Returning from Zambia/Washington DC, I vowed to get my life back on more of a "regular" schedule. It may be just my personal outlook, but spending a month sipping (draining?) g&t's and inhaling carbohydrates is more therapeutic than healthy. So, upon returning home, I made a conscious effort to eat better, take some more challenges classes at the gym (spin, zumba, etc) and hopefully, lose a little weight.
Initially, I was pretty excited. I arrived home energized, loving my new classes. I felt strong, capable, empowered. It didn't matter that I didn't know the steps. I danced in between a barefoot pregnant woman and an octogenarian. They didn't care; I didn't care. My butt didn't look as good as the guy in the spandex pants during spin class, but what did it matter? I was sweating too much. And I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time.
I thought for SURE that my new found joy would find its translation on the scale.
So, what did it matter? Why was I so upset by this? I still had access to the sauna. That dude in the spandex pants' butt still looked pretty good.
But I began noticing (re-realizing?) that I am a terrible dancer. The spin instructor plays Coldplay - for everything, even the uphill parts (seriously? who gets energized by "Yellow"?) Then it snowed. I got a blister. Who can haul themselves to the gym when the couch is such an appealing option?
"What is the point?" I groused to a friend, "If I watch what I eat, I stay the same. If I eat whatever I want, I stay the same. I'm staying on the couch."
My friend replied not unsympathetically: "What are you doing trying to lose weight during the Holidays anyways? Do you like being set up for disappointment?"
During one particularly snowy weekend on the couch, I rented a documentary entitled "America: The Beautiful". It was about the extreme lengths that American women go to - from plastic surgery to injecting ourselves with known poisons. The lose storyline followed a young girl, a super-model at 12 who by 14 was CONVINCED she was ugly. At six feet tall, pug-nosed, blue eyed, dark skinned, she is the closest thing to 'gazelle-like' I can imagine. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch.
As I put two-and-two together, I realize that its not the scale's fault that I've begun a long-term relationship with my couch. We all start out so blissfully unaware - of our beauty, our capability, even our joy. Then someone or something comes along and we let it tell us otherwise.
And I don't like being told what to do. Even (especially?) by inanimate objects.
Reverse self-psychologizing? You bet.
I'm not about to run out and replace my diet with candy and fried chicken (fried chicken candy? am I onto something here?) but I'm through beating myself up over an inanimate object. I enjoyed Christmas and all its offerings, guilt-free. I am not in danger of becoming morbidly obese from some Dove chocolates. Especially in the "post-Christmas" season when every commercial makes it sound like you're one step away from the Biggest Loser, I think its important to keep reminding ourselves of this.
Do what you love. At the risk of riffing from Michael Pollan's tagline brevity; "eat some, move some more, mostly cardio."
Tonight I went to the gym and ignored the scale like all the cat hair in my car. Tomorrow, I will be back dancing next to that barefoot pregnant woman.
Then I will have chex-mix for dinner.
///and be allllllright.