I saw this sign on a hardware store window today. I was driving to a presentation, or I would have taken a picture. It made me laugh at first, and then it reminded me of something that was shared in one of my groups recently.
It was about magic. Some people think weight loss happens magically. One day the scale is up, the next it’s down, and the wavering seems to have nothing to do with their effort. That’s wonderful when 4 or 5 pounds just disappear, as if the Weight Loss Fairy made a sweep with her magic wand, and POOF! . . . the scale goes down so effortlessly.
Unfortunately the magic giveth and the magic taketh away. The same can – and does – happen in reverse. How aggravating when you follow all the rules and the scale goes UP!
Magic is like a key that really doesn’t work. Maybe you can wiggle and fidget with it to make it work once in a while, but it is undependable. Who needs a key that only works, say, in dry weather? In the rain, the lock swells up and you are left standing outside getting drenched.
Let me give you a couple of helpful guiding principles about sustainable weight loss, and about the scale. This may be disappointing at first, but the overall message is positive.
Magic doesn’t work for real weight loss that lasts. Disappointing, isn’t it? Accepting this means letting go of magical thinking about weight loss drugs, magic formulas, eye of newt (or eye of round!) . . . anything that sounds too good to be true.
Here’s another downer: The scale is not an accurate measure of your progress unless you only consider longer time frames as valid. Frequent weigh-ins can seem like magic tricks happening before your eyes, not dependable feedback on what is working and what is not. The trouble with scales is that they weigh parts of you that fluctuate faster than your fat stores (water, food in your digestive tract, etc.). Without enough time to see a real trend, this just will not always seem logical.
Think of an effective plan as a key – one that works (causes fat loss). This may not be obvious every time you weigh yourself, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working. It is still unlocking the door, if you know what I mean – it is slowly removing fat from your body.
Now imagine that you think the key doesn’t work. You don’t push it into the lock far enough or turn it in the right direction, or it’s one of those keys that just needs a little finesse. You may give up and look for a new key when the one you have really is working just fine. If you think your weight loss plan is not working, this can play out as a binge – “What the heck! It doesn’t matter anyway. This is not working.”
Now for the good news! Once you let go of the false hope that comes with such undependable and unpredictable weight loss tactics and measures of success, you can truly begin to make progress.
You want a key made for you – yes, specifically for YOU – and you want it to work dependably. If it does, you will see improvements over time. They will show up as improved energy, strength, mood, and even lost weight if that is your goal. If it appears that logic is slipping temporarily, keep trying the same plan for a while. There may be nothing wrong with it.
Sometimes a new key really is needed. If you hit a long plateau and nothing has happened for several weeks, it might mean that your plan needs a little tweak, but not necessarily. Make sure you are really still following your plan. In other words, are you still trying the same key in the lock, or is it one that just looks similar? (Have you become a little lazy with your plan?) This is understandable as time goes by. Just as lots of keys look alike, a small food portion can also “grow” without being obvious.
New keys are always available if you need one, but remember to choose carefully. It is so disappointing to get home and discover that it just doesn’t fit.