Not a pretty picture.
Most of us grown-ups don’t do this literally, but we may do it mentally. Especially when it comes to facing the reality of why we’re not losing weight. When a friend asks how our diet is going we throw up our hands in exasperation: “I’m doing everything right! I’m eating so healthy! I work out X times a week! Still the scale won’t budge! It’s so frustrating!”
(Feel free to insert a high-pitched voice and flailing arms. At least, that’s what it looks like when I do it. Ahem.)
But if weight loss is the goal and the scale isn’t budging, then by definition we’re not doing it right.
For months I’ve been stuck at a weight that’s 15 pounds higher than what I’m comfortable at. Fifteen friggin’ pounds! It’s been driving me nuts! I’ve talked to my doctor about it (I gave him the arms-flailing speech narrated above), and I’ve done a lot of head banging over it. But I’ve also been doing a lot of soul-searching, and I’ve come to a few conclusions:
- Sometimes – even though we’re doing what has always worked in the past – it stops working. Could be hormones, could be stress. Could be the alignment of the planets. Who knows? The point is, we have to deal with our current reality, not what worked last year or last month.
- The answer is out there. Now, because of my work, I read a lot about healthy living and weight loss. Not a lot of what I read is new or revelatory, but some of it is. One of the reasons I launched the “100 days of awesome!” is because I’d been reading a lot about sugar and realized that my own daily sugar intake – mostly in the form of fruit, but also near-daily treats like dark chocolate – was far above the recommended 38 grams per day. The World Health Organization is currently under considerable pressure from the UN and other groups to lower its recommendation to 25 grams per day. Yikes! I’d been eating that much just for breakfast.
- … and the answer is within. Call it inner wisdom if you want to, but interestingly almost any time I ask someone who comes to me, struggling with their weight, why they think they’re stuck, the truth is … they already know why. They’re either eating too much (even of the right things), or they’re relying too much on processed foods, or they’re in a boring workout rut, so they’re not bringing much intensity to it anymore. Or a combination of any of those (or more) factors.
It’s time to stop doing what doesn’t work. The answer’s been staring me in the face; I just haven’t wanted to admit it. Resist, resist, resist … I’m really good at that part of the equation. I’ve been doing all three of the above – resisting my current reality, pretending I know better than the experts, and plugging my ears to the voice within, though she’s speaking the truth. And the truth she’s speaking is that I need to get very serious about nutrition and portion size if I wanna get back to my fighting weight.
You may know that I already eat in a way that I call my “Food Blueprint.” It’s a formulaic way of eating that helped me lose 120 pounds and keep it off for 8+ years. But lately sticking to that exact formula hasn’t been working.
It’s time to go back to the drawing board!
I’m going to spend the next month trying a scaled down (portion-size wise) version of a high-quality, high-protein, very low-carbohydrate system that almost completely eliminates sugar. (Fyi, I’m doing this under my doctor’s supervision, so not to worry. Please consult your doctor if you’re considering your own healthy eating overhaul.)
Of course, I’ll let you know if this shake up makes a dent in the scale, but also how it makes me feel. Will I have the stamina to get through my workouts, or will I have to dial them down? Carbohydrates are our bodies’ primary energy source, so sharply curtailing them is bound to have an effect.
I have resisted this change even though I’m quite sure it will work because I’m afraid. It will be difficult. I will have to dig deep and live with some discomfort, both physical and mental.
Oh, why is nothing ever easy?!?