tough love

by MrsFatass on March 17, 2014

I’m back at MyFitnessPal. I’ve said for years that when I track, I lose. But I have just never made myself keep up with tracking. Usually it’s because of an off day. How does one even log 6 beers and a bag of Ruffles without feeling like a total loser? But I’ve been doing some things over the last few months that really made me ready to get back at the weight loss game. For example, I gave up beer for Lent. Which, as you may notice, happens during March, and if you’ve been reading here for any length of time at all means you are astounded that I gave up my favorite beverage during my favorite month to drink it while watching my favorite team play my favorite sport.

Yeah. I’m as surprised as you. But what can I say? If, when giving something up for Lent, you’re supposed to pick something that causes you some discomfort, well, no beer during March Madness was the way to go for me.

It hasn’t been truly horrible. But it’s been a challenge. And in the bigger picture of some of the things I’m getting in order in my life, it made sense to do it.

So, tracking.

In the last five days I’ve tracked everything. Four of the five days I was at or below the calorie goal generated by the app. One of the five days I tracked a basketball Saturday, complete with a couple vodka and sodas and an unfortunate incident with a bag of Hint of Lime chips. And this morning, like I do every Monday morning, I stepped on the scale, ready to see an improvement. However, I was up. A lot. SIX POUNDS.

Okay, so before you all reach for your keyboards to write your loving messages of muscle gain, water retention, and get rid of your scale, I thank you, but please don’t. Because I have not gained muscle in 5 days and I am not going to get rid of my scale. It’s just not going to happen. And while I know there are many of you out there who have struggled with disordered eating, and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect, my opinion based on my own experience is that my scale has only as much power as I give it.  A scale is a tool just like a measuring cup or My Fitness Pal. One tool of many that can help a person lose weight.

One of the reasons I’ve slowed down writing about my actual weight loss journey here is that I have grown very tired of the sort of PC, everyone-gets-a-trophy attitude in the weight loss world. I’m tired of hearing people apologize (or worse yet, hide) for drinking the occasional Diet Coke. I’m tired of food politics. I’m tired of people saying they can’t seem to lose weight even though they have fancy pedometers or apps or HRMs or scales or other gadgets, and I’m tired of people saying they can’t lose weight because they don’t have them. I’m tired of defending my use of words like Fat, Diet, Deprive or Scale and I’m tired of people expecting to be able to eat burritos and chili cheese fries and pints of Ben and Jerry’s and still wonder why they feel like shit and aren’t losing weight, even when they are staying within some calorie guideline.

I’m tired of hearing the same excuses over and over again, of people doing the same exact things and expecting a different result, of trying to give people an honest answer about how to lose weight/get healthier/be stronger, only to see their eyes glaze over because the answer isn’t easy. It’s not a gimmick or a trick or a potion. It’s not a fiber pill that expands in your stomach to leave less room for actual food.

Losing weight does mean denying yourself certain things. It is saying no to second helpings. It’s preparing a healthy meal even when you’re tired or not in the mood to cook. It’s getting up early to work out in your living room or walking through your neighborhood even though it’s cold outside and your bed is warm and your family is still sound asleep. Sometimes it’s just about putting the damn fork down and stepping away from the table.

It would be so easy if we only ate when we were hungry. If we only ate to fuel our bodies. If there weren’t all of these other urges and emotions attached to the process of eating. I’m not so naiive to think that is reality. Food is comfort and entertainment and stress relief and celebration and all kinds of things that have nothing to do with actual physical hunger. I get that.

And during the process of weight loss, these other issues surface. Sometimes our actual goal might not even be weight loss. Maybe, as we peel the onion, we find out that what we really want to do is to fix these underlying problems.

And sometimes we use these underlying problems as justification for stopping when it gets hard.

And part of the reason why I’ve laid off of writing about my own weight loss journey is because there is always someone who will help me justify my stops. Somebody will understand my plight and just encourage me to get back on the horse tomorrow. Somebody will always blame my unreliable scale, my time of the month, or the ever popular “it’s muscle gain” over saying “well, if you want to lose weight, then why did you eat that plate of fried chicken?”

Once in a while we NEED that. Once in a while we NEED our people to be our soft place to fall. But sometimes reaching out to support somebody else who has failed gives us our own permission to let go of the reins when it feels too hard.

This June I am honored to be a speaker at Fitbloggin’ 14 in Savannah alongside Steve, and together we are going to talk about FitBlogger Tough Love. As a blogger for the past 5 years who is still trying to take off the same weight today that I set out to lose when I wrote my first word, I have a lot of experience in the fits and starts of healthy living. I’m excited to partner with Steve and facilitate some serious, raw, and honest discussion about the support of the fitness community, when it is instrumental to change, and when it actually just enables us to stay the same.

And in the meantime, if you’re a food logger too, come be my friend on MyFitnessPal!  

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla March 17, 2014 at 10:27 am

SaD FaCe I WoNt Be ThErE.
looking forward to the live blogging….

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Ivey March 17, 2014 at 10:52 am

I love you. I’m glad that you won’t (I hope) judge me in my PM last night….like you said…we all have our weak moments. Proud to call you my fran… XO

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deb roby March 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

I am an occasional food logger. I use it for information, I use it accountability. At the moment, I’m using it to try and make myself eat more calories so I can lose weight.

I will NOT use MFP. EVER.

First, I started with some website about 12 years ago and that had my data… I’ve used CaloriesCounter (android) and LoseIt (apple) since. I truly detest the message you get from MFP at the end of a day (if you eat like this all the time….). So while I join you in the accountability that tracking provides, I won’t be your friend.

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Gail March 17, 2014 at 11:08 am

I like to say that while I’m losing weight, certain foods are “not conducive to weight loss.” Foods that are perfectly healthy and delicious but things that don’t help me personally lose weight, like {sniff, sniff} dark chocolate. And, YAY! I’m all for tough love. I see people’s pics on Facebook, of the “foods not conducive to weight loss,” and I think to myself “I don’t care if you know how many Points they are; 8 Points of special healthy cookies are not the same as 8 Points of turkey breast!”

And I will totally be at your FitBloggin’ talk!

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Steve March 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Plate of fried chicken, you mean everyone else doesn’t eat the whole damn bucket?! :P

I’m really excited about this talk, by the way. I kind of feel that the total honesty and tough love have been sorely lacking. We’ve all become good friends and don’t want to hurt each others feelings, but sometimes you really do just have to put it out there.

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Jen March 18, 2014 at 8:03 am

But booze and chips build muscle!

Seriously, though, salt and alcohol could easily cause massive water retention. That’s not political correctness.

I’m struggling with accountability vs. not wanting to hear stupid comments on my blog. Like, of course if I cut out all carbs and lived on celery, I could lose, but who wants to live like that?

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Michelle Rogers March 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I absolutely agree with you. I am the same way: when I track I lose, when I don’t I am susceptible to gaining. I also use MyFitnessPal when I’m tracking.

I feel “tough love” for people when it comes to working out. It irks me to hear people say they don’t have time to work out, or worse yet — “didn’t feel like it today.” The only reason I have been successful with losing 60 lbs. and keeping it off for over 5 years now (after a lifetime of failure) is because I get my ass up every morning and work out. Every day. Whether I feel like it or not is irrelevant. If I only went to my job when I “felt like it” I’d be unemployed. I have learned the hard way that healthy eating and fitness works on this same principle. It really is a matter of making it a priority, being consistent and creating good habits.

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Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me March 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm

It’s funny because I stopped using MFP and was actually sad when I got your request because MFP just does NOT work for me. Tracking at all doesn’t. It messes with my head and it took me a long time to realize that just because it worked for someone else BLAH BLAH BLAH.

I love you. I love Steve. But I don’t know if I’ll be at your talk because I don’t even know what I’m doing for the rest of today and planning my Fitbloggin schedule is so FAR AWAY.

I expect a private presentation in the room.

Which sounds dirty. But I don’t mean it to be.

So, YAY!

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Robby March 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I need to food log as well…
and not just log but MEASURE.

I’ve been ravenous and not paying attention to what i’m eating, and well… I know the results.

So… i’m with you…

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Danielle Hughes March 20, 2014 at 4:54 am

You know, you are 100% right. Why DO we always say the “right thing” and comfort when sometimes we need a kick in the rear and have someone say “then stop eating junk if you wanna lose weight!” Nobody actually has the ‘nads to do this for fear of offending. Personally I prefer to be told the truth rather than have people sugar coat and “sooth” me for not having lost anything.

Good luck and congrats on your speaking engagement in June. Wish I could be there, but well the pond is large and the funds are small. So I hope you will keep those of us who can’t attend up to date here? :)

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Valerie March 26, 2014 at 5:22 pm

LOVE this, and wish I could be at your talk at FitBloggin’. I know it will kick ass.

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Lisa May 15, 2014 at 11:24 pm

oh I love this post! I want to hug it (you?) through the screen!
I look forward to the FitBloggin’ recaps—wish I could be there in person!

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