When the Scale Stops Moving
You are so excited. You know that this has been your week. Things have been going good. You exercised every day. You ate (at least decently) well. Now is the time you get to see the fruit of your labor. You try not to get too excited, but you start playing the guessing game in your head. One pound at least. Maybe two this time. Giddy with anticipation, you step on your bathroom scale, telling yourself that you are hoping for just one pound when you are really anticipating more. Then you look down and…What the crap?! That’s right. The same number as (or higher than) last week. How can this be? This moment has surely come to anyone who has been working to slim down for more than a month. It’s like that terrifying moment when you are roused from a deep sleep, immediately wondering, “Do I smell smoke?” And just like in a possible house-fire situation, you need some kind of emergency plan to let you know exactly what to do in this horrible crisis situation. So here are the key steps to staying safe during these first crucial moments.
1. Don’t Panic. Now I know what you are thinking. Impossible! But trust me, this is possibly the most important step. Later, you are going to be asked to perform other, more complicated steps, and that won’t be possible if you haven’t calmed yourself a little bit. So, take in a few deep breaths and be prepared for a little bit of rational thinking.
2. Assess the Situation. Now that you are calm, take a moment to think about your situation. The scale is flashing that terrible number for a reason. Did you possibly eat more this week than you thought? If you put the calories in then they have to go somewhere. If the answer is no, then remember that your weight changes faster than Oklahoma’s weather. (Seriously…like snow one day and and short-sleeve sunny the next. Super crazy!) How many weeks did I see no change on the scale and then the next week I would “magically” lose five pounds. Do I really think that’s what happened? Not at all. Most likely, for whatever reason that day my weight happened to be fluctuating high and wasn’t showing my true loss. It all evens out. That is why you shouldn’t weigh too often (unless you are one of those super-powered beings whose psyche isn’t affected by the numbers on the most evil of bathroom appliances.) Look at the overall trend of a month. Fluctuations happen. Stay the course. Next week you will see the truth. What if you say that you realize you did eat more than you were telling yourself at first? The advice is the same. It takes 3500 calories to make a pound. That is a LOT! This could be a little setback, or you could let it undo all your hard work for a poor-me binge session…for probably less than a pound! It’s not worth it. Face up to your mistake, then get ready to move on.
3. Get Outta There! Just like in a fire scenario, after you have calmed yourself and assessed the situation, you need to get out of the danger area. Keep in mind that I’m not just referring to the bathroom! I mean, don’t let yourself think all day about the fact that the scale did’t move, you failed for one more week, you’re still a big fatty and nothing will change, etc. See what I mean? If you give that silly voice in your head an inch, it will take a mile! Stop those thoughts in their tracks and replace them with helpful thoughts. Think about how much good you have done. Think about how nice it will be to treat yourself right today and the next day and the next day, etc. You are doing great things for yourself. You are getting healthy, one choice at a time. Don’t let some silly number ruin all of that hard work.
4. Call for Help. Maybe skip the fire department for this emergency. But you might think about calling that friend who has been in your corner since you started this journey. Just let this person know that you need some support today. There is nothing wrong with this. Everyone needs a little help now and again. And sometimes it takes hearing someone else tell you what you already know for it to really sink in. Once you hear your friend calmly tell you everything just discussed, that voice in your head can stop panicking and get back to using reason. That is what good friends are for.
5. Count Your Losses…and Your Blessings. Let’s be honest. Even with all this pep-talking, the truth is that it’s disappointing to see the scale being so mutinous after all your hard work. Give yourself a second to appreciate the fact that this really does suck, that it isn’t fair. Now, realize that even though the scale turned on you (again!) things aren’t quite as bad as they seem. You can continue to do just as well as you’ve been doing, and most likely the scale will tell a different tale next week. Remember that health is much more than just a number. All of your hard work is and will continue to pay off! Keep up the good work.
These instructions are very important. They can be the difference between life and death in a crisis situation. Okay, possibly that’s taking it too far, but when you are putting your entire being into getting healthy these things do tend to look rather life-or-death. Just remember that following some of these steps could save you a lot of extra time and work. Instead of having to get back on your diet, try to make the right decision the first time, even thought that scale will insist on being a big loser! And keep in mind that he will do it again. It’s like it is inflicting this suffering on us just for the pure, sadistic pleasure of it. But if you make a good, reasoned decision every time this happens, that is one more day that food hasn’t gotten you down.