Do you remember the children’s book The Story of Ping? I remember it from my childhood, and read it to my own daughter when she was little. Ping is a little duck who lives on a boat on the Yangtze River. Every day he and his large extended duck family march down a little gangplank to forage along the banks for something yummy to eat, and every night they waddle home as fast as they can because the last one aboard receives a little spank on the back. One day Ping gets distracted by something tantalizing and realizes, too late, that he will be the last one home, so he goes astray. After a few misadventures he decides to get back on board, even though he knows he will have to face the consequences.
Now, for the record, I do not approve of the corporal punishment of ducklings. I do get the whole wanting to avoid accountability thing. For example, I have found that honestly writing down what I eat every day helps me stay focused, stay honest with myself, make a consistent plan, and ultimately lose weight. So I do it.
Except when I don’t.
Except when I don’t want to really be accountable to myself for what I ate on any given (bad) day. I would rather, like Ping, go astray, look for something yummy to eat, and avoid the spank (or the smack in the face) of seeing how much I actually consumed at a given meal that I know was too big. Or waaay too big. Or binge-y.
I am working really diligently to change that. I am finding that being honest with myself about food is getting easier the more I commit to it. The more I make it a habit, the less I fight myself over it. I just do it. I might not need to or choose to forever, but right now it is very helpful feedback. I am getting a clearer picture of what trips me up over and over (curse you, red meat and wine!). But also this: I am seeing what I am doing well. I am seeing the good choices I am making. I get to see, in black and white, that I am making more good choices than bad, that I have a lot more meals that I am proud of than ashamed of.
Some weeks I want to avoid the accountability of weighing in at my Weight Watchers meeting. Facing the consequences there is even more fraught, because the scale doesn’t always move the way I want it to, or as fast as I would like, or even make much sense week to week. Sometimes I have a loss or a gain that seems so at odds with my how I ate that week. But Heather at Halfsizeme.com assures me that it is the downward trend, the six week average that really counts, so I am getting better at not letting the scale dictate my mood.
And even when I get a little spank on the scale I am happy to have found my way home. I love my meeting and my fabulous leader, Kelly. I love the other people there in the struggle with me. I am in awe of the lifetimers who keep coming back even after they have lost the weight. I think they do it partly to cheer the rest of us on, to serve as role models. But even more importantly, I think, they have figured out how to be accountable — not to Weight Watchers — but to themselves.