…in the long run…
I don’t do well with number driven goals when it concerns my health or my weight. Numbers are something of a nemesis for me in the long run. I become obsessed by the number and I can lose focus on anything but the number, whether that number is an “ideal” weight or a number of pounds to lose by a certain date, etc.
Every time I try to do that, I end up doing things that are not good for me, just to reach the goal. I stop eating. I hurt myself by working out wrong or excessively or when I haven’t had enough food/sleep. I drink far too much caffeine and stop sleeping. All for the sake of some number that I’ve randomly chosen or has been handed to me by my doctor.
And I come from a data analysis background. I know numbers. I like quantitative things. I like being able to track progress and feel that sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal. There’s pride in that.
Right now in my life, in my fight with my diabetes, I am very about numbers out of need. I test my blood sugar 4 times per day. I chart the results (yes, I am THAT geek), both on individual charts for each time of the day, and overall on a chart that puts all four readings on one page.
It’s a frustrating fight, because on the one side I have to focus on those numbers and what drives them…but on the other I am keenly aware of the fact that my brain has this switch inside it that can go “See, we didn’t eat lunch and the before dinner number is down below 150. If we don’t eat dinner, it will go down more.”
And of course, I know that isn’t true. The logical, rational side of my brain knows very well that it isn’t true, but that part of my brain isn’t always the one in charge. A lot of the times it’s that other side, the one who thinks “if we eat a whole pound of chicken, it’s okay. There’s no carbs in chicken.” and “The morning after I get ripped, my number is the lowest it’s ever been, I need to drink more.” and “If I lost ten pounds because I had the stomach flu and couldn’t eat, maybe I should just not eat today too. I could lose more.”
It isn’t rational. I know it isn’t, but for a fat chick like me, sometimes rational doesn’t matter. After all, I didn’t get to be this size because I was rational about food.
So…I know that I can not succumb to the pressure to set goals that will drive me to bad behavior. I see programs like “The Biggest Loser” (which I can not watch) and the “health” competitions it spawns and I turn the other way. The people I work with couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t join their little competition. Why? Because it had the killer of all bad behavior motivators, money.
I don’t need a diet. I don’t need a personal trainer who is going to scream at me and set impossible goals for me and thinks I’m just lazy if I can’t do what is asked of me. I don’t need to lose 100 pounds by Christmas or even 20 pounds by the end of July. I need to eat the foods that are good for me (and it might surprise some folks what that means). I need to move my fat ass every day. I need to focus on being healthy and happy.
I let my doctor weigh me when I see her, but that’s the only time I step on a scale. I test my blood sugar, but I’m not measuring my body parts and recording the minuscule changes. I set goals for my fitness in a way that doesn’t make me spiral out of control.
For right now those goals are to watch all of White Collar season 1. See, I have the episodes on my tablet and I take it with me to the gym. I set the timer for 42 minutes on the elliptical, the length of an episode, and if I can’t do the whole thing, that’s okay, I can finish the episode tomorrow.
So far, it’s been four days. The first day I actually couldn’t watch White Collar because there was something wrong with the tablet…but here on day four I’ve watched the pilot episode and episode two. And my reward for going to the gym and watching White Collar is that I get to come home and have a big, fresh salad filled with fresh veggies.
Four days and I already find I’m sleeping better and I have better energy to get through the day.
Fuck the numbers people. Stop letting the diet industry and a society that does not love you tell you what is good and right and healthy when they haven’t got a clue. Love yourself. Set goals that have nothing to do with numbers and stop punishing yourself when you don’t reach them.
I give you permission.