Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trigger Happy Part 2


That was the number on the scale this morning. As I have mentioned before, I don't believe in measuring your worth, happiness, or beauty based on the number on the scale. In the past, I have fallen victim to this, daily checking my number, stark naked, to make sure it didn't go up.  And guess what?  It did!  Somedays I would wake up with it 5lbs heavier that the day before.  Then it would go back down, then up again, and then when it was getting closer to that time that makes you hate being a women, it would go up a whopping 10lbs.

I stepped on the scale this morning because a fellow yogini admitted that she still struggles with obsessing over the number on the scale.  This pretty little lady has been a regularly practicing yogini for years.  At first, she stuck to the Hatha yoga classes, which mean less movement between poses, longer holds, and overall less "athletic" of a practice.  Not any less hard, just different.   In the time period she has started practicing Vinyasa, or flow-style yoga, which can be really intimidating for a lot of us.  She has gotten stronger, both physically and mentally, and has even decided to start her own teacher training program.  She has a lot to be proud of!

But this conditioning to base our daily confidence on the scale is just setting you up for failure.  Unless you are significantly overweight and have weight-loss goals of 50+ lbs, I don't recommend weighing yourself often.  Even those with significant weight to lose, I wouldn't weigh yourself more than once a week, as there are so many variables during the week that effect your weight.

In general, the daily weighing of yourself can go one of a few ways.  First, your weight stays exactly the same and you've already decided you hate that weight.  How do you win?  You've already decided that weight is not desirable. Second, the weight (like mine) fluctuates daily, weekly +/-5lbs.  Now you've made yourself crazy trying to figure out what exactly is going on.  Third, the weight starts to slowly go down and you become obsessed with it.  You develop unhealthy relationships with food and exercise in order to keep that number going down.  Overtime, you may waste away into a person you don't recognize.  Or, it can go up slowly and you think, 'well this is it, I might as well give up.' You stop caring and start to detach yourself from your body.  

The last two are obviously extremes.  (And I should note, I am no dietitian, nutritionalist, doctor, or therapist.  But between my close friends and me, I have seen all of these instances occur.)  When I woke up this morning I thought to myself, 'I don't have to go on the scale to write this piece.' I tried to come up with excuses as to why it was silly, but then I realized that I was succumbing to the very thought-process I wish to eradicate. So, I ate my full cleanse-approved breakfast.  Two slices of gluten-free bread with almond butter, herbal chai tea, and my cleanse shake.  I read a little article on aging yogis.  Then I walked myself downstairs to dust off that old scale of mine.  I kept all my PJs, took a deep breath, already deciding that whatever number came up, I wouldn't care about it.

And you know what?  I didn't! It was weird, the last time I stepped on this scale I was getting ready for my wedding and each reading had such an emotional response from me.  But today, nothing.  I have been 137.8lbs multiple times before. I have felt "fat" at 137lbs, and I have felt thin at 137lbs.  Today I just feel normal.  And that's the thing, it about what you feel.  I felt great after having my yummy breakfast.  The sun is out and the humidity is gone.  I have a day filled with teaching yoga and writing.  I went to sleep last night at 9am, so I feel rested.  All of these things which make me feel like having a great day are NOT on the scale.  137.8 does not represent all that I feel today, all that I can do today, and does not weigh the smile I have on the inside.  It doesn't mean much to me.  

Could you imagine the emotional roller coaster that would be if you truly cared about those little ups and downs on the scale?  I can tell you that no one else seems to notice them.  What people DO notice is confidence.  When you feel good when you wake up, you can't help but look beautiful.  Smiling during interactions, laughing at the small stuff, enjoying the Fall breeze.  Taking a sip of a delicious Chai Tae Latte…THAT radiates beauty and happiness.

To bring this back to those who are unhappy and uncomfortable in their bodies and want to start feel better, it does start with listening, not assessing.  I've said this before but I really mean it.  Start a little daily journal and use it as a "check-in."  Write how you feel upon waking, write how the different foods you eat throughout the day effect your belly.  If you have a Greek yogurt for breakfast and it was delicious, but 2 hours later your stomach is gurgling and acidy, note that.  Begin to find your own path to being food-happy, and belly-happy, and all around happy, by listening to exactly what works well with you.  When you eat the foods that love you, and you eat the amount that hugs you, your body will begin to feel like your own again.  That connection, between mind and body, will never be measured on a scale.

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