I have had to lose at least 20 lbs. at least 7 or 8 times in my lifetime. After this last weight loss attempt, I think it is safe to say that weight loss is one thing in which I hold expertise. Thus, I am beginning a series of my top 5 things that have been helpful to me in this season.
We have a great deal of insight on how to lose weight, but far less information on how to keep off weight that was lost. This, I believe, is the critical insight that is missing from our guidance. It will be difficult to lose the weight, but it is far more challenging to create a lifestyle where that weight loss will be maintained.
This, dear friends, is where I hope to provide guidance. Particularly for those of you who are lovers of food, and begrudgingly participate in exercise. If you have a strong affinity toward food, weight loss is that much harder. But be encouraged—from one food lover to another, this can most certainly be done.
Think of me as your coach. Pushing you and praying you to a better version of yourself. Let’s go.
Do you own a scale?
Do you get on it regularly (regularly = at least once per week)?
If you answered no to either of those questions, AND you have excess weight to lose, please continue.
Anytime I have gained at least 20 lbs. (including this most recent weight gain in 2016), I usually was not getting on the scale regularly. There have been seasons where I did not own a scale, and/or was afraid to look at a scale. I have learned, however, that regular weighing is essential. When I make myself get on the scale (no matter what I ate) at least twice per week, I ensure several things: a) no surprises; b) I can catch weight gain before it becomes permanent; c) I am accountable.
I usually love to be surprised, but NOT in the case of my weight. I never think I am going to be surprised, because I usually think my “head math” is as good as the real thing. I often believe I can tell if I am gaining weight by the way my clothes fit. However, if my clothes are fitting differently, I have likely already gained 10 lbs. Much, much, too late to learn this information. Losing 10 lbs. vs. losing 2-3 lbs is much, much different.
When I maintained my weight for about 3 years, I gave myself a range of 5 lbs. Whenever I stepped on the scale, if I was in my range, then I gave myself the “proverbial thumbs up.” If I noticed I was creeping up in my range, then I knew I needed to make some changes over the next few days.
It is not enough to have a scale at a location (e.g., someone’s house, the gym, the doctor’s office). You need to invest in a good scale at YOUR home.
Don’t be scared
Fear was usually the reason why I avoided the scale. I was so scared of how I would feel if I saw the amount of weight I had gained. I always thought the information would overtake me. And often, if I had been gaining weight, I was not happy with the results. However, similar to what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:11: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it.” When the scale would “discipline” me and tell me the consequences of my eating behavior, I often did not enjoy the experience. However, what I did after I received the information was what mattered.
I learned to listened. I made changes. And typically that moment when I felt the worst often turned into a catalyst for a change that set me up for some better news later on—weight loss. The truth hurts. That phrase is a cliché for a reason. The truth also sets you free. Live in it friends. Get on that scale.
I don’t like the scale.
Hmm. Why? I imagine because some of you have experienced some unwanted weight gain and have been “surprised” by seeing numbers you did not expect. Truth: I have found my experience with the scale to much more pleasant when I get on it regularly, and understand my pattern of weight. I now know that after I eat Chinese food, my weight is going to be higher. If I eat anything with a lot of salt, my weight is going to be higher. Before I start my monthly cycle, my weight is going to be higher. It will go back to normal, but it is just going to be higher at certain times of the week and/or month. I understand my normal weight fluctuations now. This all came by me getting on the scale regularly. It is easy to not like something from a distance. Lean in, and get to know you and your scale a little better.
Weight strugglers—you NEED someone or something to hold you accountable. You are not enough. For an area that causes so many of us a great deal of pain, I am often amazed how cavalier we can be about taking as much control as we possibly can. Most of the time—we have full control over this area. Yes, there are exceptions, but “paying close attention” can solve a great deal of problems.
Take your first step.
Get your scale.