The Curse of Week 2

Nobody told me about the Curse of Week 2.

A couple of weeks ago my son, Calvin, and I started a new Experimental Collective at Vintage. This go-around is on the theme of freedom, and we are focusing on practical ways to experience greater freedom by taking head-on some of the stuff that has been bogging us down. Our collective is specifically focusing on healthy lifestyle choices – diet, exercise, etc.

scale.001We are using the Game On approach. We have split into two teams, and we get points based on how we do with a variety of things – portion control, drinking water, eating vegetables, exercise, getting enough sleep, no alcohol, adding a positive habit and getting rid of a negative one – that kind of thing.

 

I was very eager to be a part of this collective because since the holidays (and maybe before) I have been feeling very bad about my physical health. I weighed more than I ever had. My clothes were tight. I wasn’t sleeping good. I just felt miserable. This collective has been my opportunity to turn around an area of my life that I had let get out of control.

The first week went wonderfully. I was excited to be doing it. I enjoyed the challenge, even when it was an inconvenience. Calvin and I started running 5 days a week at 6am. We go a mile and a half before the sun is up. I’ve been going to the chiropractor with regularity (part of my healthy habit), and I’ve got back on the caffeine-free wagon (my unhealthy habit).

Maybe my favorite part of the Game On competition is drinking 3 liters of water a day. At first, I was hitting the bathroom every 10 minutes or so. But now, I’ve learned to really enjoy drinking that much water through the course of the day.

 

The hardest part for me has been not being able to weigh myself daily. In the Game On competition, you lose points if you step on the scale more than once a week. This part has been hard for me. I’m a guy who likes to crunch the numbers. I like to chart the metrics and see what kind of progress is being made. Not having a daily number to know where I stand has been frustrating.

Which is part of the reason why I so enjoy Sunday mornings. Sundays are my cheat day. One day a week, you are exempt from all rules. Big portions. Dessert. Beer. Bacon. It’s glorious.

And since I’m cheating on Sunday, I decided that Sunday morning is the best time for me to have my weekly weigh in. Last Sunday, I stepped on the scale, and I was down 7.5 pounds. Woohoo! Yeah me!

This accomplishment gave me so much confidence to head into week 2 strong. I had another perfect week – sleep, water, exercise, vegetables, the whole shooting match. Yesterday morning, I stepped onto the scale to chart my progress, hopeful to hit a milestone for which I was aiming.

And … nothing.

Exactly the same as the last Sunday.

All those vegetables. All that running. All those bottles of water. All for naught.

The number was the same.

As a metrics guy, this was really discouraging to me. My mind started to race, searching for reasons. Had I eaten too much during my Friday night cheat meal? Was is the last bottle of water I drank before going to bed Saturday night? Had I been unwittingly miscalculating my portions?

 

What do you do in times like this? Of course, I googled it up on my google machine. Apparently, this is a thing. The second week of a diet is often the worst week. Week 1 is when you drop all the water weight. Week 3 is when you begin a slow and steady slope toward your goal. Week 2 is the bump in the road. In fact, most people actually gain weight in the second week of a diet. I don’t watch the show, but apparently on The Biggest Loser, this is known as “The Curse of Week 2.”

This is the reason so many people quit dieting. They get discouraged when they see the number on the scale. They think it’s not working. And they give up.

Since I like to chart the metrics, I’ve got to be careful not to be discouraged that the number at the start of Week 3 on my spreadsheet is the same as the number at the beginning of Week 2. Instead, I’m trying to focus on some other true metrics:

Like how my clothes fit better.

Like how I can button a suit jacket I couldn’t a few weeks ago.

Like how I feel much better.

Like how I can run farther and faster than I could two weeks ago.

Like how I am sleeping great lately.

 

As I’ve been reflecting on the Curse of Week 2, it’s got me thinking about a broader truth. Not just in healthy lifestyle choices, but in so many areas of life, we can easily get discouraged and be tempted to quit when doing the right thing doesn’t lead to the results we expect. The Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

There are other areas of my life right now where I am not all that satisfied with the metrics. Some of the numbers, so to speak, are letting me down. I am doing what I am supposed to do, being faithful in my responsibilities, not cheating … but it’s not showing up in the results.

Sometimes I feel tempted to quit, to give up, to walk away. But then I remember that, just as the number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, so too can other performance metrics not reveal all that is actually happening.

And so, I start Week 3 with confidence and vigor. And I keep going in other areas too. The Curse of Week 2 isn’t going to get me this time.

 

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