For months I’ve gone to the gym without seeing the scale move. I started at 240, maxed out at 244—pardon me while I say all the cuss words I know—then went back to 240, and the scale has stayed pegged there for a jillion years.
I have lost many inches off my waistline and I know I’m trading in fat for muscle. I know.
Still, it is very gratifying to finally see results in terms of weight loss, I admit. I’m thinking that running and other stuff would be a lot easier if I put down the 100-pound backpack I carry around everywhere. I can feel the load on my limbs and my heart.
When I started to get serious about working toward better health and fitness, I set myself an informal goal of losing 100 pounds. So while I have felt myself getting stronger day by day, and while I continue to do the stuff that makes me feel stronger, I hadn’t moved closer to that aspect of my goal.
Until now. And oddly, that makes me feel a bit worried.
That’s because many, many times in the past 35-plus years, I have put in enough work to lose a few pounds, only to quit doing whatever it was I was doing (self-sabotage, anyone?) and gain those few pounds back. My worry is that this will happen again.
But the reality is that I’ve been making a sustained effort for a year or more, and I’ve been seeing results for months—just not the one result that the world seems to track so closely. It’s not my priority, but I’m a product of this culture, too, and I realized just now that the majority of my five decades have been spent in some way or another fretting about my weight. At the beginning of that self-conscious worry about how fat I was, I probably weighed 120 pounds. I know I was about 13.
That was then, this is now. Now that I’m learning how many things I can do, I want to do more things. My strategy is sound: Make getting exercise fun and then I’ll keep doing it.
I’m not really a worrier at heart, so the amount of time I spend feeling anxious about seeing results on the scale is actually fairly small. That fear of failure has the sheen of apparent continuity, except that I’ve never done what I’m doing now. This is something new, a solid commitment and a real understanding of a lot of my motivations and underlying emotional states. And I have really ramped up my effort this past two or three weeks, working out four and five days a week, which is my goal, and working out harder, too. It makes sense that I would see results now.
I’ve been using the Fitbit to track data, and planning meals ahead of time. I’ve been working to cut my portion size, too, and to stop eating sooner. That’s where I usually fall down on the job, but now I’ve got some portion control containers, too. Little by little, I’m learning new habits and it takes time. If you know me, you know that I am not known for my patience (especially on deadline day), but I’m working on it. I am working hard, and settling new habits. I feel it. And yet.
The fear wants to throw my thinking into well-worn pathways of tired excuses of why it’s “not gonna work, you know, can’t work, never worked before, not gonna work this time” kinds of patterns. Words I have said over and over to myself so many times that the whole script is memorized. Here’s the deal, though. I’ve seen fear in my children’s eyes occasionally over the years, worrying about my health. Wondering if they should call an ambulance or not. Fear, especially fear of failure, is a dead-end road.
So what’s the plan? I feel some anxiety about taking it to the next level, because it brings up past “failures” to me. But all there really is to do is to keep going, keep on trucking, and see where it goes. And if this effort is something new, then the results will be different. It amounts to leaping out into the unknown, way outside of anything resembling a comfort zone, a thing I used to think I had, but I don’t think I do any more. So be it. Exercise is a good antidote for anxiety.
And finally, the big reveal: I have lost one pound a week for the past two weeks, after I don’t even know how many times I weighed myself where the scale never budged.
How do you approach health and fitness? Get in touch with me at 505-286-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!”