Math is not my thing. Like barely passed high school algebra, math for the liberal arts in college, still use a calculator for simple math - not my thing. I remember coming home with a D on my report card; head hanging, anxiety inducing, heart pounding out of my chest, cold sweat covered failure. It's not a feeling I ever wanted to recreate. But I did. I recreated it again and again, on my own, as an adult. The calories burned, the grams of proteins, fats and carbs counted and even my beloved Fitbit.. report cards at the end of the day determining whether I passed or failed; determining whether I was good or bad.
There's a big difference between guilt and shame; guilt says 'I did a bad thing' and shame says 'I am bad'. Shame hits hard and holds you down. Some people may even be under the impression that shame can "keep you in line", that those numbers "keep you in line" but what shame really does it hold you down. I let go of watching how many calories I burned and counting macronutrients or calories that I ate a long time ago but I was convinced that I loved my fitbit and that the community was helpful. I'm going to tread lightly here because I still love fitbit and I do believe they are helpful... until they're not.
My son had a stomach bug and for two days we did nothing but lay around; for the mom of an active 1.5 year old it was actually kind of nice to get to just lay around with him again but every hour I got a little ping telling me I just didn't do enough. For every parent that has ever had a sick child, you know that if you got through the day... you did enough. About a week later my parents gifted me with a new watch and my first reaction was 'what about my fitbit?!' but it was a nice gift and I decided to give it a week and see if I prefered this watch over my fitbit. At the end of day one my decision was made and I was choosing freedom.
That first evening when I laid down I didn't have a report card so I checked in with myself. How did I feel? Good. Did I workout today? Yes. Did I get up at least once an hour to move around while I was working? Yes. Water? Check. Happy? Check. I already had all of the answers and information I needed. And so do you.
Food logging started as a way to help people determine allergies and food sensitivities, a way of figuring out what foods work with your body and make you feel good. We've turned it into another report card. Another way to tell us we are either bad or good. Is it a coincidence that the more weightloss resources we're provided with the unhealthier we become? I'm not sure how much of a role it's played but I know it's playing one. The obesity rate is climbing and so is depression, and West Virginia sits in the top 5 for both. I believe that psychology is a major contributing factor in our overall health and fitness.
Instead of creating habits dependant on something that can fool us with numbers we should create mindful habits. When is the last time you ate a meal without distraction? Sitting down to eat sans tv, phones, talking, etc will teach you more about food than tracking it ever will. What if you felt exactly like you do now and the scale said the number you wanted? Would it matter? What if you did the best workout of your life and you knew it to be true because your body let you know? Your body was beautifully and miraculously designed, it knows what to do even when you don't, spend a little more time listening to it. It doesn't matter what the numbers on your watch, food log, or scale say if you feel good inside your body. No one knows what my report cards looked like, but they can see the degree hanging on the wall. Food for thought, pun intended.
Sweat & Smiles,