I've been doing Flylady for a few years now to help me keep my house clean. Today I read a letter she wrote about how people need tools to accomplish what they are trying to do. In this case she was talking about a timer.
But it got me thinking about something else. I'm a person who has lost weight on Atkins only to screw up and start to gain it back, then I tend to become frustrated with myself and find I'm beating myself up and then because of hating how I feel, I give up all together. It's called "perfectionism".
The feelings of disappointment in myself tend to lead to feelings of failure which tend to lead to abandonment of the goal. To that feeling of "who am I kidding? I can't do this perfectly!"
I realize with a part of my mind that we don't have to be absolutely perfect 100% of the time to make it work. If we are good 80% of the time and only occasionally have a relapse we can still lose the weight.
But still this morning when I got up after screwing up yesterday, I had the thought as I went into the bathroom to weigh "I screwed up badly yesterday, I'm going to pay for it today, the scale will be higher, I'll become discouraged, I'll mess up my weight for the week."
The tool I'm talking about is the weekly weight average chart I built using Excel. Since I can't easily give you a picture of it I will describe it.
On the left is the dates the weeks cover in this week's case it would say:June 10-16. At the top of each of the next seven columns would be Sunday, Monday Tuesday etc. Every day I weigh myself and input the numbers into that day's column. At the top of the next column is the words "weekly weight average" This is a math column. It adds up all the weights from the previous 7 columns and then divides by the number of entries giving the average weight for the week. The final column does a subtraction between last week's average and this week's average. This tells me how much weight on average I've lost since last week.
Now here is the neat part. This morning when I got up, I was mad at myself over yesterday. I started yesterday out really well, I was sticking to Atkins was in ketosis, was doing fine. But then toward the evening, I accidentally found some chocolate that I had bought before I started back on Atkins. I ate way too much of it!
When I got up this morning I figured the scale would be WAY up. I figured it would totally blow my weekly weight not to mention what it did to my daily weigh in.
But the marvelous thing about the weight averaging thing is that although when I got on the scale it was up from yesterday's weight by a half a pound, when I inputed that increased number and pushed enter my average weight for the week actually went DOWN!
I went from having lost 1.5 pounds for the week, to having lost 1.7 pounds for the week, all from entering a weight that was a half pound higher!
THIS is the kind of tool I've needed all along. Something that will keep me encouraged and still wanting to keep on trying even on days when I screw up badly!
The disadvantage (or maybe it is really an advantage) to the tool is that it doesn't measure the extremes. For instance there was a day last week when I weighed 5.5 pounds higher than I did this morning. That was an unusual day and my weight was extra high that day, but if I went by that extreme rather than the average, I would be saying "I lost 6 pounds" that is I would be saying that yesterday. Today it would be only 5.5 pounds. The going backwards rather than the progress made would be a discouragement rather than an encouragement.
Mind games. I find that sometimes we need mind games to keep us going in the face of this difficult journey we have ahead of us. But in reality, most of us fluxuate up and down on a day to day basis in weight anyway. This really does seem to be a more accurate way of looking at our weight and our weight loss journey. I'm pleased that it had the effect of making me want to keep trying and of encouraging me rather than making me continue to feel discouraged.
If anyone has Excel and would like a copy of the spreadsheet I made, you can email me and I'll forward it to you. You may have to private message me to give me your email address.