Abject Horror.  That was the feeling as I silently stared at the glowing three numbers beneath my feet on that early Monday morning.  Those where three numbers I’d promised myself I’d never see again, but just like a bad penny, there they were in all their digital glory.  Ah the scale, the modern day agony and ecstacy.

To get everyone up to speed, over the last 5 years I’ve lost 85 pounds through diet (Weight Watchers) and exercise.  It hasn’t been easy to lose that much, especially being as I’m officially “over 40”.  I made fervent promises to myself that I wouldn’t go back to my old weight, and I haven’t.  BUT… the holidays happened.  And some stressful situations… And some self-indulgence… And… well… you know… Stuff happened. 

It’s frustrating.  I’ve been working really hard and even at my lowest weight I’m not at the “goal weight” that I set for myself.  It’s taken a whole lot longer than I anticipated and yet I’m still not “done.”  It’s not a catastrophic gain, but a gain.  Movement in the wrong direction and something that needs to be nipped in the bud.  However, besides reigning myself in and being more disciplined about my choices, I’m also giving myself a little grace.  You see, one of the things I’ve discovered over the last five years is that when I overeat, its usually not just because something tastes good, but because there’s something I need, something deeper than food.  Food is just handy and immediate satisfaction. 

So I’m looking at the situation from a different angle.  What does “done” mean anyway?  Is it some arbitrary number on a BMI chart developed by someone who’s never seen me in my life?  Does it mean that I can go back to eating what I want when I want and never worrying about hitting the gym again?  I think the answer is “no” on both counts.

I will always need to be vigilant about my diet.  I will probably always keep a food journal because I need the accountability for what I eat.  Would it be nice if I could be less careful?  Sure, but writing down my lunch is certainly not the end of the world, especially in an age where there are 84,000 apps for that. 

And I have to admit that I’ve learned to like exercise.  I’m not ever going to be an ultramarathoner, but I do love a good sweaty Zumba class and walking on the treadmill with the latest episode of Downton Abbey. 

As for the BMI chart, I’ve decided I’m going to take it with a grain of salt.  I might never see that perfect number for my height, but my doctor loves my blood pressure and I’m metabolically fabulous.  I can buy all sorts of cute outfits from Coldwater Creek.  I feel better than I have in my entire life.  Perhaps that matters more than a height/weight chart ever can.

Instead of bludgeoning myself for not conforming to the latest chart and HATING Crossfit, HIIT training, Paleo, and the latest fitness craze, I’m going to do what works for ME.  Journaling, working out in ways that I actually enjoy, and giving myself a break for not being perfect. 

Sometimes you have to turn off all the experts and be true to what you know about yourself.  Finding balance is the most healthy thing that you can possibly do for yourself.  The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every morning.  I’ve decided I’m going to follow suit and give myself a break everyday as well.

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