UNITED STATES—After nearly two weeks on a plan to lighten up 30 pounds in 30 days, you are entitled to a peek at the scales, a little peek. There are lots of other ways you can use to appraise your results: your clothes may be looser, your belt has tightened up a notch (or the shoe repair man has to punch a new hole for the buckle), your friends may have commented that you look younger. All these methods of ascertaining progress I would seek before turning to the bathroom scales.
By making you wait all this time to weigh your results my hope is that by now you couldn’t care less how much you weigh. If anyone wants to see my opinion of the scales, watch “Lighten Up Now” on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oLgc9RkNQ4), and you will see my opinion articulately expressed with a hammer. There are so many good alternatives to stepping onto the scales, and that’s why I don’t even have one in my house! The 30 pound loss plan I liken to race car driving: race cars don’t have a speedometer, the driver’s eye is on the road, the other cars. For you who seek rapid weight loss, the eye is focused on how I feel and how the belt and clothes fit.
Now if you are utterly free of mental baggage, you are ready for your weigh-in. The requirement is to have been steady in practicing your habits of sticking to mealtimes, lots of fruits and veggies, as well as morning breathing and stretches. You are ready to face the scales, free of expectation. If not, postpone your weigh-in for three days. This is very important.
If the weigh-in comes on the heels of travel or a time of feast when you have altered your eating preferences, to weigh in is inevitably punishment of yourself and it will create an indictment of those whose hospitality you have enjoyed, who shared the good times. Stepping onto the scales in response to anxiety over weight gain will take you pronto to the place of crawling in your own skin if the number comes up high. What’s worse, you may fall prey, not only despising the poundage gained, hating your hosts, but also harboring more anxiety because you will want instant results. Yes, elephants fly, the moon is Roquefort cheese, and you’re gonna lose 10 pounds now! It’s preposterous. But the angst you feel for desiring the unattainable is all too real; and, believe me, angst is the very thing to be reduced in a successful weight-management plan.
In short, weighing when stressed out is an express train to not liking yourself. Panic mode is the poorest state from which to improve your shape. The scales are best used sparingly, as a marker of your body’s condition at a pinpoint in time, data to be noted and then forgotten. Above all, the point is to maintain your personal power and well-being—don’t sacrifice it to a silly number. Lighten up. Live the unvarnished truth that it is indeed “only a number.” Otherwise so much good energy gets clustered around one weight. Even if the scale number is low: While it is a tribute to your new behaviors, it can threaten your new habits with a kind of hubris. If I got away with it this time, you may reason, I can get away with it again.
If you have been “cheating” on the plan that is when the need to weigh becomes most morbid. Resist that unhealthy urge. Delay three days until your newly acquired habits are pretty well back in check, and then weigh, without expectation or preconceived results, without hope or dread. It will be worth the weight. . .
Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” available on Kindle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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