Not always about the scale

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Permalink

I’ve passed the one-month mark on Weight Watchers.

When serious about it, I usually start ‘weight loss programs’ with a lot of success – losing significant amounts of weight early on – which is often the case when you’re starting at a fairly hefty number. I know that the initial losses are just fluid etc, but big losses early (when you have a long way to go) are great for motivational purposes.

However… this time around it’s been different. I started at an awkward time (weighed myself before Christmas but started after) and in the month since then the additional weight has come off – VERY GRADUALLY. I’m trying to be very zen about it but… I won’t lie, it’s been a challenge. My natural instinct is to judge progress by those wretched numbers… indeed in the past I’ve often referred to “The Scales of Judgement”.

When I announced that I was doing WW I talked about some not-dieting advocates I admire and had very interesting Twitter chats with both Rick and Marsha (at the time I shared them on my Diet Schmiet FB page). I’d kinda thought it was the concept of ‘dieting’ they had a problem with (and it essentially is). I’d thought by not saying I was ‘dieting’ I was overcoming some of the usual antipathy I struggle with when trying to lose weight; but both actually clarified for me that they believe THE FOCUS ON WEIGHT LOSS is the problem.

Well duh! I thought. That’s why I’m doing this.

However… the slow start I’ve had (and may well continue to have) in this reformed approach to weight loss has forced me to be more patient. (Cos – quite frankly – I have a long friggin’ way to go!)

So… what I am focussing on instead relates to the reasons I said I was doing this in the first place and the changes (or non-scale victories) I’m experiencing.

1. I don’t feel as uncomfortable

When announcing I was starting Weight Watchers, I admitted I constantly felt uncomfortable. I was often bloated and generally ate so much I was usually really full. Well, my tummy’s obviously still way larger than it should be, but I don’t feel uncomfortable all of the time. Indeed – I doubt it’s shrunk much, but it certainly feels like it has.

curry2. I’m eating more healthily

I’m trying stacks of new recipes so mixing up my ‘diet’ (as in what I eat) a lot. With that comes things I don’t mind but don’t choose to eat. Like veges.

3. I’m making compromises like a grown-up

Not all compromises are difficult: ie. I’m choosing red wine over champagne. But… just a couple of nights ago I was partaking in a red wine when I realised I wasn’t enjoying it and would prefer to use those points for something else.

4. I’m starting to think about exercise

As you’re now well aware, I’ve started burlesque dance classes. Scary as all shit of course, but it’s a HUGE achievement for me. I’m hoping that I’m on that long journey towards increased fitness – where every step makes a difference.

5. I’m looking at other ways to become healthier

Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 6.34.40 PMI’m again trying to give up my Vanilla Diet Coke habit. I know from past experience that my consumption makes me far hungrier than I am when I’m not having it (or consuming only moderate amounts, which is hard for me!). I’m also trying to reduce my alcohol consumption.

So…  there you have it. Some NSVs to keep me on track and remind me that I’m doing ‘this’ for reasons OTHER than weight loss.

Do you focus too much on ‘the numbers’ when trying to lose weight or get fitter or healthier?

Disclaimer: I have been given a free six month online membership to Weight Watchers but my thoughts, opinions and words here are my own. Please check out the program for yourself before making any decisions.

  • Char
    January 28, 2014

    This all sounds so positive. It’s not too hard or too extreme – it’s moderate and sensible and you’ve got a say in what you choose. If you ask me, slow is the way to go.

    • Debbish
      January 28, 2014

      I certainly hope so. It hasn’t always been that way, so hopefully this time is different (and sustainable!).

  • Julia
    January 28, 2014

    Yes I’m very much a numbers girl. I know, even Oprah says “it’s just a number, not who you are” but it’s the conditioning we grown up with. I remember weighing myself when I was 12 at one of those old jockey scales tha gave you a printed ticket with your weight on one side and a saying on the other. Mine said 8 stone 6 on one side and ” Envy is a kind of praise” on the other. I was horrified I weighed so much even though I had no idea I what the numbers meant. Ever since then I’ve had that number in my head – 55 kilos – as the weight I would love to be, and even should be. How stupid! I know that’s what a 12 year old weighs, not me at 52! I’ve been regular with gym work and good with food and the scales are showing no change. However, tight trousers are looser so something’s happening. I just have to train my brain to believe it.

    • Debbish
      January 28, 2014

      Oh yes Julia – if you’re like me there’s a lot of retraining involved (my post yesterday showed me that!!!). I actually did my measurements just after I started so am going to do those again this weekend and see if there’s a difference. It sounds like that’s what’s happening in your case!

  • Jody at Six Little Hearts
    January 28, 2014

    Go You!!! Keep up the good work! The hardest part is the brain hurdle – getting motivated. It doesn’t take long for the body to start craving the good stuff once you’ve removed the bad.

    • Debbish
      January 28, 2014

      Yes, I think I’m already starting to make ‘some’ good decisions Jody but I’ve got a long way to go!


  • Jess
    January 28, 2014

    It reminds me of something my old sales boss used to say – consistency and longevity – are the keys to success. All great positive achievements you have made!

  • Trish
    January 28, 2014

    Awesome Debbish.
    A week on holidays and far too many hot chips – I am focusing on the numbers again and my incredible shrinking clothes. I did run and walk to stay fit but is wasn’t enough.
    My bad !
    I will be exercising madly this next week to regain my waistline.

    • Debbish
      January 28, 2014

      Oh yes, it’s hard on holidays. I’m far better when I’m working and have some structure to my days. Great work keeping up the exercise though!

  • Josefa @always Josefa
    January 28, 2014

    Well done! I think this year for me will be about both – numbers and getting healthier – shedding a little bit of weight will be good, but changing things in terms of lifestyle and healthier eating will be even better xx Josefa #teamIBOT

    • Debbish
      January 28, 2014

      Yes, whatever I do now needs to be sustainable. I’m tired of achieving great losses and getting fitter and then just ending up back where I started.

      So, I can appreciate your approach!

  • Satu
    January 28, 2014

    Hi Deb! I’m happy you’re feeling better already. And I love the BitStrips comic and hope you could beam all the leftover Vanilla Coke to me! 🙂

    The only thing I disagree about is the rate of your weight loss – to me 5kg in a month is a lot. With my system I lose 1kg in a month – I could lose a bit more but I don’t want to increase my daily calorie deficit at the moment.

    I also have a tendency to focus too much on the numbers, but am trying to focus more on the things I need to do – eating regular meals, exercising etc.

    • Debbish
      January 28, 2014

      Yes Satu – I actually started writing the post before I ‘weighed-in’ on Monday and wasn’t sure how I’d go. A good loss this past week (1.5kg) helped! I decided to go ahead and write the post anyway to try to reflect my ‘new & improved’ thinking! 😉

      In the past I’ve lost about 4kg in the first week… So I expected that again. But I do know that 0.5-1kg / week is the optimal loss.

      I really need to focus more on my exercise next up. Kinda happy though that I gave myself a couple of weeks to settle into my new life.

      And… 2 days Vanilla Diet Coke free. No lives have been lost and today was easier than yesterday!

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    January 29, 2014

    You (almost) inspire me to start again as I remember how great I felt after those first few weeks, less bulk, more energy and hardly any wine (hardly) I still smashed back diet coke but MEH. Well done lovely, keep it up, and BIG UPS for giving up Vanilla Diet Coke, that’s some hard shit not to crave xx

    • Debbish
      January 29, 2014

      Thanks Emily. Yes, I can’t wait until I feel even more different. I found a blog post I’d written after losing about 10kg last time I lost weight and I felt SO much better even though I had a long way to go!

  • Neen
    February 6, 2014

    I’m also trying very hard not to focus on numbers. I get really obsessive when I weigh myself or calorie count or use my heart rate monitor. This year I too, am trying to be more zen and just be healthy.

    Plus, dieting sounds quiet temporary doesn’t it?

    • Debbish
      February 7, 2014

      Oh yes indeed. I’ve long been the sort of person who thinks…”When I’m off this diet, I’ll…” but I’m getting much better!

  • FabGirl
    February 26, 2014

    As always, your posts are top-notch! Love that you’re still on your quest to lead a healthy life and that you’re taking risks and doing things you actually enjoy! One thing that really stuck out to me in this post is that you realised you don’t like the red wine as much and would prefer to use those points elsewhere. I’ve had the same “light bulb moment.” Pizza costs ~20 pp for 2 slices. I can think of A LOT better, tastier, more satisfying options to spend 20 points on! Bravo to you! 🙂

    • Debbish
      February 26, 2014

      Hi there and thanks for your comment! It’s about compromise isn’t it!?

      I’ve been doing the same thing with my carbs – I LOVE potatoes and realise they’re far better value for my PP than rice or pasta so choose them every time!

      • Sacha - DiaryofaFabGirl
        February 27, 2014

        Yep. We can have it all; we just sometimes need to redefine what that means. For example, I enjoy tasty food just as much as the next person, but I’ve been trying to focus more on the power foods to help me stay sated and within my daily pp total. I find that adding a great fat free salsa to scrambled eggs with a little bit of ham, all warmed up, is a great breakfast! It feels like comfort food to me.

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