Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A New Year's Realization




"Your job is not who you are, your car is not who you are, your looks are not who you are, not even your body...is who you are. You're simply on a journey, just trying things out, to see what you like, to see what you don't... because you can, because it's temporary, and because it's all on the way 'home.'" --The Universe on Tut.com

My sister-in-law gave me a Fitbit for my birthday. I was excited because I had been wanting to try one and it was a nice surprise. I started wearing it and immediately became obsessed with how many "steps" I was taking each day.

I loved the days when I got the vibrating wrist party that celebrates 10,000 steps and I lamented the days when I didn't quite make it.

It motivated me to take the dog for an extra walk around the block at lunchtime (500 steps) or to do a quick 30 minutes on the treadmill (1500 steps) or even to run around Greenlake more often (6000 steps). It also pointed out how sedentary my life is when I don't do those things (about 5000 steps) and that got me moving more often. But the wheels came off the bus when I started using some of the other features, namely the calorie counter.  

I don't know about you, but middle age and menopause have not been kind to my waistline. I gain about ten pounds every five years that seem to linger no matter what I do (or don't do). I DO exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more. I DON'T drink alcohol. I DO try to limit snack foods. I DON'T eat a lot of sweets. But still, the pounds linger.

So I was very excited when I realized that my Fitbit app has this handy dandy feature where you input your current weight and your goal weight, then tell it how quickly you would like to lose the weight and Viola! a weight-loss program appears on the app, which tells you each day how many calories you can consume. As you exercise the count goes up, and as you eat and enter the calories consumed, the count goes down. If you go over your calorie allotment for the day, it alerts you with a red warning bar. Woo Hoo! I thought, I'll be down to my early-thirites, pre-pregnancy weight in no time.

At first it was great, a Pure bar and tea with cream for breakfast 238 calories. A banana for a snack 100 calories. A Greek salad for lunch 240 calories. Tea and chocolate for dessert 108 calories. At the end of the day I was on track with 200 calories to spare. And I was HUNGRY. SO HUNGRY.

I hadn't noticed all day, because I was so excited about my "progress," but as I sat down to read before bed I realized that I had been so consumed with counting calories that I hadn't really enjoyed any of my meals. I hadn't savored my food. And that left me feeling empty.

I decided to have a couple of crackers before bed and to really taste them. Two crackers turned into four and four turned into eight, and before I knew it, I had eaten half the sleeve. I didn't feel good, but I did feel satisfied for the first time all day.

The next morning I got up and made our traditional Saturday morning breakfast - croissants and fruit. My husband fried up some bacon and I ate a chocolate croissant and two pieces of bacon with decaf coffee, honey and half and half. I didn't open my Fitbit app and I didn't count my calories. I just enjoyed my breakfast. And it was such a relief. After eating, I felt satisfied and happy.

Some people may lose weight using this app, and if that makes them happy, that's great. But I am DONE with the calorie counting feature. In fact, I think I am DONE trying to lose weight.

I am in the normal range for someone my age, my height and my body type. I am healthier and more physically fit than I was in my twenties. I can easily swim one mile, or run three. Maybe it is time for me to start aging gracefully, to realize that my body is NOT who I am, but simply a vehicle to take me where I want to go. Around the block, around the lake, or even out to lunch.

[I am still counting steps and look forward to the "party on my wrist" every day that I earn it!]

3 comments:

  1. This post really speaks to me...where I am right now...and how I need to be more grateful for my health and well-being and less focused on the numbers (weight, age, calories).

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    1. Thanks Rebecca. Me too! It is so hard in this data-driven world not to be always striving for better "numbers." Knowing you are out there trying too helps me. Thanks for commenting!

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