February 6, 2012

The Circle of Fail

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 9:28 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I make the same mistake four times a year. I step onto the scale (or try a new dress and have it not fit, or try an old skirt and have it not fit, or notice that my face looks different in pictures from a couple of years back), note down the number that defines whether I’m doing a good job of being a woman or not, and then promptly panic.

This leads to a stream of good intentions that last about a month, by which time I feel better about myself and go back to my everyday life. Four months later, I’ll step on the scale (or swap pants with a friend and realize we’re no longer the same size, or get hand-me-downs from my mom that it turns out I can’t wear, or have an ice-cream binge followed by a burst of guilt) and start all over again.

I call this the Circle of Fail.

This January was no different. I started out with good intentions. The first two weeks were excellent. I felt good, I worked hard, I trained even harder and I shed kilos like a pro, but then it stopped. The next three weeks, I lost nothing. Did I do anything differently? Not a thing. I’ve tracked my calorie intake every day since I started the Paleo challenge (for the second time, this time more successfully), and I’m doing okay. I’m cutting back on carbs and fat, I’m eating less than normal, I’m maintaining my training program, and nothing happens. Let me tell you, there’s nothing less motivating than saying no to every temptation, and not seeing results.

Well, I say I’m not seeing results, but that’s not exactly true. The weight I lost in the first two weeks have stayed off, and I have lost a centimeter all around my body. But centimeters are slower and harder to measure, and every time I step on the scale and it gives me the same number (77.5kg), I feel more defeated. I feel like losing weight shouldn’t be this hard.

True to form, the same thought patterns are going through my head again: it’s too hard. I’m not that far off my goal, perhaps I should just learn to be happy where I’m at. Maybe I’ll never be pleased with my weight anyway, so I should just be happy now.

I know this is fear and laziness masking as sense, but I can’t help feeling this way.

It’s also interesting to notice that it took me less than a month to turn what started out as a completely reasonable goal (I want to be in the 72kg weight class for power lifting) into a dieting obsession.

So, what should I do?

I’ve decided to put my scale in the closet. I’ll still be measuring my intake, so the odds of gaining weight should be low. I’ll stay paleo and keep my training program going. And who knows, maybe alleviating the pressure of building my hopes up and having them crushed every Tuesday morning might make my body respond better to the new diet? At least it’ll give me time to wait for the slow and steady results of living healthy and training well.

Do you think I can avoid the Circle of Fail this time? How do I keep on keeping on without turning obsessive or getting depressed? What would you do in my situation?



  1. That’s a good move. If you’re going hard on the weights you’re going to be building at the same time you’re shedding. As an aside, having been paleo for a year now, I notice that when trying to recover from a non-paleo moment such as December festive binge, increasing the fat in my diet makes me return faster to my paleo baseline. Totally anecdotal and totally about me.

    Good Luck.

    Comment by Simon Weaver — February 6, 2012 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

    • That’s good to know. Have you tried losing weight while living paleo? And if so, what works for you?

      Comment by nascentnovelist — February 6, 2012 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  2. I get like this ALL the time, in different and similar contexts. It’s downright eerie.

    My dad, the humble philosopher, quotes me three mantras that I have never fully understood, even though they sort of unfold to me as I re-evaluate them at different stages of my life. They are:

    1) Why postpone joy?
    2) Do not let the things you want make you unhappy.
    3) If you do not do as you want, you may do as you like.

    The third one is the most convoluted, and I take it to mean that once you stop focusing on attaining the things you want, suddenly the state of present and continuing joy will unfold for you. I don’t even know if I’m even in the ballpark.

    I know that you (like me) sort of enjoy obsessions and thrive on logic and goals and milestones and measures and those kinds of things. You are who you are at any moment, whether you like what you see or you don’t, and what you are is a lot of cool things, beautiful, strong and healthy among them.

    Comment by Shinseiko — February 7, 2012 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

    • The mantras are good, I’ll try to remember them. I’ve been working on my meditation skills (still don’t have it, but practice, practice, practice). Perhaps I should incorporate these mantras into that.

      Thank you so much for this comment. I read it out loud to my man, but teared up at the end. You are amazing, and this meant so much to me.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — February 7, 2012 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

  3. Martine, I’m in a similar situation. I go up and down by 20lbs a year. Not good.i want to get off this crazy train. I’m trying to focus on what I eat and exercise. And not eating when I’m upset. But it’s hard. Really hard. I’m sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

    Comment by Kourtney Heintz — February 7, 2012 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for the positive thought! It’s comforting to know that there are other people who know how I feel, but I wish we could get off the crazy train together.

      Good luck! I’m sending some good thoughts back!

      Comment by nascentnovelist — February 7, 2012 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  4. Surley your lack of shedding kilos is due to the fact that you’re building muscles??

    Comment by Emilie — February 10, 2012 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

    • It’s a sweet thought, but I changed my training program to be more fat shedding, and less muscle building. Could be I’m exchanging though. I can do a pullup now, after all. 🙂

      Comment by nascentnovelist — February 10, 2012 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

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