Wednesday, March 28, 2012

6 Inches Forward, 5 Inches back.


This morning I stepped onto my scale again, and I cried.

I've gained 6 pounds back, and I have officially hit 200 lbs again. 200.

I had managed to keep under 200 for the better part of 4 months, but somehow despite my best efforts, it's creeping back up at a steady pace.

The question is: why?

In theory, you must consume an additional 3,500 calories to gain one pound. In other words, I would have to consume an additional 21,000 calories in addition to what I actually use in order to gain that weight.

While I don't count calories, I can tell you I did not actually eat 21,000 extra.

This is another reason I don't count anymore – it's not exact. Eating 1500 calories a day in sugar isn't the same as eating 1500 calories in protein – and I'm fairly certain my body would reflect that difference.

What other things affect my weight?

I lift a lot of weights, so I realize some of that weight is likely muscle composition. It's very hard to measure by the scale itself.

I also sit at a desk 40 hours a week. I do try to stretch and move periodically, but due to the nature of my job I am tethered to it quite a bit and usually on the phone.

While I try to exercise daily, I'm also leading a very stressful life. With my husband away, I try to fill my time with as many activities as I can – often overextending myself and sometimes taking on projects I just don't have time for – to the point where I feel guilty if I take time for myself to just relax.

How does my weight affect me?

My largest goal on my trek to fitness – is losing weight. I've been so heavy for so long, and I know how unhealthy it is. Carting around all of this extra weight is bad for my body – my knees, ankles, joints, back... are all going to suffer long term from my excess weight.

One of my worst habits with my weight, is to obsessively watch the scale. I know how bad this is for me. Every time my weight drops, even .1 lbs, I gain instant confidence boosts and I feel like my hard work has direct effects.

However, it's a double edged sword for me. If my weight swings the other way and I gain, I become depressed, angry, and bitter. I begin the path to self-loathing all over again - 'I hate my body', 'I hate the way I look', 'I hate myself', 'I'm so fat and disgusting'.. and a various trend of other things that really shouldn't be repeated. I end up lashing out at people who don't deserve it, and then I beat myself up for a while until I run out of energy to cry, and I 'comfort' myself with awful food choices in a moment of 'I just don't care!'

Which brings me to this morning, and today's episode. Realizing how much weight I had gained, I cried for a good length of time this morning. I was angry and bitter, so I barely spoke a word to my friend in the carpool this morning. Even though I am sore and having a hard time moving my arms and I feel a rest day is needed, I feel guilty and lazy for taking it. In my anger, I erased my positive messages on my white board at work and replaced with you 'YOU ARE FAT!'

I don't need criticism for these actions, once I calmed down and regained rational thought, I realize how unhelpful and damaging all of those actions are.

What I need is a way to measure progress beyond the scale. How do I know I'm improving? How do I know what to look for if I can't use the scale as a way to check progress?

If my goal is to lose weight – what is a fair way to measure it?

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