Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How Sara Got Her Groove Back

So I’m an accountant, and believe me, no one is more surprised at this than I am. It was never on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up, but when I stumbled upon my aptitude for the field it turned out to be a happy accident. I look back on the circumstances that sent me down this career path and I’m satisfied that no matter how I got here, it turns out that I am exactly where I should be.

The basic principles of Accounting are simple and finite. Debits equal credits. Revenue minus expenses equals profit. Even when the details get complicated and confusing, at the end of the day the rules still apply, and everything makes sense. I’m attracted to the order of it all, the way that messy piles of data can be sorted and categorized until they create the certainty of the bottom line. Being able to find the patterns in the chaos is comforting to me, reminds me that there is nothing so complicated that I can’t eventually untangle it.

Sort of like life, really.

The longer I live, the more I’ve come to believe that the same basic principles of accounting apply to life at large. It’s a little theory I call “Emotional Finance”. I think that each of us has a finite amount of mental energy to spend, and we’ve got to use it to deal with all the everyday (and extraordinary) crises and obligations that life sends our way. Whatever energy we have left after the emotional bills are paid is our profit, our “emotional margin” that we can spend however we like. And until recently, I just didn’t have any.

One of the first costs I cut when my margin ran in the red was my focus on weight loss. Don’t let the diet commercial testimonials fool you; this weight loss stuff isn’t effortless. It takes concentration and an extraordinary level of dedication to fight against your very nature on a daily basis. It can be as rewarding as it is exhausting, but make no mistake about it: the daily fight against the fat is HARD WORK. And it’s never-ending. Some days are easier than others, but I firmly believe that there is no cure for obesity at this time, there is only the constant, vigilant management of the condition. And constant vigilance comes at a price, one I just couldn’t afford to pay for a while.

Then a few months ago, things began to change. Life eased up a bit, and my emotional balance sheet started to look different than it had for a long time. I found my emotional margin steadily increasing, and while I watched the balance in my energy account increasing I started to think about all the ways I wanted to spend it. I thought about the things that made me happy and I told myself that when I had enough saved up to feel comfortable that I’d turn my attention back to those pursuits. And one day, I checked the balance, made a withdrawal, and bought back my life.

It was six weeks ago when I walked back into Weight Watchers, stepped on the scale, saw the number on it, and got back down to business. I’ve spent the last six weeks back in control, and remembering just how good that feels. I’ve watched weight decrease each week, and I’ve felt my confidence and resolve increase proportionately. I’ve celebrated my new successes, and forgiven myself for the failures of the past.

So I’m back on my game. And believe me, no one is more surprised about that than I am. I look back on the circumstances that got me to this point on my weight loss path and I’m satisfied that no matter how I got here, it turns out that I am exactly where I should be.


  1. Thank you for writing this, Sara!

    I could have written it myself....except I don't have 6 weeks under my belt. I just re-committed this week....and I must admit, it's still a bit "scary" and I'm still feeling a bit shaky about things. I somehow got lost for a few months, but like you, I know it's my time again.

    Hang in there, Sara. You continue to inspire me.

    Cheryll (CheryllAC on the WW boards)

  2. hello Sara!

    I had already made the decision to go to my meeting today...knowing that I am facing a big gain. Maybe 15 pounds. And reading this has reminded me that I am not the only one that struggles daily with my weight. I have also had a great deal going on with my life and didn't have/or make time for focusing on weight watchers. And as you pointed out in your post...focusing on ourselves and our food intake does take a great deal of concentration and dedication. I just needed all of that elsewhere.

    But today I am going to weigh in...and I am starting again. And I also want to believe that that I am exactly where I should be.

    Thank you for all of your blogging and posting on the weight watcher website. You have truly made a difference in my life Sara!