If you have ever weighed yourself regularly on one of the old doctor’s office scales, you know that the bottom weight on the balance arm, the one that marks 50-lb. increments, rarely moves. Mostly it is the 1-lb. marker on the top that goes back and forth.
I have reached the point in my weight loss where I’m just ounces away from bumping that bottom weight down a notch, and it’s gotten my jimmies all rustled to the point where I am making some rather poor choices in my eating program (which, my Weight Watchers leader reminds me every week, IS NOT A DIET).
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a weight range within which I am comfortable, and I have now lost 10% of my starting weight and reached the bottom of that range. I can fit comfortably in all my “small” clothes, and the rest of my clothes are gloriously baggy. Another 10 pounds down and I am going to have to buy some even smaller clothes, which is a nice problem to have unless, you know, you’re on a budget.
The budget is the least of it, though. The real issue is, will I stick where I’m comfortable or keep reducing my weight while increasing my anxiety? Because the lower I go, the harder it gets not only to lose but to maintain the loss. One must either eat very little or exercise a whole lot, and I’m not really good with either one. At a higher weight, I have more flexibility in what I can do and eat while still making progress (or at least holding steady). At a lower weight, every bite counts and the consequences of indulging are quick and pitiless.
The least I’ve weighed in my adult life is approximately 30 pounds less than I do now, and I got to that weight after eight months of strict dieting (sorry, I mean following the WW eating plan), five months of relentless daily workouts in preparation to make a cross-country bicycle trip, and 52 days on that trip riding an average of more than 70 miles per day from Oregon to New Hampshire. When the trip was over and I put my bicycle away pretty much for good, the weight held off for a few months before slowly creeping back again. That was 12 years ago. I’ve lost some, gained it back, lost it again. And again. It always finds me.
What I remember from that brief period of being really quite fit and nearly height-weight proportionate was that it required all my attention and an enormous effort every single day. I felt that I could never splurge on a big meal, never miss a workout, never let down my guard for a moment and just enjoy myself or be lazy. And I am not sure whether I have the desire or discipline to live that way again.
So I baked some cookies for Halloween instead of buying candy (most of which I shared with the neighbors but several of which I happily ate), and I made that Bangers & Mash recipe I mentioned last week (which was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it). As a result I budged up a tad on the scale tonight. Just enough to keep me from dropping below that clear bright line that represents, to me, the difference between Enjoying Life While Losing Weight and Dieting All The Time and Hating It.
My WW group has a terrific leader who recommends that I just “take it slow” and try to focus on practicing healthy habits rather than simply losing weight, and that is good advice wherever you go. But I also need to decide what I’m going to do with this eating plan and choose to either commit to continue losing toward a new goal or maintain where I am (which is, at least, a healthier place than I was three months ago).