Monday, February 26, 2007

Patience Report #3: The Battle of the Bulge

Now that I’m getting a handle on being patient with my family members, my body decided to throw me a curve. Or love handles, as the case may be.

Just over a year ago I joined Weight Watchers and began losing weight. (See my entry from Oct. 11, 2006 which chronicles my weight over my lifetime.) At first the pounds came off with regularity, but I’ve been stuck since I wrote that entry in October. In an effort to stay motivated I graphed my weight loss and put it on the fridge. But after a four month plateau period, watching the line go up and down, up and down, up and up, down again -- the graph became a reminder of my lack of success. I began to doubt that I’d ever reach my weight loss goal.

My attitude with weight loss has been anything but patient. I want to lose weight, and I want it to happen NOW! But my body has other plans. My outlook keeps fluctuating between determination and resignation. If not for attending the Weight Watcher meetings and hearing about other members’ struggles and successes, I’d probably have thrown in the towel.

This week’s meeting addressed the need for positive thinking, and not falling victim to perfectionist thinking. My own perfectionist thoughts run something like this:

I’ve blown it today, I might as well enjoy a week off from dieting. It’s my fault that the pounds aren’t coming off. I must not be exercising enough. If I’ve overeaten at breakfast, I might as well take the rest of the day off. If I can’t be perfect, I might as well give up.

How’s that for patience?

One quote that our leader had written on the board really hit home. And seeing how Winston Churchill and I have both fought the Battle of the Bulge, I can relate.

"Don’t let perfectionist thinking hold you back from what you want most. The maxim, ‘Nothing avails but perfection,’ may be spelled ‘paralysis’." – Winston Churchill

So now I’m trying to recognize when I’m being too demanding of myself, and I’m trying to anticipate my tendencies toward negative self-talk.

A few weeks ago I went shopping for a pair of jeans. I’d been putting off the purchase until I’d lost enough weight to wear the next pant size down from my current pair. Imagine my surprise when I found that I could wear a size 12. A size 12!! I haven’t been able to zip up a size twelve since I started having children over thirteen years ago.

A man at one of our Weight Watchers meetings said that when he’s feeling discouraged he goes into his closet and tries on the pair of pants he wore when he first joined Weight Watchers. Hearing him, I felt a little sad that I hadn’t kept some of my original "fat" pants. As I lost weight, I gave all my too-big clothes away as extra incentive to keep the pounds off.

Just yesterday I realized that there was one pair of "fat" pants that I hadn’t given away. They’d gotten a hole in them so I’d tossed them into my scrap denim pile. This morning I pulled them out, took them to my Weight Watchers meeting and had the class celebrate my new pant size with me.

So the scale still says I weigh 168 lbs. So what! I’ve come to know that all the exercise and weight training I’ve been doing in my aerobics classes have changed my body composition. Muscle weighs more than fat, and my size 12 jeans prove it!

1 comment:

scienceteachermommy said...

Better to throw in the towel than throw up a bowel. My sister constantly worries about her weight. She is more vain than unhealthy. It is hard to really commiserate with her. Maybe because my weight bugs me to and obsessing about it with her bugs me even more, besides pointing out to me, in not so many words, that I outweigh her by a good 15 (that is PRE prego weight) on a great day. I'd rather just avoid the elephant in the room . . .

If you'll excuse the metaphor.