In January I hosted a DietBet (lose weight, have fun, make money and BUILD COMMUNITY). Over half of my participants lost at least 4% of their body weight in just four weeks. Many of those needed to lose much more and were thrilled to find a group of motivating, encouraging and inspirational peers to share the journey with.
At their request, I decided to host a second weight loss game. Happy to continue providing a platform for positive lifestyle change and delighted to see so many people sharing their tips for curbing the munchies, fitting daily exercise in and getting back on the horse after a binge meal (or two).
Despite the success of this second game (44% of players met their weight loss goals; you guys rock!), I won’t be promoting a third anytime soon. This decision is not a reflection on the game itself (it clearly works for people who have significant weight to lose), but a personal decision on how hosting the game made me feel unhappy with my body.
You see, I not only hosted the games, I anted up and participated as well. Despite the fact that I didn’t (and don’t) really need to lose weight.
The act of stepping on the scales weekly (and being sent email reminders to ‘weigh myself more frequently to improve my chances of winning’) did a number on my head.
- It made me think that my body weight SHOULD be 4% less than it is (it stressed me out to not see the scale moving despite my very clean eating habits and almost daily visits to the gym)
- It made me consider taking extreme measures to cut calories (even though I know that caloric restriction undermines my attempts to gain muscle mass and makes me a very cranky female dog).
- It made me think back to all the different weights my body has been during the last 20 years (marriage, pre-baby number 1, post-baby number 1, pre-baby number 2, post-baby number 2, pre-weight lifting, pre-baby number 3, post-baby number 3, teaching 10 group fitness classes a week, the arrival of peri-menopause) and decide that the lowest weight was the best (never mind that I was considerably younger and had no muscle mass…)
- It made me forget that I love looking and feeling strong (I love having a ‘big butt’)
- It made me think that I’d be happier if I were 6 pounds lighter (happiness doesn’t come from a number on the scale)
- It took the joy out of eating (food is fun) and exercising (even more fun)
It took watching some of my own #FatblasterFriday workout videos to realize that the body everybody else sees is NOT the same body that I’ve been seeing when I’ve look in the mirror as of late. (That girl in those videos has a rocking bod! Strong arms, toned butt and lots of confidence in her appearance…)
While I’d love to continue motivating and encouraging my friends and followers who aren’t yet through with their weight loss journey, I just can’t do it by hosting another DietBet (at least not right now; I need to deal with my own body image issues first). Instead, I’ll continue to support and inspire by sharing workouts, healthy eating tips and thought-provoking discussions about body image and weight loss here, on the blog, and in my Facebook group (if you haven’t ‘liked’ my page you’re missing out on twice-weekly free home workouts).
And my bathroom scales? I’m finding another use for them.
Does the number on your scale influence how you feel about yourself?
What other ways do you measure progress towards your health and fitness goals?