#SOL18 Just a Number

As I padded down the hallway in the early morning light, I visualized the scale reading a certain number. A number that would put me in a decade of numbers I haven't been in quite some time ( 8 years!). I'm so close! I worked so hard yesterday and I just FEEL thinner. I step on the scale, hold my breath and am crushed to see it exactly the same as the day before. Which means an ounce less and I'll be in that new decade. But stuck I am here, in this one I desperately want to leave behind. 

Since May, I've been following a program called 2BMindset through BeachBody. It's a deviation from the usual BeachBody programs which mostly focus on the workout and then an eating plan that accompanies it. 2BMindset was created by Ilana Muhlstein and it focuses on the mindset you need to lose weight as well as the strategies she offers. Ilana herself has lost 100 pounds and is beautiful and inspirational. The program doesn't involve points or containers and is quite common sense. 

Yet- it's hard work. It's a big change in lifestyle- in the beverages I drink each day (now mostly water), to the meals I eat ("veggies most"). I bring my own food to social events sometimes. I skip outings that involve restaurants when possible. I have tea in the evening if I want something sweet. When my son asked me what my favorite foods were yesterday, I answered "pizza and pasta" but I don't eat them very much at all anymore. (While they are my favorite, they are not my body's favorite.) 

Part of the program means weighing yourself each day. The idea is to make the scale less an enemy and use it for information. Understand why what you ate one day might have influenced that number. Understand that it fluctuates and look for patterns over time. Use it as an accountability tool to get you to your goal instead of seeing it as a scary judge. 

I'm working hard and seeing results but when there is so much more to go, it's hard to have a number not reflect the effort. This made me think about high stakes tests and how it is one snapshot on one day, much like today on the scale. And all the effort and facets of a student that are not seen in that one snapshot. What will truly make a difference to my weight loss? Developing the habits, the mindset, the confidence, and putting in the effort. Tomorrow, it could drop 2 pounds or be up 1. It will be the consistent effort over time that will lead to my ultimate weight loss. Learning and growth will happen along the way.

And, so this is true too, for our students. It is their consistent effort over time that matters. It is their belief that they are learners- readers, writers, curious people who want to learn about the world and ultimately make a contribution to it. It's not about being defined by a test score. It's not about being defined by a scale. 

Let's look at our students test scores as one piece of a larger puzzle. Might it offer us some information? Sure! Is it the whole picture? Absolutely not. 

Off to my healthy breakfast and another day of working towards my goal. I'll get there! 


  1. First off, yay YOU! You are amazing for taking the time and energy to take care of you! Second, yay YOU the teacher writer who took her life and connected it to our work as teachers. This line says it all "it is their consistent effort over time that matters" - this is true for students and teachers! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I lost some weight during the school year & put it all back on over the summer...too much eating out. I am looking forward to going back to the routine of school and getting back on track.

  3. I love reading stories about self care. You've got this! I've been trying some things myself in this area as well. It still isn't going well...yet. :) I love the connection to the classroom. It's not Just about the number is it? Thanks for sharing and inspiring this morning!

  4. Great analogy! Not only because my scale increased a pound after a week without dessert and with many days of exercise, but because I wholeheartedly agree about the testing. I'm not sure if its true everywhere, but we can retest students who fail as long as we have parent permission. So many of them pass the second time around just two weeks later. I guarantee it has more to do with anxiety than ability. We must consider the long game!

  5. After I read your intro I was sure you would get to the analogy of test scores. I was so happy that you did! Firstly, congratulations on being so close to your goal! Weight loss is hard! I am heavier now that I have been my whole life and really could stand to loose ten pounds. I know that doesn't seem like a lot but for a person who was always underweight, now being slightly overweight is bothersome and fools with not only my body image but self image. I agree, consistency is the key. And, you are so right to remind us that test scores are just a snap shot of that day - they do not define the child or even the learning that might be taking place. Thanks for an enjoyable post!

  6. Numbers as information, not the enemy makes good sense. And certainly as it pertains to our students they are TONS more than what test scores can ever indicate. Good for you for staying the course and keeping the faith in yourself.

  7. LOVE the idea of thinking of the scale as an information provider and not an enemy. It really does change the mindset around weight loss. Keep going, Kathleen!

  8. There's information, and then there's how my brain (over)reacts to said information ;) I appreciated your subtle coaching in this reflection about ways to parse information a little more dispassionately. Best to you on both your teaching and living journeys.


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