Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WI results and the myth of the journey.

Weigh in today and I was down 0.8 lbs. I'll take it!

I was thinking that along with my weekly weigh-in report, I'd like to also start including my week stats (Flex points used, activity points earned). Because, really, that's what's more important, right? Not what the scale happens to say, but how I'm doing overall.

So this week:

Flex points used: 25/35
Activity points earned: 22
Activity points used: 0
Weigh in results: -0.8

This actually reminds me of something I've been wanting to talk about for a while: the idea of the journey. Many people refer to weightloss as a journey. (And to be fair, I think I've called it that on here too.)

But here's what I think: It's not really a journey. Because that implies that there's a destination. And there's no destination here. There's only life.

Think about this for a second: the best case scenario – the BEST CASE – is that I will do this forever. I will count calories / points, work at adding in my fruits and veggies, get myself to the gym, until I reach your goal weight -- and then I will CONTINUE to do that forever, to maintain that happy weight. Yes, I hope that I’ll get to a point where I won’t have to be as hyper-vigilant as I am now, and I think with time, healthy living can become second nature, and the points and calorie-counting will not have to be so front and centre. But I don’t believe I will ever be truly free of my potential to end up back here. I believe I will always have to monitor my eating and exercise, at least to some degree.

So when I first started Weight Watchers, one thing I had to do was put the 'goal' out of my mind. I started constantly telling myself “Pretend you’re on maintenance already.”

This has been a critical strategy for me. It takes out the urgency of the numbers, and puts the focus on good habits.

Yes, the thrill of a loss every week is exciting. Yes, of course, I loved (and still love!) to see big losses, and yes, I get impatient with gains, stay-the-sames, and even small losses, because I am eager and anxious to live in a body where I am more comfortable and look better. I think it’s okay to want to see those numbers fall. But for me, I have had to make that completely irrelevant to my weekly behaviour. I don’t eat and exercise the way I do to get to a certain goal. I do it because I’m already on maintenance. This is just what I do now. The rest of my life has already started. It started that day in November.

This is why I never give myself weight loss ‘goals’, like losing x lbs by x date. I hate those and actually think they’re really detrimental. I did it once in August because I wanted to get under 200 lbs for my birthday, and I swear it nearly drove me insane. I stopped focusing on my good habits and only thought about numbers. And it was the one time in this whole year that I’ve really felt like I was in danger of spiralling out of control.

Now that my birthday has come and gone, I’m back to focusing on my week-to-week behaviour, and I can’t tell you how much better and calmer I feel, and how much easier everything seems. So I’m not on a journey. I just do this thing, where I try to eat well, and work out. And some weeks are better than others, and I always find areas to improve, and sometimes I improve one area only to find another one has started slipping, and some weeks all the areas are slipping and I just try my best to hold on to my points and go with it.

But I do it because that’s just what I do now. Because this is where I live and this is where I always want to live.

I guess the best thing I can think of to compare it to is a marriage. I’m married to my health now. It isn’t always the most fun, but I’ve committed to it, and I love it, deeply, and it’s where I want to spend the rest of my life. And though I expect this marriage to grow and evolve, it doesn’t have a destination. It doesn’t have a path I can step on or off. My health and I, we aren’t on a journey. We just are.