Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Taking back accountability


I glance at the clock on my bedside table. It's 5:09. My kitty senses that I’m awake, meows as he saunters to my side for a cuddle, hoping to get me out of bed as soon as possible. It’s a weekday, so the little fur-ball is in luck. I shuffle out of bed quietly as to not to disturb hubby. In the kitchen, I turn on the coffee maker and head to the basement. I feed the kitty and his friend fishy, fix my hair and apply makeup. I hear that hubby is in the shower.

It is 5:47 when I emerge from the basement into the kitchen.

“Morning how was your sleep? Did anything interesting happen?” I ask a freshly showered hubby. He mumbles a “morning” and confirms that nothing interesting happened during his sleep. We continue the morning routine to assemble lunches, breakfast, coffee (him), peppermint tea (me) and snacks (little bears) for the car.

It is 6:03 when I return to the bedroom to get dressed. It’s Wednesday, so I strip down to my socks and hop on the scale. I’m down (yay) less than a pound, but that’s fine by me.

I’m amazed how much simpler it is to step on the scale at home than to do so TOPS, or at Weight Watchers. Why the heck did I put so much stock into accountability?

To lose weight, I always thought that I absolutely needed to be accountable to someone.  Typically, I went to Weight Watchers or made some sort of an arrangement with a friend. But, WW is expensive and checking in with a friend is inconvenient.

So in March 2010 and six months into therapy I still wanted/needed accountability. I decided that TOPS was a good place to get accountability. It’s inexpensive and local. I attended a meeting (LONG) and signed up. Most of the members of TOPS were women, and they were all lovely, positive and supportive. I can see why so many of them are long term members.

I planned to weigh in at TOPS each week, skip most, but attend some of the meetings and to follow my own eating program. I was in it for the long term (years), however long it would take to lose the weight.

The first weigh in was semi-shocking. Looking back, the results weren’t surprising, only ten pounds less than my last weigh in at the obstetrician’s office. Of course, my number lead to feelings of guilt and shame and I went into a short-lived funk. (My therapist wanted me to weigh myself so my weight wouldn’t be so shocking to me creating such a funk.)

For the second weigh in, I gained and the lady recording my weight expressed her concern by asking me about the foods I ate, did I drink enough water? Did I exercise? I explained to her that it’s fine that I gained, I’m here to weigh myself and I’m not actually following the TOPS program or lose weight.

 The third weigh in was another gain. With it, more questions that came from the heart, but left me a little freaked out. I was fine with the gain but I was beginning to worry about how to handle reactions from everyone else. So, I explained the situation again (I’m just here to use the scale, I’m not trying to lose weight, etc.) and I wondered if joining TOPS was such a great idea after all.

In therapy, I learned to not react to the scale – either way – not to get upset over a gain or overly excited over a loss. It’s just a number. Of course, handling everyone else’s reactions was another story altogether. It was impossible to avoid the standard question, “how did you do?” or the silent equivalent; thumbs up, big smile, head turned slightly and eye brows lifted. And the inevitable analyzing to figure out what went wrong and what I can do to make sure that I don’t gain the following week.

This improved after I spoke to the group about my journey and discoveries in therapy, but the stress was still there. In August I questioned why I needed third party accountability. That’s when I realized, never in my life had I been accountable to myself. I always thought that that I needed to give that responsibility to someone else; be it Weight Watchers, TOPS or a friend.

In October I took the responsibility of accountability back and I have been my own weight recorder since.
The bonus is that I can weigh myself for free when it works for me: on Wednesday mornings at 6 am, wearing nothing except for socks to keep my feet warm… 

NOTE: Blogger has flagged me as spammer. I noticed that comments that I make on blogger blogs disappear. Munchberry confirmed this and she is finding my comments in spam. So I've been making comments, they just may appear in your SPAM folder, please check. 

Funny: while testing the commenting widget on my blog, I noticed that I'm flagged as spam on my own blog when I'm not signed into blogger itself. That's when I discovered the "I'm not a robot" widget. Fellow Blogger bloggers, how do you turn off the "I'm not a robot" comment gatekeeper? It must be standard now as I don't remember adding this tool.

12 comments:

  1. Good for you! I think everyone is as different with accountability as with anything else in dieting or life. I actually started my blog partly for the accountability. To me! I never expected anyone to read it:)

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    1. I love your blog! I think I also started blogging for accountability too, but I think it also helped me to (for the first time ever) weigh myself... Who knew how therapeutic writing can be??

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  2. I've decided (against the wishes of my helping professionals) to weigh myself once a month. Last month I lost -.4 pounds. Laughable at best! However, I get noticed for my weight loss all of sudden. So strange how the scale does not reflect our outer bodies, nor our inner work.

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  3. I never joined a program like weight watchers because I feel my blog gives me accountability. BTW I just joined your blog.

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    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for joining my blog!

      Kara

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  4. "Accountability" is one of those words that doesn't work for me...and especially if it's to someone else and especially if it's for something like how much I weigh. Now that I think about it, I think what I've been striving for all along (well, at least since I started my blog back in early 2009) is for it to come automatically and easily...for me to want to do the right things for myself and my health without it feeling like a burden.

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    1. I completely understand that... Totally...

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  5. First - because I want to get it out of the way: Housekeeping of sorts... I got a comment from you that did not land in spam! I was so excited! But bad news, I put you on my list to follow so it would show up on my reader and it never showed. I wondered what the hay was going on with you - why you had not posted in a while and LO you posted and I received no notice so I just made it so you would be on my yahoo homepage. That worked.

    OK

    Sometimes you ground me or recenter me with your posts (much as Karens do). This is one of them. I too started my blog so I could be accountable to myself. Like "there is no tossing this!" and to try to work out what my darn problem was. Little did I realize I would work it out by reading others blogs. Crazy.

    Anyhoo. I think it is an essential starting point to be accountable to yourself. Only to you. Others may want to help you get back on your path or may want to help you figure out what baffles you... on and on, but you - at the end - are left with you and YOU are the one that controls the feed bag and the self worth and all the other goodies that either keep you in bed or get you out of it every day.

    Getting up in front of strangers and weighing seems like an act of self loathing to ME. At least self flagellation. You are certainly no dummy. You know what it takes, you know what you have done that week. We do not live and die by a number on a scale. It is a tool for decisions.

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    1. Yay! It was depressing writing comments on blogger blogs knowing that it might not get read. Thanks for continually digging my comments out from the spam folder!

      I agree, the weight loss blogging community has been a huge help to my own journey. I'm so glad to be apart of it; I love to share my thoughts and read everyone elses' point of view.

      It's an interesting point about weighing in infront of strangers is an act of self-loathing. I can see that. We have our own feelings about what the scale reads, and it is hard to not be affected by the third party who is most likely not on the same page....

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  6. Interesting that we are all so different. I am a lifetimer at WW and go once a month to weigh. Have been since I joined the last time in 2007 and this has helped me keep under my goal weight. I don't think of it as accountability, just another tool to help me stay in line. And yes, I guess I need to do it, and no I don't resent it.

    I was finding your comments in spam too. I moderate my comments before they are published so I can catch spam there. And I allow anonymous comments. I don't like typing the extra words so I don't want my readers to have to do it either.

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    1. I totally get that. It's interesting because weighing in a WW was a different experience, it was more professional (i.e. if I didn't want feedback I didn't get feedback) at the scale. I was surprised by how different it was at TOPS. They were supportive, but just not in a way that was supportive to my recovery effort.

      Apparently, I'm no longer spam! I was taking the same approach to spam on my site too, moderate so I can filter out spam. I don't remember adding in the word typing thing (it doesn't appear as a widget in my layout) so I don't know how to get rid of it!

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Thanks for your comments, I love to hear what you have to say. While you are here, why don't you follow my blog too.

Also: I'm starting to get spam, so I've made the decision to moderate comments (unfortunately).