For the last few months, maybe six to nine, my body has been acting mysterious ways. No matter how much I busted my butt at the gym, switched up my food and even got down to actual calorie counting, the scale just kept going in the wrong direction. I always thought that ultimately weight loss came down to calories in and calories out (more or less), but here I was as living proof that there were other factors at play here. As a nutritionist, this was a very valuable lesson, but as a person, it was downright infuriating.
Here’s the lesson that I learned though, the more I fixated on not being able to whittle the scale down, the more I stressed (perhaps we could even say fixated) about it. Trainer boy kept saying, “it doesn’t matter, throw out your damn scale, with where your body is now, the number isn’t important.” But it was, and frankly still is, somewhat important as it represented a problem that I just couldn’t seem to fix. It was mystifying.
Anyway, Christmas vacation rolled around a little early for me this year and I headed to Vancouver on Dec. 15th for two whole weeks. That was two whole weeks during which I stopped focusing on my food (there was even straight up classic egg nog and pecan pie consumed), toned down my workouts (tried some new classes, but really only got in about 6 hours of medium-intensity activity in 14 days) and slept. A lot of sleep happened. When I got back to Calgary and reluctantly decided to step on the scale, I was ready to take the higher number in stride and use it to help me revaluate and set some intentions for the year ahead. Imagine my surprise then when the scale actually read 3.5 pounds lighter than when I had left. Figuring I must have been dehydrated or something was just off, I put the scale away and stepped on again come Jan. 1st. Imagine my further surprise when it revealed that I was now 6.5 pounds down. A shocking turn of events.
What exactly is responsible for shedding the six pounds I had been battling for the better part of a year, I do not fully know? I would like to think it was the addition of eggnog to my diet, but in reality, I believe it was the fact that I let go of an unhealthy fixation on an arbitrary number and just relaxed—body, mind and soul—as much as a home for the holidays type visit allows. Interestingly enough, when I interviewed local fitness expert, Pete Estabrooks recently for my Healthy Resolutions series for the Calgary Herald, his very advice for someone trying to lose those pesky last two to five pounds is to take a two week break and just move their body for 60 to 90 minutes a day—preferably in a fun way—and things just tend to happen.
The proof is in the pudding (yes, I ate some of that too), the body follows the lead of the mind. And when the mind—and body—can chill out for a bit after and extended period of training and pressure, the magic does just tend to happen. Magic then begets magic. And that, my friends, is a very good place to get started on a brand new year!