The Mosquito in the Room...and How To Not Be Bugged By It
I have a friend who has lost a lot of weight in the past year. Every morning, she steps on her bathroom scales to check up on her progress. "It helps me know where I'm going," she told me.
This friend must have an incredible amount of character and self-confidence. Typically, when I step on the scales...and I'm assuming something similar for others...that three digit number (in pounds, folks) suggests more than my pressure against the earth. It tells me:
a) whether I should feel successful or not in my body-related goals
b) how "food righteous" I was in the 24 hours previous (or since I last stepped on a set of scales).
Both correlations are shaky, to say the least.
I could have lived on Cheetos and Diet Sprite the day before and lost poundage, and I could have sipped lettuce water from dawn till dusk and gained. There are SO MANY factors that affect the mass of our bodies and the fluctuation of our weight at any given time: hydration, bone-size, muscle vs. fat mass, elimination, monthly cycles, water retention, and more.
When the numbers are not exactly what I'd been hoping for, my bathroom scales seem like they are measuring any or all of the following:
- my character (self-discipline, motivation)
- my attractiveness to myself and others
- my potential to succeed that day
- my worthiness to be lovable
- my happiness with myself, my coming day, my life.
Often, the Ritual of the Weighing is followed by discouragement even if I haven't gained an ounce. I could have eaten the food of champions the day before, really nourished my body, and ended the day confident that I was on a winning (or weight-losing) trend, and I STILL might lament what a measuring device tells me.
How ridiculous is that?
Weight is not only the "elephant" in the room when we start talking about the food we eat, our health, body shape, attractiveness and more -- it's the annoying mosquito, persistently nagging at our food choices, our perception of ourselves, and our intentions to take better care.
If any of the above resembles you, here's what I suggest: *Don't use measuring tapes or scales until you've sorted out the more influential factors in your food-related well-being. Just don't. Free yourself, even if for a time, from external measures of your internal goodness, strength, worth, and health. UNTIL WE ADDRESS DISORDERLY EATING, BATHROOM SCALES AND THOSE SLITHERY MEASURING TAPES MAY WELL BE REINFORCING ALL THE WRONG ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS. They can torment, worry, bother and condemn us instead of supporting our progress.
MY PEACE WITH FOOD SOAPBOX ABOUT WEIGHT
Step away from the scales and tuck the tape back in your toolkit or sewing stuff, then let them rest while you build yourself in physical and spiritual ways. Your weight, whatever it is right now, is trivial compared to the beauty of your soul, the desires of your heart, the needs that motivate your actions, and the potential you have to feel peaceful and pleased around food.
Please trust me on this.
The next step? Get doing.
A business coach friend taught me that the best way to succeed isn't to focus on outdoing the competitor, it's to work on oneself so we have a deeper well of ability and understanding from which to reach out, help, create, and build. Consider the quote below, emphasizing the word DO.
Our "do" in Peace with Food is to recognize and tame unhealthy attitudes and habits about food and to replace them with sound, meaningful ones.
CALL TO ACTION
Here's a simple but significant first step to take this coming week:
~ Get a notebook for your Peace with Food learning and doing.
~ For one week, record what you eat and when. (No one will see this but you, so just lay it down.) Try to do this periodically throughout the day so that you get an accurate list.
Important: Beside each item, put an "emoji" or some kind of symbol or word to suggest how you felt when you were eating.
Mine might look like this:
7 am - Smoothie - rushed
10 am - Sunflower seeds - sleepy
Noon-ish - Moroccan chick pea soup and pita - Distracted (working while eating), sometimes happy because the soup was so warming and spicy
This will become the warm-up for a game we'll play next Monday. I think you'll like it. It's also the first in a four step process of getting unstuck from places we don't want to be. This has been a life-changing practice for me in many aspects of my life. I hope it will be for you, too.
I'll also be sharing a schedule a mentor/friend created to help get any day off to a healthy, fulfilling start. Quite literally, his recommendations are improving thousands of people's lives. (And it's available free.)
Until then, take good care of yourself! (Oh, and stay away from scales!)
With regard to weighing oneself: *The exception to this would be if your health professional advises measurement as part of a treatment plan.