Last week I was 1.6 pounds away from Onderland. After three consecutive weeks of losing 2.2 pounds per week, I felt Onderland was a shoe-in but I still wasn’t taking any chances. I worked my ass off at the gym adding extra cardio to many workouts, I shaved calories from each day’s meal plan to ensure then previous weekend’s indulgences didn’t derail my progress. I woke up Saturday feeling the giddy nervousness of a child waking up on Christmas morning. I headed to the bathroom scale (cell phone in-hand to photograph the momentous occasion of being back under 200 pounds for the first time in more than three years) stripped down and stepped on.
2/10ths of a pound lost. That’s it. No Onderland. After all those long workouts, after all those missed morsels my hopes are dashed, my excitement squashed. I must have gotten off and back on that stupid scale four times before I accepted the results, slunk off to the sofa and had myself a good, long cry. I told myself I would take the day to emotionally recover from the setback then carry on but here we are, Thursday, and I am messaging Karol about my struggle to get motivated this week, my conviction that (somehow) my pants are getting tighter and how I have been sleep-walking through my workouts all week. And then she gives me exactly what I need – not the gentle coddling my drama-queen self is looking for but, instead, the swift kick to the ass I deserve.
She informs me she is not pulling out the balloons and the confetti to throw me a pity party. We are on a mission and one disappointing weigh-in not a setback, not a failure. Good weeks are good weeks despite the scale and any week on-plan is a good week. She’s right, of course. She’s right to not let me wallow and she’s right about everything else. I am sick of my own drama, sick of the yo-yo mood, sick of hearing myself complain every time a weigh in doesn’t go the way I want, sick of comparing my results to those of other people. I’ve been doing this too long, I have too much experience on this journey to continue to let this bring me down.
There is a mental toughness aspect to losing weight. It’s a toughness forged from bad weeks, from setbacks, from injuries and disappointing weigh-ins. It is an ability to quickly recover emotionally, an ability to harden your heart in the face of failure, to steel your mind against self-doubt. It is skill in getting and staying motivated without any external influence, without results to push you. It is a toughness you build like any other muscle and, like any other muscle, it will atrophy without use. The fortitude we hone through weight loss can be applied to every other aspect of our life just as the strength and endurance we build in the gym can be applied to our daily lives. This week, as I work in the gym to get my body strong I realize I’ll be working everywhere else to my mind right again.
Today, I am deciding the pity party is over. Today I am moving forward, reminding myself exactly how strong, how resilient I can be. Today I am done feeling sorry for myself, done believing that losing 2/10ths of a pound is a failure, done worrying about Onderland or any other milestone. I’ll get there. Maybe this week, maybe next week, maybe three weeks from now – I’ll get there. What I won’t get is a second chance to make the most of this week, of today. It’s time to quit my crying and toughen up.