture of health but I also know I can not spend the time or energy on all that counting. I wiegh when I go to the doctor and when my clothes don’t fit. I try on clothes and pick what ever size in the particular outfit I am looking at fits me and looks good on me. I ignore these numbers also. Every brand seems to size differently anyway. Feel the best you can, look the best you can and smile. Then the real you will shine through any other masks you may be imagining. Love you both, Doris


  3. Becky
    Sep 14, 2007 @ 11:05:57

    I don’t have a scale, and it’s the best thing ever. I think if you first focus on remaining active and eating healthy (or not healthy – which ever you prefer) foods, you will feel much better about yourself. I eat fairly healthy, but I aim more for a balanced diet than anything else. Then, I don’t have to worry about giving up my delicious desserts. Everything in moderation. After a period of time, and you’re feeling good and you want to try counting calories to get to your ideal weight, I think you may have more success then.

    Good luck! 🙂


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