A digital scale can be both your best friend and worst enemy.
Yesterday, I felt the familiar sting of betrayal after completing one of my most dreaded chores: the post-vacation weigh in.
I could hardly believe my eyes when I peered down at the numbers.
For those of you keeping tabs, you may remember the last time I complained about my pesky weight problems, and I'm ashamed to admit my progress has moved in the wrong direction.
But I've been trying, really!
Here's a list of things I've attempted over the past several months:
Pact has been the most motivating of all the health apps I've experimented with. Their slogan is “earn cash for living healthy, paid by members who don't.”
Last fall, I bet myself $5 per week I could complete 5 workouts and track calories on MyFitnessPal every day. That $5 penalty was incredibly motivating and I managed to avoid forking over cash for at least three months at the end of 2014.
I've successfully lost weight on this program twice in the past. I lost 20 pounds my senior year of high school and 10 pounds a few years ago. Needless to say, I'm always tempted to try again.
I rejoined in March and quickly became irritated by their buggy mobile app. Between the lack of products in their database and sync issues, I cancelled my subscription only a few weeks in.
My new co-workers are a competitive bunch. We've even got a Slack channel dedicated to tracking our company's leaderboard of weekly Fitbit steps. Public humiliation does seem to be working.
I've successfully lost weight over the past two years through a local boot camp including a diet that avoided sugar, alcohol, and white flour. I've failed at re-trying this unforgiving diet several times.
A Different Kind of Debt
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, my height (5'2″) and weight (171.5) puts my body mass index at 31.4. This catapults my weight status into the obese category. The healthy weight range for my height is 101-136 pounds.
What does this mean?
I am at risk for developing a number of conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, a variety of cancers, and more.
I'm candid with this information not for sympathy, but to highlight the seriousness of obesity. Being overweight is a different kind of debt that has the potential to cause irreversible effects.
The Cycle of Overeating
When I traveled a lot for work, I developed some very unhealthy coping mechanisms. My co-workers thought I was loyal to Hilton Garden Inn for the reward points, but it was totally for their 24-hour Pavillion Pantry.
When I felt stressed, tired, and emotionally exhausted after a show, I stopped by Pavillion Pantry for late-night snacks to binge on while watching Storm Chasers.
Sometimes I was embarrassed to approach the front desk with an armload of food and it was even more shameful being trapped in an elevator with other guests. Fortunately, my floor usually arrived quickly and I was able to avoid eye contact while making a beeline for my room.
A New Approach
Instead of continuing my lifelong pattern of cycling through extreme diet and exercise programs, I've decided to finally address my underlying struggle with emotional eating.
I've found a therapist who specializes in eating disorders and hope to develop some healthier skills for coping with stress.
For the first time, I plan on making my weight loss journey a priority alongside work, instead of something I'll focus on if I have time.
I'm hopeful I'll end up healthier and happier.
Readers: Have you struggled with emotional eating? Do you have suggestions for overcoming this unhealthy lifestyle?