To buy or not to buy… a bathroom scale

I do not have a bathroom scale.  I did have one but my old roommate accidentally took it in the last move.  So now I have no way of measuring the number I seem to base all of my hopes and dreams on.  Dr. Oz, as well as other random sources on the oh-so-trustworthy internet, say that weighing yourself is an excellent way to keep up motivation and be more successful at dieting and losing weight.  And I have to admit, watching that number steadily go down, with wedding photos on the horizon, seems very attractive.  Assuming, of course, I can get that number to go down.

Unfortunately, as I have been trying to get into a healthier mental state regarding how I view my body, I have been reading books by Geneen Roth.  And in her newest one called Women, Food and God she brought to my attention a study done by UCLA in 2007.  This study concluded that 83% of people who go on diets gain all the weight back and more and as a result, are even worse off then people who never went on diets in the first place.  I looked up the study to read it for myself and they say quite bluntly “diets don’t work.”

Now I have heard this phrase before.  The first time was over 11-12 years ago as I was watching a video that came with Suzanne Somers’ Somersizing kit.  Dressed as a private detective, she explained to her mystery client that the reason he could never keep the weight off was because dieting doesn’t work.  Then she went on to highlight all the ins and outs of the somersizing “eating plan.”  For some reason, the idea of “diets are bad” didn’t really sink in.

Back to my bathroom scale conundrum, should I buy a mechanism that will motivate me to partake in a practice that is 83% likely to be futile and most likely harm me both physically and mentally?  No, probably not.  I still want to but the logical part of my brain is telling me I should avoid the weight-loss corner of Walgreens for a while, say… forever.

But I am still confused.  What is the difference between a diet and an “eating plan”?  I suppose one is supposed to last forever and the other does not (eating plan = lifestyle change).  But how does that translate into action?

“Eat more veggies”  But they’re expensive and don’t last long.

“Everything in moderation”  This one drives me crazy.  What does moderation even mean!?  A dietitian once told me that it isn’t good to eat nothing but chocolate cake for dinner, but it isn’t good to eat nothing but broccoli either.  OK…  awesome, thanks.  And the perfect meal is somewhere between those two extremes?  Where?  I mean, she made an excellent point but in between broccoli and chocolate cake there are a lot of foods, and quantities of said foods, and things get hazy again. (I only met with her once.  She is the dietitian who told me I was a big girl and had to learn to live with it.  I never went back.)

“calories in vs. calories out”  Alright, somewhat true.  But where those calories come from does make a difference.  Everyone needs fat and protein, vitamins and minerals.  Not every calorie is processed the same or provide the same nutritional benefits.  And is counting calories considered a diet or is it a lifestyle change I’ll have to do for the rest of my life?

It is so overwhelming.  Over a year ago my doctor did tell me she would like to see me lose some weight and I’m pretty sure, even without a scale, that I have gone up a couple of pounds since then.  But what changes can I implement without going into that dark place that is dieting and self-loathing?  Matt and I were at the grocery store last night trying to find something for dinner that was fast, healthy and reasonably priced.  And for the life of me I did not know what to do.  I literally wandered the aisles in a fog, my gaze drifting over colors and words, packages and marketing ploys.  And I kept thinking, what should I eat?  If only I didn’t have to eat anything, this would be so much easier.  Of all the diets I’ve tried and food knowledge I’ve accumulated… why don’t I know what to do?

And then I realized what I wanted.  I wanted to put something beautiful into my body.  Something with vibrant, natural color and tastiness that made me feel good just thinking about eating it.  Ruby jeweled pomegranate seeds, deep green and purple lettuce leaves, impossibly small, delicate couscous granules and flaky, pink salmon.  Something gorgeous that made me feel gorgeous.

I didn’t find it last night.  I ended up eating leftover pizza, though I did track what I ate on the fitbit website (I’m not sure if I should be or not but I have been keeping track of my food occasionally).  And I savored that slice of pizza and I followed it with Chobani strawberry greek yogurt.

Even though I didn’t find what I was looking for, I think I am a step closer to figuring out what changes I want to make.  Changes that will make me happy and appreciative of who I am, where I am and what I eat.  And letting my happiness factor into my lifestyle choices is definitely a new approach for me.

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