At one point in my health journey I had become obsessed with my weight. I had lost 205 pounds, more than half of my starting body weight, yet I felt that I still had more to lose. I pushed myself over the next several months, weighing myself daily (okay, sometimes twice), watching every single calorie that came into my body. I managed to lose another 5 pounds bringing me to 194 pounds, my lowest adult body weight. However, my eating disorder was getting out of control the more I pushed, and my metabolism was wrecked. I hit the wall after almost a year and a half.
I had lost quite a bit of muscle mass with my weight loss. I felt weak in my upper body and my friends and family kept telling me, “Don’t get too skinny!” I remember how that use to make me so mad when people said that to me. I sometimes responded, “You’re worried about me getting too skinny, where were you when I was over 400 pounds?!” Looking back I can see I was in denial about how much weight I had lost. I was most likely experiencing body dysmorphia.
I remember I was riding home from work when I told my wife it was time for me to stop my plan for a bit. I was in tears as I told her that I was scared to death that I would lose everything that I worked so hard to do. But I also knew that I couldn’t go on pushing myself any longer without a break.
For 2 weeks I stopped tracking my food intake and stopped all exercise except for my walks during my work lunchtime. The first day or so was hard mentally, but I persisted. I even went to a Chinese buffet and ate whatever I wanted (within reason). I knew this was dangerous for a person like me with a binge eating disorder, but it was something I had been craving.
During the break I did a lot of thinking about my next steps afterwards. This was the critical point where most people fail: Not planning for the long-term. From the beginning I knew at some point I was going to reach my goal weight and have to some toning and building. So I wrote out a body building plan with some help from a friend. He also reminded me, “Buddy, you have to eat more when you’re building.” As you can imagine, I was a bit apprehensive about that.
I bought protein supplements and began my new routine. I gained weight quickly, both muscle and fat… I didn’t want to stop weight lifting, so I read up on techniques body builders use to build muscle and cut fat. I experimented with intermittent fasting and carb cycling, sometimes losing weight, but quickly gaining it back when I stopped the cycles. It was getting monotonous. Soon it became a living hell for me again, checking my weight often, and kicking myself each time I realized I was gaining.
Many people were amazed to find out that I wasn’t happy after losing all of that weight. Most of them cannot even imagine what it is like to try to maintain it.
At some point I met some people involved in the Health At Every Size movement. I did a lot of reading on the subject and began to realize that it was far more important for me to be healthy overall than worrying about reaching a perfect body and weight. Also around this time a lot of press came out about contestants from the Biggest Loser gaining weight back after the show. Reading up more on the subject I wrote an article of my own called, “The Biggest Loser Effect: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back“. Back then my focus was more on the fact that I believed that many of the contestants had not changed their lifestyles after losing all of the weight. Fact or not for them, I was struggling too.
So I decided that I needed to stop struggling altogether. Weighing myself and being disappointed was stressing me out every day. I needed to:
Stop Chasing The Scale!
So I stopped weighing myself and continued to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Some of my smaller clothes got a little tighter, partially because I gained some fat, but I was also getting a lot more muscle mass from the body building. Freeing myself from the scale was such a relief. Most of all, I feel better now.
I admit that I am still frustrated with some of the fat around my abdomen, some of which may be skin leftover from years of morbid obesity, but over time I am getting accepting that it is not worth all of the stress to try to get rid of it. I am extremely fit overall, eating healthy and getting regular exercise almost every day.
I have said it since the beginning that this is a health journey and I continue to learn more each day. At one point in my life all I could think about was losing all of the weight and being normal. I had no idea all of the things I would experience along the way, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. With a lot of hard work and introspection we can become free from the prisons we created for ourselves. True happiness comes from within, not from the world around us.
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2 thoughts on “I Stopped Chasing The Scale”
I’m so proud of my awesome son! I’m thrilled that he saved his life by going on this tremendous journey. So many of us live to eat…. He has changed that slogan to,
Eating to live!