Every month since October 2016, my average monthly weight has crept up by at least one pound. What I once blamed on a blip during the holidays has become an upward trend that I need to stop.
Something had to change.
I had the idea of trying to have a very-low-points day one Tuesday, which worked well up until dessert. I knew I shouldn’t have one, but I’d given my son his, and I was really jonesing for something sweet. So I had a mini ice cream cone, and that opened the floodgates for an evening binge.
Almost every workout I started had ended in worsening depression, which is exactly the opposite of what I’d expect from a workout. Mostly, my depression centered around my decreased fitness and increased muffin top.
I cleaned up an audio recording of one of the final Yoga Basics classes last year, before my yogi left the company (my fitness center is a part of my office, and utilizes employees as instructors — I was lucky to have an actual certified Level 1 yoga instructor for almost four years). Alas, I discovered during my solo yoga session that I’ve lost a lot of upper body and core strength, as I needed to back off and do some modified poses and flows — something I didn’t need to do a year ago. That was eye-opening… and depressing.
I just felt not-myself most of the time. Divorced from reality, spaced out, tired, frumpy, depressed. Trouble concentrating. I didn’t want that to become the new normal.
Halfway through the month, I weighed in at Weight Watchers to face another gain at the scale: 1.6 pounds. I’d gained for five out of the past six weeks, and I admitted to our new leader (new to our meeting, but a longtime WW veteran) that I was getting pissed. Which is, I guess, what I needed. She pushed me just enough, telling me that before the meeting was over, I had to tell her one change I was going to make that week.
The meeting was about support systems and asking for help (aka “Finding Your Squad”). During the meeting, I gave her an example of me asking my husband if we could go out to eat someplace where we could stay On Plan. I knew what I was really going to do, though: text my BFF, Amy, any evening when I felt like I wanted to go off the rails.
And it worked.
I planned to make myself a fancy decaf every night, and if I really wanted something more, I’d text Amy to help distract myself from food. (Plus, I mean, she’s my BFF, so I should really be texting her more than once every month or two.) Even when we ran out of decaf, even when I intentionally made pumpkin custard dessert cups, I didn’t go off the rails like I had been. The combination of planning ahead and keeping busy/distracted when I was tired and vulnerable kept me on plan.
What also worked was setting reasonable activity goals for myself (plus being challenged by a new Fitbit buddy from my WW meeting). I dialed back the pace of my treadmill run from an attempted 11’30” mile (about 5.1mph) to a 12’45” mile (4.6mph — barely above a walk). It was slow, but I did it, and I maintained that slow jog for 23 minutes, plus a five-minute warmup and a two-minute cooldown. It felt empowering, while still acknowledging my fitness backslide.
That week, I lost two pounds at the official weigh-in.
The following week — the last full week of March — I had some major meal planning fails, but I regrouped and pulled off a save over the weekend. I also attended a Yoga Strength Flow class that reminded me how much strength I’ve lost over the past few months of slackitude, and I made a point to get outside and walk when there wasn’t a class offered that interested me. I did see another loss at the scale: 1.2 pounds. I can’t help but wonder how much I would have lost if not for mid-week meal shenanigans.
I feel like I’m getting back into the groove, into the right mindset again. I’d like to see another epic downward trend this next several months, to bring me closer to Goal again (dare I even wish to reach Goal this year?). Success on the scale — and just feeling better overall when I make good choices — helps fuel the mental space that engenders more good choices.
At today’s meeting, I earned my Spring charm for continuing to weigh in weekly and participate. I joke that these awards are the “you showed up” awards… but showing up is a big part of keeping a slip from becoming a slide.
I’ve got this.