So I threw all my weight into the process. I spent hours reading everything I could about weight loss. I used success stories I found in the MyFitnessPal app community blogs for motivation. In fact, I learned a lot about weighing foods and how to track my progress from those boards. I never made my own posts but I crept along, snatching little tips where I could and trying them out for myself.
If I had to pick one thing that was most important to my weight loss, I would say tracking. Tracking food, activity, and how much weight I was losing motivated me. I didn’t just love the results, I loved the process. I can say without hesitation that I could not have done this if I had not been data-driven.
I’ve brought up the mobile applications I use before, such as MyFitnessPal and Samsung Health, but there is another app I use called Libra. This is a special app and I think it has done the most to help me emotionally. The app is used to track your weight over time. Most people think of their weight as a fixed thing. I weigh X number of pounds etc. But the truth is that weight is not static. Trying stepping on a scale, recording the number, then drink 16 ounces of water. Get back on the scale and see if your weight has not gone up around 1 pound.
Humans are in a constant flux of metabolic activities. Our weight responds to how much we’ve had to eat and drink. In fact, if you consume a high-carbohydrate meal, you may find that you are extra thirsty. That’s because the body requires extra water to process and store carbohydrates. Your weight will go up, only to drop within a few days as the body burns up the fuel. This process often stymies people who are in the early days and months of exercise programs because it seems that the harder they work, the more they gain (more on this great article in later posts).
For myself, I always wanted to see a drop in that magic scale number. If I had stayed the same, or somehow gained weight, I was a complete failure. Understanding that my weight was not a fixed number, but a range, really helped ease the emotional aspect of stepping on the scale. I could afford to be up a little or stay the same, as long as my overall trend was weight loss. Libra makes that possible by calculating your weight data over time and smoothing out the bumps.
An additional benefit to data-driven weight loss is that it helps separate the clinical aspects of weight loss from the emotional. Or, it did for me anyway. I was not a bad person because my weight went up after an indulgent slice of chocolate cake. I didn’t need to just give up because my scale flashed a high number. It gave me the space to say my body is complex and that so long as a make good efforts most of the time, I will see some success. And so far that has been true. Creating the distance between what is happening physically and emotionally was critical for me, especially in those early days when everything seemed to ride on what would happen when my feet hit that scale.
Next week I hope to share a little more about the emotional process and how much and little I’ve changed!