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Today is weight-loss Saturday and the first post couldn’t come at a more opportune time. As I have noted before, it isn’t always easy to stay on track with a healthy eating and exercising lifestyle, especially when busy. Sometimes you are just off track for a meal or two, sometimes it turns into a few days, and other times you find yourself still struggling after more than a week.
After losing a great deal of weight, some people become obsessive about the number on the scale. Afraid of gaining all the weight back, they keep a close eye—weighing themselves every single day—afraid their weight will start to creep. When it does (because fluctuation is completely normal) they restrict their calorie intake or work out extra hard. While working out to make up for a particularly indulgent meal or dessert isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the obsession with the scale is. For that reason a lot of fitness experts and bloggers alike recommend staying away from the scale and calorie counting and focusing more on living a balanced lifestyle, including regular exercise and nutritious foods.
While there is something to be said for the natural weight loss or maintenance (depending where you are) that will come with truly balanced living, not everyone who has lost a great deal of weight is at a place where they can keep it off without some sort of accountability. How does a person like this manage to stay on track without becoming obsessive about the number on the scale? What’s more, how is that person to react if they do put on a few pounds or find themselves retaining water and unable to fit into a pair of jeans?
It is never fun to have to dig to the back of the closet and pull out the pair of jeans that is a size larger. Nothing can ruin a day faster than ill-fitting clothes and feeling fat. It may even feel like nothing at all has been accomplished, even if the larger jeans are several sizes smaller than the person wore a year before. It’s funny how our minds play tricks on us and what we can twist in our heads to mean failure.
I’ve spoken recently about why the all-or-nothing approach can leave us feeling like failures and how we should focus on our small victories, but that’s easier said than done. That said, it is important to do what works best for you in order to be healthy and happy. If the best way for you to manage your weight is to track your calories, then do it. Just remember to keep your target calories at a healthy level and that you’re getting adequate nutrition. If you need to weigh yourself or take your measurements to stay motivated, then do it. Just make sure that you aren’t considering yourself healthy/unhealthy or attractive/unattractive based on those numbers. They are just one indication of health, and arguably not the most important.
Whether you’re looking to just get started losing weight or you’re getting back on track after some backsliding or a plateau, the most important thing is to find a balance somewhere between being too hard on yourself and letting yourself get away with things. Find a way to stay accountable, but don’t think it’s the end of the world if you don’t hit your goals right away.
It took more than a day to put the weight on, it will take more than a day to get it off. Don’t get discouraged, just keep on fighting.