I worked out hard all last week. I tried my very best to eat "clean". So when I got up Saturday morning, I went straight to the bathroom to weigh in and see if there was any measurable result.
Yes! Down a pound! It ain’t much, but hey, down is down. I waltzed through the rest of my morning feeling Dancing-with-the-Stars svelte. I stood up straighter. I put on my flattering (read: extra-strength Lycra) leggings and a slim fitting top. Maybe I strutted a little. And then I pulled off a super killer workout. I was pretty sure I'd sealed the deal on my new slender, one pound lighter, weight.
Cocky as all get out, Sunday morning, I returned to the mirror and lifted my shirt to make sure nothing bad had happened in the night. I thought maybe I looked…dare I say it…thinner? But how could it be? If sleeping does this, well, I am going back to bed…But first, let me just hop up on that scale...
Let me be honest, I jumped off that sucker before it could finish the reading. (The last scale that betrayed me ended up in the RETURNS pile at Bed, Bath & Beyond...) I saw where things were heading and it was most definitely UP. A pound up. It was lost and now it’s found. No amazing grace here. Overcome with disdain, I glanced back up at the mirror.
Oh. My. God. Seriously, I looked huge. And old. And lumpy. And...
Now mind you, only 3 minutes had passed since I'd awoken from my slimming slumber and performed the Big Reveal. The difference in my weight from Saturday to Sunday was one pound. Not 20. One pound can be explained by water retention, muscle growth, constipation…Lord, you could blow your nose and lose a pound! One single measly pound should not transform me from Slenderella into King Kong. You would certainly not have noticed it.
But I have Fat Eyes.
They cannot be trusted. I can look at myself in the same mirror on the same day within the same hour and see vastly different bodies. Fortunately, I have learned not to give much credence to my unsightly visions. Which is not to say that I am not troubled by weight gain or bloating. I am not nearly that enlightened. But I do get that no matter what weight I am, whether my stomach is protruding, or my torso is twisted, or my knees appear to be mini kangaroo pouches, it doesn't mean anything about me personally.
Being a pound up, or twenty pounds up, or stuck at the same weight, etc. does not mean that we are failures. It's just the amount of pounds we weigh. I am finding that I am only free to transform my level of fitness when I drop the negative conversations I have about myself. Making myself wrong for being exactly where I am leaves me feeling defeated and powerless. But, as I accept that at any given moment, it is what it is, and isn't what it isn't, I can create what comes next. So, instead of consoling myself with a cookie, or skipping the next workout because "what's the use?", I hit the reset button. Right here, from scratch, I am training to be my fittest self ever. That's my commitment Some days, I reset every hour, on the hour!
I am not sure that my Fat Eyes can be corrected. But recognizing that sometimes what I see is just a distorted view projected by my own negative conversations has helped me to focus on the fitness goals I have set for myself.
This essay originally appeared on FitnessByLoren.com.
Loren Martz is an AFAA certified group exercise instructor and personal trainer with 32 years of experience in the fitness industry.