Updated: Apr 8, 2019
Hello again WWGays family!
I hope that you have enjoyed my contributions thus far. Thank you so much for your warm welcomes and your feedback! You’ve given me some great ideas for future blog posts, so keep those suggestions coming! I promise you’ll see me with the boys in some of their videos too. I think the next time I come over, it’s my turn to cook dinner ☺.
I know my little corner is called Veggies and Tips, but I did promise to post about things other than just vegetarian food. As the warmer winds of spring start to blow in (along with the mud and rain but shhhh we don’t have to think about that part), I felt that maybe it was my turn to dig into my journey a little more and talk about the most important victories that come with healthier living. The ones that have very little to do with numbers or scales. Although WW is by far the most well researched, and most successful program out there, over the long term, many of us end up returning to our unhealthy habits, and by extension, our unhappy weight. So, my third time around, I have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about HOW I was going to make this time different. How I was going to make it STICK for a lifetime of healthy living.
By far - the first step is abandoning the word DIET. Diet culture can be very dysfunctional. You see, I hate dieting. To me, dieting implies restriction, deprivation, self-loathing, unhealthy eating patterns, cutting out food groups, working out until you’re exhausted, the list goes on... You’ve probably been in that unhealthy mindset too. When we look at the way we eat and live as just a temporary form of restriction, soon to end once "all our dreams come true", it won't stick. Instead, consider your new way of eating and moving as a permanent change. If you're doing something now that you don't see yourself able to do forever, then I guarantee you, you won't! The difference between life in weight loss mode and life at maintenance on WW is not very different. A few more points a day, that's it! For me, that's an extra snack or two. I still eat the same things I did before, and move the same amount, because I intentionally choose to only do things that make me feel good - food that tastes good, activity that feels good. I'm not here to deprive myself or workout to the point of collapse.
Now, about that pesky scale: We know on every level that matters, that the number on the scale is a woefully inaccurate measure of our well being. Health is what is important. Is there a correlation between how healthy we are and the number on the scale? Yes, but it’s a very imperfect one; there are plenty of very unhealthy people out there who appear skinny, just as there are lots of people who would be considered overweight or obese that are in great health. Yet, it's really easy to obsess over those numbers. I think WW has done a lot of work to try and shift our focus to other important indicators, but the fact remains that we still step on that scale every week or month. What do you do if it doesn't show you a number you want? I know I used to beat myself up if I'd done everything right and the scale showed a gain, or a really small loss. Or, I'd have a day off the rails and just decide to blow the rest of the week off because why bother? Have you been there before?
I will continue to maintain that you have to do what works for you – but I always worry about WW members who try to time their weight loss - “Lose 30 pounds in 3 months!”, or set those “15 pounds by Easter” challenges. Ask yourself - what happens if you don’t reach that goal? Will it send you into a destructive spiral? Will that little voice in your head tell you you’re a failure and then you’ll sabotage yourself? If you’re that kind of person, I’d stay far away from those kind of goals. Bodies are weird. Bodies will change at their own pace, and it might not be the pace you want. The thrill of reaching a mini-goal can be amazing, but the let down of not reaching it might do more harm than good. When that scale doesn’t do what you want it to do, how do you cope? Figuring this out is really important, because when you eventually begin to maintain your weight, that scale number will rarely change, and this mental transition is MUCH harder than you think.
I love how WW has shifted its focus to looking at mental wellness and mindfulness in addition to food and activity, because I think that it is really the KEY to turning this into a lifelong habit. I think we all tend to believe that once we lose the weight, our problems will be solved, but that’s not how it works at all. In fact, in my own journey, my battle with anxiety worsened once the weight fell away, because I no longer had food as one of my unhealthy coping mechanisms! Instead I had to learn how to deal with it in other ways, through mindfulness, physical activity, regular therapy and yes, medication too. I’ve been at or around my lifetime weight for around 9 months now, and I’m still trying to figure out how my body and mind function best - and the short answer to that is, they function best when they are working together!
Here’s my challenge to you for the week: I want you to anchor your joy to something other than the number on the scale. I’m not saying that you have to ignore the scale completely, just think of it as one of many measures you use to help you, not the final say on whether or not you've been successful. You have done an amazing thing for yourself by deciding that you needed to change something you were unhappy with. Can you look in the mirror and appreciate that the person staring back at you is so very strong and worthy of self love and care? Do that this week. Look in the mirror and repeat that to yourself until you start to believe it. “I am strong. I am worthy of self love and care. I am doing this thing because I am worth it. The number on the scale does not define my success.”
It’s all about your mindset.
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