Anyone who has ever tried to lose a significant amount of weight knows what a God awful slog the journey to a goal weight can be. You go down, you go down again, you go up, you stay the same, you spend a month working your butt off and only lose 1/2 pound….and every other combination in between. For that reason, it’s very common for people trying to lose weight to be told that they shouldn’t focus on the scale – focus on measurements or body fat or how your pants fit. These suggestions, while well meaning, can be *extremely* frustrating.
Make no mistake – I do believe that paying attention to non-scale victories is very important. The number on the scale is NOT the only thing in my world. But when you are a 5’8″ tall woman who is over 200 pounds, there isn’t a chance in hell that going for an extended period without seeing progress on the scale isn’t going to bum you out. Even when you have made GREAT progress on the scale, it can still be difficult to be excited if you have a long way to go. I was 277.2 pounds when I started on this ride in December of 2009, and as of this morning have lost just a bit over 64 pounds. This is great – but as I have 50+ more to lose, and it took me over 3 years to get this far, I thought it would be good to share a little bit about what 64 pounds looks like – kind of like Oprah did back in 1988 when she wheeled out a wagon of fat on her show to demonstrate how much weight she had managed to lose.
For starters, here are a few measures to think about.
- A stick of butter is 1/4 pound. This is a great one to remember for those times when you are losing really slowly, because a stick of butter is something we’ve all used.
- A Guinea Pig weighs approximately 1 pounds. This one is just funny….the idea of measuring something in guinea pigs makes me giggle.
- The average human brain weighs 3 pounds. This is not to be confused with the human head, which weighs about 8 pounds. Or at least that’s what the little kid in Jerry Maguire said.
- A bag of sugar weighs 5 pounds (if you get a brand that hasn’t had package shrinkage)
- A gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds. Just like the human head. This is my personal favorite to think about, because so often people with a lot of weight to lose aren’t excited about losing 8 pounds because all they can see is that they have what feels like a bazillion and four more pounds to go. But really–8 pounds is a lot. Just ask the poor sucker who has to carry the milk from the minivan to the refrigerator.
Applying these to my own weight loss, we get the following:
- I’ve lost 64 guinea pigs. I’m sure glad I don’t have to clean up after them anymore!
- I’ve lost 256 sticks of butter. I like butter, but I don’t think I’ve even consumed that much butter in my life.
- I’ve lost 21.5 brains. Funny – I thought I had just one really big brain, but I guess I misplaced the rest.
- I’ve lost 12.8 bags of sugar. I’m sure my coach Amanda, who wants us to Stay Away From Added Sugar, appreciates this
- I’ve lost 8 gallons of milk. (or human heads). I don’t even LIKE milk!
- And, just for fun – I looked it up. The weight I’ve lost is approximately the equivalent to the average 9 year old boy.
Eight gallons of milk. This one is the most mind-boggling to me because as strong as I am becoming, I can’t fathom the notion of schlepping 8 gallons of milk from the car to the house at the same time, and yet I carried that around every DAY for ages. Every once in a while when I am feeling a little stuck or a perhaps frustrated that I’m not making faster progress, I like to pick up a gallon of milk at the grocery store, do a couple of curls, and remember how far I’ve come.
Holy Toledo. Eight.Freaking.Gallons.Of.Milk.
Eight gallons down.
Six more to go.
Let’s do this.