Sunday, 11 November 2012

Bracelets for Weight Loss (or any longish-term goals)

Since about April or May this year, I've had a bracelet around my wrist.

No one but mum has known what it's for, and no one really asked me. I usually don't like wearing things on my wrists apart from my watch so I've been surprised that no one has asked me why I kept a dirty little ugly-coloured braid on my wrist. The only questioning I've had about it was from one of my teachers who was out hunting for detentions to give to people when she saw my bracelet.

"What's that?" pointing to my bracelet.
"A bracelet..."
"Can you take it off?"
"Why not?"
"Because I can't."

Physically, by that stage, it was easily able to be removed from my wrist. But mentally? This bracelet was more about looks. Actually, if it was all about looks, it would have been long gone.

But no. This bracelet that matches with next to nothing but my fun run outfit was supposed to be a silent mentor, something to really make me achieve the goal I wanted, which at the time was weight loss. At the time, my stomach was 5cm bigger than it is now, and I wanted to see progress and be accountable for reaching my goal. I decided to do something a little bit inventive, and something that I would really hate.

I would wear a soon-to-be-germ-ridden braid of wool around my wrist until my stomach stayed at [5cm smaller or less] for three consecutive weeks. If it was to rise half a centimetre in the third week, I'd have to start again. I expected this to be an up-to 3 month sort of thing. At the time, I was thinking 'I'll try to lose it all before the July holidays, but if I don't, that's ok, I can keep going from there.'

That was NOT happening! So I came out of the July holidays still over halfway to my goal. And the thing with weight loss is that the less you weight, the harder it is to lose weight, so I was pushing and pushing myself to lose weight even more than I should have.

In the last two or so months, my tummy has been at my goal one week, bloated the next, so I sorta have been reaching half of the goal, but I wasn't being consistent.

So I tried even harder.

Bad decision! Well, kinda.

The last two weeks I've realised that I've had to gain weight, so my bracelet is my second worry next to, you know, staying alive. But somehow, I've managed to be at my goal. For two weeks. And when those two weeks come up, boy do I get cracking down for the third week. So last week I was working out more instead of eating less, and this morning I got up to have a look at what the measuring tape had to say.

Goal reached.
Or was it? I checked again on both sides. One side was 1cm less, one was 1cm more (this really makes me worry for my hips' sake).
I thought that I will check tomorrow, and if it's the same tomorrow, I can say that I've reached my goal.

This afternoon, I was bussing home and the thought that was going to hit me at some stage in the day, finally did. What if I don't reach my goal tomorrow? This bracelet has been a symbol to become healthier, and my measurement of that was the measurement of my waist. But I thought: is that really how I'm going to determine my health? which trailed onto thoughts like If I don't reach my goal, am I being unhealthy for not eating enough? If I don't reach my goal and take the bracelet off, will that tell my mind that it's ok to slack off on goals I've set myself? And after that thought, I realised that whether I reach my goal or not, I'll still take off my bracelet because I know I've been unhealthy with the ways I've stuck to my goals.

So when I got home, I measured myself (miraculously, I was still at my goal, don't ask how), took my bracelet off and had a fattening afternoon tea of some yoghurt and a spoon of almond butter in a glass of almond milk. (growing up, I would have a spoon of nutella in dairy milk as a treat. My healthy version sounded exciting to me at first but my childhood memories weren't really replicated. The butter ended up in my yoghurt, which was much more satisfying.)

The moral of the story is...
If you actually do have to lose weight and aren't in the position I'm in, and have a bit of a phobia towards how accessories have to match clothes and have a hatred towards daily-accumulating germs near your hands, try a bracelet that you physically can't take off to remind you of your goals! The colours of my braid were symbolic: green for fresh produce, yellow for fat and orange because I have nothing that is orange. You can make yours however you want! Just remember to stay healthy above all. :)

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