What to do when you aren't seeing progressSep 30, 2022
Have you been making changes with your family? Changing your own diet, exercise, or sleep routines?
And you’re waiting, wondering… where is the progress?
I had this same thing happen with a client recently. She was experimenting with her own meals, finding that when she switched a few ingredients, she felt so much better. In her case, it was gluten - she removed it, and felt less bloating. And everybody knows that any bloating is a PITA, so that was awesome.
She was enjoying the last few weeks of summer with her kids, staying active at the pool and hiking.
And then she lamented. "But where is the weight loss?"
- If I could just lose 5 pounds, I could see that I was making progress.
- If I could just lose 5 pounds, I could feel better.
- If I could just lose 5 pounds, it would be so much better.
- If I could just…. I would feel better about myself.
- …I would know I’m doing it right.
We’ve been taught to look for objective evidence - facts, numbers, data.
And we are emotionally holding ourselves hostage to the numbers.
What does that mean?
We treat ourselves like crap because we’re not seeing the progress points that we’ve set for ourselves.
We are looking for the end-point: weight loss, weight change, weight stabilization.
But what we miss when we focus on the endpoint is all of the change - the progress - that we are making upstream of the weight change.
Other signs of progress you could choose:
- What have you learned about what works for your body?
- What are you learning about how different foods make you hungrier in a short amount of time, versus ones that satisfy?
- Where are you finding FUN, joy, connection, adventure - with food, activity and others?
- How are you taking better care of yourself?
- How are you NOT beating yourself up over the scale?
All of these things quite honestly need to change in order to have a lifelong healthier relationship with your body. Weight loss alone tells us nothing about what went into it.
And if you’re just jonesing to get to the 5lb loss…. What happens when you get there?
(Spoiler: there’s always something else: more weight to lose, another part of our body that we want to focus on and change. We are knee-deep in this shit on hating our bodies as they are right now.)
Be mindful of what you’re calling progress, especially when it’s something you do not have direct control over (meaning, weight/BMI). There are many factors that go into weight – just like you could eat something amazing, decadent and not necessarily see the change on the scale; but as soon as we start changing what we eat, cutting portions - don’t we expect to see the numbers on the scale dropping?!?
What about looking at the rest of the progress?
The habits you are creating and practicing – the way you’re sleeping, eating, moving, and talking to yourself?
That takes practice.
To stop looking at the scale for evidence of progress - and validation – that takes a ton of practice.
And it’s so worth it. Because progress could mean not judging your worth or your progress off of what the scale says.
Instead, what progress are you making in treating yourself lovingly? Nourishing with sleep, water, food, movement, and connection? Loving yourself at every weight?
There’s no hard numbers to measure on that – but it makes it no less worthy of an outcome.
Our emotional health is even more important than the numbers on the scale.
And we can find progress all along the way.
Check out the Family in Focus with Wendy Schofer, MD Podcast!
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