I rarely weigh myself. It’s a habit I picked up in my early 30’s when I stopped dieting and embraced a healthy lifestyle instead. Till then, the scale was my constant tormentor, dictating how good or bad I should feel on any given day. If I was on a diet I’d check to gauge my progress and get so excited by the results that I’d celebrate by “treating” myself to something not prescribed by the diet. This naturally led to more treats and soon I’d be off my diet. I’d then weigh myself to assess the damage. The inevitable gain would then lead me to soothe myself with comfort food. Another failed effort at weight loss. What a viscous cycle.
When I decided to eat for health rather then thinness, I kicked the scale to the curb and monitored my success in ways that had nothing to do with my weight. I paid attention to how I felt, how my clothes fit, my mood, and level of engagement in my life. I also didn’t eat according to any particular diet. Instead I nourished myself with what I instinctually knew to be healthy, focusing on veggies, lean protein, fruit, beans and grains. No more diet food alternating with junk food, a hideous yin-yang pattern. I was eating for health, and guess what? Not only was I feeling great, I also lost weight! And never struggled with my weight again.
Recently though, I decided to check in with the scale. A few things happened simultaneously that had me wondering what their impact was. As much as I hated to do it, I had to know so I could get a sense of what adjustments I needed to make, so I jumped on. And I was not happy. I gained weight! I couldn’t believe it. But I could explain it.
I had to stop running recently because of a knee injury I developed when trekking in Nepal. The pain was so intense, it had me praying to every healing Guru I could think of to help me get down that mountain without having to helicopter off. Eliminating my runs meant 4 hours less exercise every week.
Around the same time, I traveled four weekends in a row. This had me off my routine and eating in restaurants more often. I typically eat nearly every meal at home, so that too was a drastic change. Oh, and yeah, I’m 49 now, and what you heard about weight and age is turning out to be true for me too.
Strangely, I didn’t panic when the scale delivered its news. And unlike the past, it didn’t lead me to buy Ben and Jerry’s in misery. My reaction was the same as I would have if a client of mine gained weight: assess habits and make any necessary adjustments.
For me that meant taking a good look at my fitness routine. Seeing that I wouldn’t get the results I wanted through a few yoga classes and walking, I hired a personal trainer to work out with once a week. In addition to that I now hit the gym nearly every single day, practicing the exercises he’s given me and spending 25 to 40 minutes on the Elliptical machine to boot. I love it and I am absolutely seeing results. Not only has it helped me trim down, it’s also rehabbing my knee which will allow me to continue to mountain climb.
It’s natural for weight to fluctuate. But the number on the scale is far less important than the habits that got you there. When clients tell me they want to just “get there already” as though achieving their target weight is protection from ever gaining it back, I remind them that the destination is nothing without the journey. Yes, you may want to get there, but you also want to be able to stay there. And to achieve that, you have to build habits that you can sustain so the goal and the practice are all the same.
What do you do to help keep your weight in check? Do you weigh yourself often, or not at all? And when it’s time to knock a few pounds off, what is your go-to habit? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Have a great week everyone and stay healthy!
Salmon Salad Toast
Here’s a recipe I recently made for a hearty lunch. Two slices of Kalamata Olive Bread, piled on with salmon salad. The recipe below is enough for 2 servings.
- 1-8 ounce filet wild Alaskan salmon, grilled, baked or poached
- 1/4 Cup chopped walnuts
- 2 -3 Tbsp chopped red onion or scallions
- 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
- Pinch Himalayan salt
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
Cook salmon and cool. Flake with a fork into smaller pieces. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve on Nutty Protein Bread or on endive. Enjoy!