I’m in month 11 of my (latest) journey to becoming and staying a healthy writer. I started in the beginning of 2009 and promised myself I’d give it a year no matter what. I would go to Weight Watchers (WW) all year and go to the gym at least 100 times. I’m approaching the one-year mark, and I’m starting to obsess about what my total weight loss number for 2009 will be. Will the number be big enough?
I don’t think that’s healthy or helpful. When I first set my health goals for the year, I told myself that it would be a success if I just lost 20 pounds. Actually, losing 20 pounds and reaching size 14 seemed almost an impossible goal for years and years. I promised myself I would continue with my efforts if I lost almost no weight. If I lost 5, 10, or 15 pounds, I’d still go to WW every week and keep working out throughout the year. No matter what I’d give it my all.
I’ve now lost 25 pounds and gone down 2 or so sizes. I’m very happy to have accomplished that, but I can’t help thinking I want a bigger number for the year. There are ladies at my regular WW meetings who have lost so much more. I can think of at least 2 who have lost more than 40 pounds, and we started at around the same point. If anything, I started older and fatter.
I know it’s not healthy to compare myself to others. I can only do what I can do. I’ll never be perfect at this, but if I keep going, I will make forward progress. Knowing that still doesn’t mean I don’t entertain unhealthy thoughts.
For example, I've thought about staying in DC for Thanksgiving – partly as a money saver but also because I'd eat less than if I went to CT and might actually lose weight that week bringing me that much closer to a “big” number for the year. Not a really good reason, I realize, and I love going home for Thanksgiving, but it’s still tempting. It’s just another sign that I have to struggle against getting obsessed with what my total weight loss for the year will be. It's a great measurement, but I think obsessing about it is unhealthy. It just leads to negative feelings that can lead to overeating.
What does it matter if it's 30 pounds vs. 35 vs. 20 something if I'm ultimately heading to the same point? It certainly does not help that it encourages me to consider doing really stupid, unhealthy things like contemplating cutting back my eating to unhealthy levels for the next 2 months. I know that’s stupid, but it does still cross my mind at times. The only way the size of my annual weight loss number matters would be if I let myself think the number was too small and I should just give up. I’ll never make my goal weight so why should I continue?
I promised myself I’d give it my all for 2009, and I’m absolutely committed to that, but 2010 is a new year. Now, I’m leaning towards making myself the same promise for 2010, and in some ways, joining this blog did extend my promise further than Dec. 31, 2009. I’m trying to be aware of my emotions, so I can work them out and not let them convince me to mess this up and self-sabotage. I want to keep moving forward in a healthy way. That’s why I’m trying not to obsess about what my total weight loss number for 2009 will be.