I’ve been putting off writing for a bit because I’m extremely disappointed in myself and my apparent lack of progress over the past month. Naturally, if I’m disappointed in myself, I must have let down everyone I’ve ever met and his or her mother, too. (How’s that for self-centered thinking?)

So, what’s my deal?

If you’ve been watching my weekly weigh-ins, you know that I’ve been fighting with the same five pounds for weeks now. Up. Down. Up. Down.

Yoyo scaleThis week I was back up. I am officially a yo-yo! So annoying. (I’ve never been great with yo-yoing. I was never able to master “Walk the Dog” or even a simple sleeper.)

It’s safe to say that I am past frustrated. Way past. And that can lead to bad decisions. What’s the point in “being good” if I’m not getting anywhere? It’s not like it’s doing me any good. Right?

But then I realized something. It’s one of the things I really like about SWLC. They are very good at helping you recognize and appreciate the positive.

I’m not talking about platitudes, those nice things well-meaning people say in an attempt to make you feel better.

I’m talking about facts, important tidbits of information that can get lost when things are not going the way you would like or the way you scripted them in your head.

  • Fact: The number on the scale was higher this week than last week.
  • Fact: This is the third time that has happened.
  • Fact: The last two times it happened, I was down again the next week.
  • Fact: I did not keep gaining weight, despite some life circumstances that have been less than ideal.
  • Fact: I have lost 35 pounds in 17 weeks. (That’s an average 2 lbs./week. Quite respectable.)

Let’s look at those last three. Not only are they all positive, each one is an indisputable fact. Whatever emotions I tie to those facts, well that’s a different story. I need to work on giving as much credence to the positive facts as I do the negative ones.

That’s something Dr. Lisa Galper talked about in her class on dealing with plateaus – stepping away from the often volatile emotional implications and focusing on the facts. That includes the not-so-great ones, the ones that stand up and smack you in the face. Those suckers will not be ignored, and they should not be. While negative facts often clamor for attention, the positive facts tend to be a bit more subtle. You often have to make an effort to look for them, but they are almost always there, waiting to be discovered and celebrated.

PositiveTaking the time to find those positive nuggets is important. It can be difficult, especially when positive is dressed in a neutral costume. Sometimes neutral is as good as positive gets. But it’s still something. Something not negative.

While I don’t consider myself a particularly negative person – at least, not where others are concerned – I am very good at seeing in myself the things that need to improve, which is mostly everything. I blame IVE. That bitch is an emotional terrorist.

“Congratulations, you’ve lost 35 pounds!” I say to myself.

“But you’re probably not going to make your goal now because you’ve been screwing up for the past month,” IVE answers. “You’re not meant to succeed. You’re not strong enough, not good enough. You don’t deserve.”

It’s a load or crap, but this is the kind of internal conversation I have with myself on a daily basis. It’s exhausting.

One of the not-so-great habits I’ve built over years is to focus on what I’ve done wrong, mistakes I’ve made. I’ve justified it by telling myself I’m looking at where I need to improve.

That’s a lie. I’ve always expected myself to do well, to succeed, at pretty much everything I try. When I do, it’s only what I was supposed to do — meet expectations. No big deal.

When I don’t, it’s not because I’m human. It’s not because nobody can succeed or excel 100 percent of the time. It’s because I suck.

While I expect myself to succeed, I also expect myself to fail. Because I suck. And I sabotage myself.

Twisted, right? So messed up. That maniacal laughter you hear is IVE. This is exactly what she wants me to think, wants me to do. For years, I readily complied.

But I’m making her job harder now. I’m not focusing on the negative connotations she constantly feeds me. I’m not taking them at face-value and I’m certainly not treating them like indisputable facts.

Oh, I’ll admit that my first thought after Tuesday’s weigh-in was, “Wow, I suck.” But instead of stopping there and putting it on a mental loop, I forced myself to take a step back and acknowledge those positive facts I mentioned earlier.

Dr. John de Guzman helped when he took those facts and led me to a positive conclusion. Yes, I needed some guidance to get there, but I did get there.

MindfulnessSo, what is that conclusion? I am learning to be a weight manager rather than a chronic dieter. It’s an important shift in my thinking, one that will set me up to succeed rather than inevitably fail. I am learning to be mindful.

Five facts. Two negative. Three positive.

  • Fact: 3 > 2

Mindfulness is an essential piece of the puzzle that that is me, that is everyone. It comes naturally to some. Others have to work at it. I’m one of those. I have not made mindfulness a habit. Yet. Actually, I have a feeling mindfulness might always be something of a struggle for me. I am, however, remembering to cut off the automatic negativity in which IVE delights and take that step back to look at the whole picture more and more often.

Even if it’s not in black and white on Tanita’s printout and it’s not visible when I look in the mirror, the move toward consistent mindfulness is still progress. And that’s positive.