After years of failures, it is difficult not to immediately revert back to that frame of mind when you have a setback. (I think that is a common issue for those who have weight loss surgery, especially because for many this was our last resort. Why put yourself through such a drastic and life-changing surgery if something else would work???) So when you have a setback, or something doesn’t work, you immediately turn into Chicken Little and think the sky is falling, despite your past successes. In fact, this history of failure also makes many skeptical of their successes. Despite consistent progress, we question it every week – silently holding our breath every time we step onto the scale.
I recently have been guilty of falling into this Chicken Little syndrome (pun intended). Overall, I have to say that I have been very lucky to have consistent progress, even averaging 2.8 pounds a week over the last month. Due to my progress, I am this close to hitting my initial 50lb mark and breaking into “ONEderland” (4 more lbs to hit my 50, and 6.1 to get into the one’s). Moreover, I am going to Cozumel the first week in March, and have had the goal to be in the 100’s by the time of this vacation. I figure that knowing I have broken through that wall will give me the extra confidence to strut my stuff on the beach ;). However, my last weigh in was incredibly disappointing and honestly shook my positive outlook on this process.
This Wednesday I stepped onto the scale, expecting to lose the normal amount, only to be met with a loss of only .4 lbs. I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t immediately put me into a bit of a funk. Trying to gain some perspective, my husband and I did a two-a-day yesterday – Kettlebell Sport in the morning and elliptical training at night. However, when I got on the scale this morning – hopeful that yesterday was just a fluke – I had actually gained weight. Admittedly, it has been difficult to do my daily workouts as the east coast has been repeatedly hit with major snow storms. I’d love to get out and jog, or even walk a couple of miles with my puppy, but neither of us has been able to take the cold. Work has also been insane, and for the first time in months I skipped my weekend crossfit session. Despite all the promises I made to myself immediately following surgery – that I wouldn’t let work interfere with my workouts, or that I would do at least 30 minutes of something each day, etc. – I found myself failing.
So, it was to be expected that I would have some sort of setback. In fact, I’m surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. But, that doesn’t change the harsh reality when it did occur or how it affected me. For lack of a better description, I immediately began to “freak out.” Am I hitting a stall? What if I don’t lose any more weight? What if I don’t hit my goal before vacation? Moreover, I started to beat myself up a bit – a leftover bad habit from my chubby girl days. Thoughts like: this is your fault for not making your workouts a priority; you need to step up your game; and you’re letting everyone down.
It’s easy to have a healthy perspective on losing weight and inches when you’re doing just that – losing. But, it is much more difficult to step back when you have your setbacks. Nevertheless, successful weight loss surgery is not just about rebuilding your body, it is also about reworking your mind. (If it wasn’t, then we would all just go back to our bad habits and gain weight despite our much smaller stomach pouches.) The common theme in many success stories I have heard is a complete life change, and that includes our bad habits of beating ourselves up.
Yes, it does suck that I haven’t lost weight this week, but that does NOT mean I am a failure – in fact, I have ample evidence to the contrary. Since surgery I have lost 46.8 pounds, which is more than elephant’s heart weights. I have also dominated at crossfit on multiple occasions, ran for 25 minutes without stopping, fit into jeans 2 sizes smaller, and had the courage to buy a sexy bikini for vacation, which I will be rocking whether or not I’m in onderland! We have to remember to recognize and celebrate our non-scale victories, especially when we have setbacks on the scale. We also have to trust that this is a journey, and while it may be filled with both successes and setbacks, all of our hard work will be worth it as we will eventually achieve our goals. Because in the end, sometimes the sky really isn’t falling… sometimes, we have to take a deep breath and remember that it is just an acorn.