Thursday, November 13, 2014

What I Wish I Knew All Along....

I had this random thought pop in my head today…

It’s probably because I read soooo many weight loss blogs and associate with so many weight losers/maintainers that weight loss, or some associated topic, is always up for discussion. No matter what, it seems to stick at the forefront of my mind- whether I want it there or not.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Most days it helps keep me accountable and in check. Most days it keeps me from eating the entire pizza. Most days. At the same time it has become something I must learn to live with, because it is something I need. That constant reminder of why I am active and why I (try) to eat good, whole-foods and why I try to take care of myself. Not to lose weight or to maintain but to be healthy. The problem is weight loss/maintenance is always (always, always, always) tied to health.

Even when it’s not.

Even when I don’t believe it should be.

Anyway, I was thinking back on my days on Weight Watchers. It’s been awhile since I left the program. I am not sure how long but at least two years is my best guess. Probably longer. (and I am not here to knock WW, it was what I needed in the beginning- it just wasn’t enough for me towards the end, you know?) I remember my weekly weigh ins and sharing the results on my blog. Posting pictures of each five pound lost star I earned and feeling so good about my progress….when I lost.

See, early on (and this may just be a Dacia thing and not something directly correlated to me being on WW) I treated every loss on the scale as a victory and every gain as a defeat.

And that worked….for awhile.

It kept me in that heightened state of always needing to be “perfect” or “on plan” and when I “failed” on a week I did everything “right”….cue the emotional breakdown.

I may have had the gumption to keep that mindset going for awhile but I honestly feel if I hadn’t changed that mindset I would not be where I am now- in a much healthier headspace regarding weight.

Yes, weight loss is a good thing (for the most part) and you are completely ok to celebrate it.

But is it still a victory when that loss comes from sacrificing more than the calories on your plate or hours to the gym?

And weight gain….is that a failure? Do you deserve to feel like shit and mentally tear yourself apart just because you gained a pound or two?

I wish someone told me early on to not take the results on the scale so seriously.

Yes, I was morbidly obese. And yes, I needed to change A LOT of things about myself in order to become a healthy person- weight included. But I think I could have done so, and still been successful, without the extreme impact the scale had on my mental wellbeing.

We think (and maybe that is a generalization and I should say I here) so often about what being healthy means and instantly jump to eating right and exercising. I envision someone in a gym lifting weights or one of the marathoners that passed me at the finish line of my half marathoner. I think of the person eating their grilled chicken (no skin) and a side of steamed broccoli. I think about that person that says no to cake. Or no to beer. And I think that is a healthy person.

But am I naïve to think that health boils down to only food and activity? YES!!!!

Our mental health is equally important. Personal satisfaction, care and self-love come in so many forms. More than just what we eat and the things we do. And that piece- that piece of how we are- is also a key to health and wellness.

So my point, I do have one I swear, is this.

I wish someone told me to be kinder to myself. Not every loss is a victory nor is every gain a failure. Wake up every day and try to do your best. Make the best choices you can. Take care of yourself, regardless of what ‘taking care of yourself’ looks like. Every decision you make that leads you to a healthier and happier you is good enough. You are already good enough.

I was always good enough (actually, far better than good enough) I was just sick and unhealthy and I needed to change that. And I did. I just wish I hadn’t had to fight the horrible mental scale battle so much along the way.

Lesson learned….

Love and hugs,