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Yep – I actually gained a pound after 3 days of eating under my calorie goal. It is a common occurrence when dieting. It is one of the reasons why many people recommend only weighing yourself once a week. I have tried both practices and weighing myself daily has been a key factor in my current success. If I have learned nothing else over my many years of dieting, it’s that the scale is only a snap-shot of a moment in time and should NOT be the only way to measure success, especially when it fluctuates a pound or less.

It was frustrating to see 210.8 on the scale this morning, but two things immediately stood out as clues to why the scale was up a bit. First, my legs hurt with every step when I got out of bed, thanks to the extra weight I lifted while doing squats in class on Wednesday. I had a personal trainer once who explained that people often retain fluids for a few days after a particularly intense work-out. (I just Googled it and learned that the official name is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).) DOMS is caused by microscopic damage to muscles and the surrounding tissues, which leads to inflammation. Your muscles feel sore when your body starts to repair the damage. It clearly explained that the tissue damage and strain on the muscle causes water retention. The second clue surfaced when I tried to put all of my rings on but couldn’t because some were too tight. Then I knew that my body was retaining water. Since I do not regret pushing myself in the strength training class, I just let out a sigh of relief and began my morning routine.

Since today was Friday, I made sure to leave room for a sugar-free blended mocha in the morning and free soft-serve ice cream over lunch. That meant walking to my appointments across campus, rather than driving, and limiting my breakfast at home. One of my meetings happened near the cafeteria over the noon-hour so I ate lunch before returning to my desk. It is not easy to find appealing menus items worth 300 calories or less, but I lucked out with clam chowder soup. I had to guess at the calorie count but my strategy is to select the item in My Fitness Pal that would be the median average of the search results. After enjoying my soup, I slowly devoured a half cup of vanilla soft serve with just a little chocolate syrup on top. It was worth all 200 calories, that’s for sure!

After breakfast and lunch, I only had about 150 calories left for the day, but I knew that I would gain exercise calories after attending my favorite Friday 4:30pm Zumba class and the subsequent walk later in the evening. Those 829 exercise calories allowed me to have 1.5 cups of Jambalaya and a 100 calorie Yasso bar for dessert. As I look back at my food diary for today, I am just amazed that I can still enjoy plenty of calorie-rich foods and still be on track to lose weight! It’s all possible because of my commitment to exercise.

There is no way to know when the scale will give me back what I know I have already earned, especially after another successful eating day today, but I am not worried about it. I know it will happen eventually. I have the last 3 months as proof. Instead of obsessing about weight loss and my progress, I try to focus on my job, family, friends, home and fun activities like my dance classes and long walks with good friends. In the grand scheme of life, there are MUCH bigger things for which to worry.

For heaven’s sake, we are currently living through a pandemic! People are losing their jobs, businesses and worst of all, LIVES! That is something to get upset about. My husband’s best friend recently died in a motorcycle accident, leaving behind his beautiful wife and daughter. Talk about a heart-breaking event! One of my best friends recently went through a series of cancer treatments and another friend just barely survived a house fire that burned everything she owned, including her precious cat. Must I go on? (Lord, please no. We’ve had enough!)

So getting upset with the scale is just plain silly. That has been my general attitude in life, over the last few years. It has done me wonders, too. You got cut off in traffic? Shake it off and turn up the music a little. Your boss belittles your experience and your coworkers treat you like an idiot? Just remember that they do not determine your worth. Reach out to people that love and appreciate you and you will soon feel much better.

The country seems to be on the brink of a civil war because of a polarizing culture difference between Democrats and Republicans, but for what? Can you not find one person on the other side that you respect? If the answer is “no” then you need to look a little harder. Two of my favorite men in the world have opposite political beliefs than me. I will NEVER let something as fleeting as a presidential election come between us. I know they feel the same way.

So instead of focusing on the negative, reframe your thoughts to zero in on all of life’s possibilities! Here I am, already 103 days into a new endeavor and most of my bad habits have all but disappeared. The unhealthy binge eating is a thing of the past. Fast food drive-throughs and getting up for seconds are no longer a part of my daily routine. When I began this journey, I had no idea how I was going to break those habits but I was committed to the process and one by one, I conquered them all! If I could make those changes, the sky is the limit!

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