Perception is a Bitch

I woke up this morning, in a good mood and excited for the day to begin.  I was getting ready to go to a job that (on most days) I enjoy.  At lunch I was planning on going to the gym.  After work, there is the opportunity to spend time with friends that I love, followed by spending time with my boyfriend.  Today was going to be an AMAZING day!!!  Today was also um, weigh in day, I know, awesome, right?  Once a week I step on the scale to measure my results from the prior week.  I do this just once a week, no more than that.  I don’t obsess and dwell on it daily.  I have an alarm set that says weigh-in and that’s what I do.  So, this morning, my alarm goes off.  I dutifully pull out my trusty scales, sliding them to the same spot I weigh-in every week and climb on.  Four pounds up?!?!  WTH?  Really?  Four pounds?  What in God’s name did I do this week that chunked up four pounds?  I mean, did I eat a stick of butter every night.  Hell, even that wouldn’t have done it.  Maybe a gallon of ice cream, TOPPED with a stick of butter.  Oh no, wait, a gallon of ice cream, topped with BACON and a stick of butter on the side.  Four pounds?  Really?  OMG!  That’s like TWO kittens.  I go stomping around my room, packing my gear for the day.  I throw my stuff in my gym bag, thinking in the snippiest of voices, ‘four effing pounds, way to go, dumbass’.  Getting dressed—‘four pounds’.  I get in the car, close the door and think, ‘be careful not to slam those four extra pounds in the door’.

As I drive the extensive commute to work, which I complain about on most days, I notice that it has now become a mantra, ‘fourpoundsfourpoundsfourpoundsfourpounds’…..ugh!  Then I begin to think—not always a good thing but today, maybe it is.  I start to realize that before I stepped on those scales, I had already GAINED those four pounds, they were already there.  It’s not like they were hiding on my bookshelf like tiny little elven ninjas waiting to pounce the second I stepped on the scales.  They were already there.  The ONLY difference before and after I stepped on the scale was my KNOWLEDGE of that fact.  Did you know that bats have penises?  I didn’t!  I should have known, because they ARE mammals after all–flying, creepy mammals, but mammals nonetheless.  Yet, when visiting the zoo, and seeing them hang in their brazen glory, I was AMAZED at the fact that the little winged demons had penises.  Nothing changed, they ALWAYS had them, I just didn’t know it, yet the fact STILL amazes me sometimes. 

I was having a GREAT day before I knew about the four pounds, an amazing day.  Why would KNOWLEDGE of a fact that ALREADY existed make my day any worse.  The condition never changed, just my PERCEPTION of the condition.  Yeah, the knowledge that somehow I’ve picked up four pounds somewhere (and really, why couldn’t have been in the boob area?) is kind of like walking in on a parent naked.  No amount of eye-bleach will make that image go away.  At least now I know that some self-examination is required and this situation is very fixable.  Perception really is a bitch.  That bitch is goin’ down.

 

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It’s not a plateau if you’re slackin’

So, yeah.  I have a lot of friends, most of whom would say that I am pretty damn hard on myself.  In most cases, I would agree with them.  In this case, however, I would not.  As indicated in my weekly results, these past three weeks have been somewhat…lacking.  Each week, I would step on the scale, see the result, move the scale a foot and try again.  Unfortunately (ha!), my scale is really accurate and consistent.  The first week, I thought, okay, it’s okay, it happens to the best of us.  The second week, I was thinking, well at least it isn’t a gain.  The third week, I comforted myself with the fact that, hey, everyone plateaus once in a while, it’s all part of the journey, right?

Wrong!  I’m sure that for some people and maybe even me at some point, plateaus are a part of the journey.  The truth is, that in this case, it’s not a plateau at all, but a result of slacking in both my workouts and eating habits.  Dropping from 6 days a week at the gym to 5 and one week, there was only 4 days I went.  Taking the weekend off completely for three weeks.  One of those weekends I was out of town, but for the other two, there really was no excuse, not a REAL one anyone.  One weekend I was under the weather a little, and the other I was just ‘busy’.  Then when I would get to the gym, I would not stay as long as I usually did, and frankly, the weekends were my best days for going because I spend 2 hours there on that day.  Not pushing myself as hard on the elliptical or treadmill (I STILL hate those things).

I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating, not nearly policing myself the way I need to.  My natural tendency is carb heavy comfort foods, which actually make me miserable.  The problem is, my brain will say, “mmmmmmmmmm, more!” but my body is going, “Please, just stop.  You’re killin’ me!” The truth is, I am.

I ask myself, why do I do this?  People are starting to really compliment me on my appearance and size.  Men are starting to notice curves that were once buried in fat.  People at the gym come up and talk to me.  Even my boss has said he really respects what I’m doing.  I can walk two flights of steps and not be winded. I just bought the smallest pair of jeans I’ve bought in over 15 years.  So, why?  Why in the hell am I slacking now?  Everytime I have done something like this, it’s at this point that I start thinking I can just cruise, and I can’t.  I can’t and I’ve proven it time and time again with other weight loss programs.  So, why does my brain tell me, it’s alright baby, just put it on cruise control for a while and drive by the Cracker Barrel, they have some biscuits calling our name?

What makes this whole thing even more confusing is the fact that I actually ENJOY going to the gym.  I love it.  I love the free weights, I love pushing myself.  I love adding 5 more pounds.  I love trash talking the machines (yes, I do that).  I love the fact that I can actually feel my elbows.  Holy shit! I have elbows?!

Yes, plateaus can and may be a part of this journey.  In this case, that is not what is going on.  I have been slacking and using the plateau excuse is just bullshit.