A few days ago I was commenting on a Facebook post that someone posted in a group that I’m in. The person had seen my story and was saying how she couldn’t wait to see her own drastic changes that she had seen in my pictures.
I found out later that she had already lost a significant amount weight and had seen massive improvements in her health. So she was doing well but the conversation got me thinking about losses and gains and how the entire perception of a weight loss journey or transformation is relative to where you are on your path. In other words, as I travel down this path on my journey, the things that used to be important to me turned out to be meaningless. Some of the goals and reasons that kept me going throughout the tough times are absolutely irrelevant to my life today yet they were critical to the process. By the same token, the changes and new things that never even crossed my mind are the things that got me out of bed in this morning. I’m guessing that as my journey continues this will remain true.
The scale………… I’ve had my fair share of conversations with other people about the importance of the scale and how much you weigh. Through the years I have come to the point where the scale is just a number and it means nothing. I mean, everything I have learned says that if you eat the proper food and don’t eat the foods you shouldn’t then your healthy weight should just happen. (I still believe that) BUT… I have kind of backed off on how strong I stood on the whole “shoot your scale” idea. Here’s why. I was talking to a close friend telling her all the research that shows the mere thought of the scale raises the cortisol levels in your body which inhibits weight loss. I went on and on and on… She very politely told me that if she steps on the scale she becomes accountable. In a way, she said, it’s a reality check to see if I’m being honest with myself. I couldn’t really argue with that because when I started out the numbers on the scale meant everything to me. The best thing that would happen to me is to see the pounds dropping off the scale. The day I looked down at 299 I was ecstatic and overjoyed. There were so many emotions connected to me, the scale, and my waist size. There was very good reason for this. I will never forget the day we were buying clothes for and upcoming wedding that we would be attending. I hadn’t bought clothes in a while because I hated trying them on and seeing the sizes go up and up was pretty demeaning. That day was the last day I ever felt that pain and hurt as I was swapping out bigger sizes as my wife search the store for the biggest pants she could find. See, t-shirts are quite easy to trick yourself. It is an art but if you practice you can actually take a 3X shirt and stretch it to 5X. But pants are a different story. She tossed a new pair over the door, I started to pull them up and with all the strength I could muster I couldn’t get them to button. I slid them off and looked at the tag, 52…….. I couldn’t stuff myself into size 52. To be honest I got pretty emotional. There I was, 400 pounds and I couldn’t fit into 52 inch pants. What’s next? Where am I going to buy clothes from now? I was devastated, the thought of telling my wife that they didn’t fit made me nauseous. So fast forward a few years later and in the same fitting room I’m jumping into 34’s on a regular basis. I’ve even squeezed into a 32” just for fun. 20 freaking inches! And ya know what? It didn’t even matter, not one bit. It was probably not even a conscious thing at the time but walking out of my doctor’s office with him baffled from my triglycerides cut in half from my last visit meant so much more than a waist size. Seeing the look in my wife’s eyes the first time I crossed a finish line, the same woman that had helped me get dressed just a few years ago, was so amazing that it turned a number on a scale into a minuscule figure that had no value to me at all. The mirror that I once dreamed of seeing that fit, normal weighing guy looking back is now covered in medals and pictures of all my “adventures”.
So, here’s the bottom line. For me, I set out to lose. I wanted to lose weight and inches. By the time that happened my focus was on wanting to gain. Sure I lost weight and inches, but what really mattered is what I gained. I gained health, a stronger marriage, happiness, friends, the ability to help others, self respect,……. the list goes on and on so it’s easier to say I gained my life back. A life that was far better than my old life and far better than anything I could have imagined.
I think the scale thing for me was more of a self-esteem issue than anything. You feel good losing weight but what does the number on the scale really give you to boost your confidence and self-respect? I’ll tell you what, when you climb off your bicycle after cranking 100 miles and someone puts a medal around your neck congratulating the athletes as they ride in, you become a champion and that’s just something a waist size or weight will never give me. If the scale is important to you, then step on it as you see fit. But by all means keep your eyes open for changes that really matter. A good night’s sleep – lower cholesterol – not being winded after climbing stairs – having energy – feeling good – crushing goals – not being sick all the time – enjoying and appreciating life.
Here is an excerpt from my comment:
“…I gained so much self-esteem from my accomplishments that it didn’t really matter what I looked like or how big my waist was. Walking out of the doctor’s office as he took me off my last meds meant more to me than any stupid number on the scale or my reflection in the mirror. The excitement from friends and family starting to change their diet because of my influence was more fulfilling than any before and after picture I could share. I too went into this journey to lose weight and look better but as I come out the other side half the man I used to be I can tell you this, this journey has NOTHING to do with what you lose and everything to do with what you GAIN! You didn’t ask for advice but I’m gonna toss some out there anyway, stick to the plan, eat plants, and move your body. Have faith in the plan even if you don’t think it working do it anyway because deep down you know other have walked the path and it does indeed work. Put the work in and be persistent. I promise that one day you will look back and the weight loss and looks will be pretty far down the list on what really happened to you. I’ve been at this for over 4 years now and there are still nights that I can sleep because I don’t want to miss any of this amazing life I have. 4 years ago many nights I prayed that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. So stick with it and DON’T YOU DARE QUIT because you are not seeing results fast enough, you look fantastic and as long as you just go a little further than you did yesterday you will accomplish anything you set out to do. Best Wishes”
My Plant Based Journey.
My Plant Based Journey.
“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday😉 ”
Until next time,