Adjusting Focus

I have realized over the past few days that somehow my focus has shifted from getting healthy to losing weight over the last few months. And I think this is why I have been struggling to get all of my workouts in and to actually lose weight. When I was focused on getting healthy and making choices on whether or not something would help me reach my goals, I was choosing the healthier option more frequently. I was also focused on my workouts and enjoying them! Since my focus has shifted away from the healthier choices and more on the weight lost, I have been making less healthier choices (like eating half a bag of mini Heath bars in one sitting) and my workouts have started feeling like a chore. How did that happen?

I think there are two elements that have caused the shift. One is that I was in the dreaded 180s, my stumbling block of all times past. I think when my weight hit that level, my brain kind of freaked out and I was just focused on getting out of the 180s as quickly as possible (which turned out to take a few months). The other factor, I think is some of the challenges that I am involved in that set the goals for the challenge as certain amounts of weight lost. Both of these combined made me more aware of the numbers on the scale, to the point that it became my focus.

Making the scale my focus, treating myself well became secondary and workouts were designed to lose weight rather than to build strength, be active and have fun. Exercise became more of a chore than a fun activity, so I started skipping workouts more frequently. Which in turn made it harder for me to lose weight.

So now I need to readjust my focus away from the scale. Yes, part of getting healthy for me is losing weight, and yes I still have a lot of weight to lose. But my ultimate goal is health, regardless of the number on the scale, so I need to get back to making healthy decisions for me and not for weight loss. I need to get back to fitness for the sake of fun rather than because I need to burn x number of calories today (and the irony is that I burned way fewer calories when exercising for weight loss than for fun).

Because I am committed to these challenges, I will step on the scale for my specific challenge dates, but I will be putting it away the rest of the time. I will also be adjusting my schedule so that I can get back into the gym and into a Zumba class or on the bike for some cross-training. And dancing again! I can’t remember the last time I danced!! I will be posting some fitness goals tomorrow that I want to work on through the rest of April and May… with the emphasis on fun activity! Yes, I am still training for a 5k, I just need to embrace the enjoyment in my training runs again, rather than looking at them as a calorie burning chore.

A friend of mine just posted an exercise challenge on her blog and I was really tempted to join her in it, but then I realized that it might reinforce the exercise as a chore mentality that I am trying to get away from, so I decided instead to focus on active fun instead of trying to get in a set amount of exercise. I believe that through fun, I will naturally increase my daily activity again.


One response

  1. I completely understand what you mean! The same thing happens to me when I start trying to decrease my calories. I start eating whatever I want, as long as it fits within range, rather than making healthy choices. The more I focus on hunger cues, intuitive eating, and healthy foods, the better I do, but when i start focusing on specific calorie amounts for food, the more I obsess and eat worse foods. That’s why, over the last two weeks, I’ve taken to writing all my food down to put in to my calorie tracker at night, once I’m done, so I don’t obsess all day!

    With exercise, I go through dread periods and times I enjoy the exercise. I never feel like it becomes a chore, but when I start dreading it, I take a week or so to rest. I’ve been holding back a lot since last fall, thinking that maybe too much exercise was making me plateau, and that turned out not to be the solution. Hence my exercise challenge. Since I don’t plan or force myself to do anything specific, the challenge works for me. It wouldn’t if I said I had to do X exercises or if I tried to burn a certain amount of calories per workout or something. Mostly I just want to work longer each day, thereby increasing my time moving, and my calories burned, naturally.

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