One thing I know to be true is that I never regret going to the gym or working out. I regret NOT going, but never regret going. (I mean except when I didn’t plan to wash my hair but the workout got sweatier than anticipated, that happened to me yesterday) Anywho, the same thing happens with food. We never wake up and regret the days we ate healthy or stuck to our diets. Even on vacation, when meals are special and drinks are foreign, even if we refrain from indulging…we never regret it. Yet, we often regret the days we do give into temptation. This is something I’ve known for a very long time. I know I HATE the way I feel when I eat poorly, unplanned and unnecessarily. But in the moment, when were staring at what we think we want and what we think we should eat, we forget about the regret we’ve felt in the past and if we do remember that regret is coming, we justify why we shouldn’t feel the regret this time around.

I have a friend who I text when I binge. She texts me when she does also. Recently her and I met for coffee before work and we were talking about looking at food differently. Unlike me who is a carb-o-holic, her weakness is cheese. She told me how recently she felt really badly after overeating cheese. She said that cheese binge made her realize that she needed to look at food as gift to herself. A gift that she wanted to still be enjoying hours later.

She said, “When I binge on something unhealthy it makes me unproductive and insecure, and I feel the opposite if I eat something good.. So now it becomes a favor to myself to eat better, and it has made the food taste like I’m doing something good for me. CONSCIOUSLY going in the other direction is masochistic.”

The truth is, this is a lot easier said than done. Especially when food has always been looked at to us as love, family, celebration, medicine and pleasure. But, if we change the way we look at things, things can begin to look different.

After that conversation, as the universe would have it, this article popped up on my news feed on Facebook.

This 1 Simple Realization Shifted My Overeating Patterns


read about my current decision to stop dieting. (eyes covered monkey face emoji)

I’ve often said, I just want to be normal when it comes to food. I want to be able to approach every meal with ease. I want to be able to walk into any restaurant without fear. I often have a vision that I’m sitting at a restaurant, looking at a menu and I order whatever I feel like eating. I eat as much as I want/need. I don’t think about calories and I leave the meal and never think of it again. I think about living this way often.

I am the person who overthinks every meal or order. I’m always “trying” to eat the right thing. I often scan a menu looking for the lowest calorie foods. I’ve created false beliefs for myself over the years that there are foods on a menu that are simply off limits to people like me. If you’re like me, you’ve placed labels on food. Food fits into two categories:  good and bad. If I eat a good food, I’ll lose weight.  If I eat a bad food, I’ll get fat. It’s very cut and dry in this simple minded weight obsessed mind of mine.

Here is an example of a typical meal for me, at a restaurant specifically.  Every option and consequence races through my head.. I should get a salad. I should get a salad with grilled chicken to add protein. I wonder what type of dressings they have. I should get it on the side obviously. I read the list of salads, they have many ingredients and I get scared. Are these salads even healthy? If I’m going to end up eating the same amount of calories with the salad as the pasta then I’m getting the pasta. My attention veers over to the pasta. I read all the options, fantasizing about being a person who just orders pasta if they want pasta. Let me compromise, maybe I’ll get a chicken dish, limit the carbs, increase my protein but still have something more enjoyable than a salad.  No be good, back to the salad. Screw the salad let me get the most fattening thing on the menu because I’ve officially decided I’m having a cheat day. 

This usually goes on until it’s time for the waiter or waitress to take my order, I ask to order last. If I chose the salad I feel sad and deprived. If I choose the pasta or more fattening meal I feel the taste of regret before I’ve even taken my first bite. And I’ve already vowed to start my diet tomorrow.

It’s exhausting to live this way and it’s one of the most frustrating things for people who struggle with food.

 

 

This past week,  I made a decision to try living “normal.” I use quotes around this word, normal, because I’ve been told that no one is normal when it comes to food. It’s funny because I always make decisions to try diets. This time, I made a decision to try to “not be on a diet.” And just out of principle, I started this practice on a Tuesday. I often talk about how I feel  I’ve been on a diet every day of my life so making the decision to live  this way for the time being is a combination of feeling relieved and feeling scared. It’s a huge relief to not have to “worry about losing weight” but it also comes with the fear of gaining.

I actually found myself out to eat a lot this week and I did what I said I would. I was going to order exactly what I was craving. Not what I thought I SHOULD eat but what I thought I WANTED to eat. At California Pizza Kitchen I ordered a BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, dressing on the side (usually I’d try to find the lowest calorie salad with nothing but greens and chicken, this had beans and chips and corn, whoa.) At a Mexican restaurant I ordered a burrito (usually i’d order fajitas to ditch the carbs) At an Italian restaurant I ordered Spaghetti Bolognese and ate fried calamari as an appetizer. At cheesecake factory I ordered turkey and avocado with mayo on a brioche bun and split sweet potato fries with my BFF. Twice this week I had a bagel for breakfast, once with egg whites and once with cream cheese. I have a bagel maybe once every 6 months. And I also let myself snack on animal crackers, pretzels & cereal. Usually i’d stick to vegetables, fruits or nuts.

The interesting thing about this past week, I thought about food less. I of course feared I was gaining weight more but I tried to put that out of my head for the good of my experiment. But a couple things happened that I thought was worth sharing, the way I shared those sweet potato fries. First, I was able to put a meal behind me. When I eat very restrictively I feel like I always want more. Next, I went more hours in between meals because I was satisfied.  I think what happens when we are “always on a diet” is that we’re always looking for the first opportunity to get off it. Next, I didn’t binge or overeat. Interesting enough, when no food was off limits, I never needed to binge on that food. I wasn’t planning “last hurrahs” with these foods because I wasn’t dieting the next day. If I wanted that food the next day I could to have it, therefore, I didn’t think about it as much. Next, I noticed I didn’t need to eat as much for dessert or late at night. I think when we are dieting, even if we aren’t hungry we convince ourselves we are because we just feel so deprived. Finally, I didn’t finish my meals and snacks completely. Again, the freedom of allowing myself to, took away the need.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t weighed myself. But that’s not the point, the point is I feel ok. Better than ok actually. I plan to continue this way of life for the time being and I will continue to blog about my feelings.

This has all been very eye opening to me and I think a lot of amazing things can happen when we stop dieting, and what I am seeing is that stopping dieting doesn’t have to mean gaining weight.

See here’s the thing, there are always a million cases FOR DIETING. But maybe we can build a case for weight loss, that involves NOT DIETING. A what a wonderful world that would be!

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4 Lessons about weight loss I learned from my dog.

I’ll never forget the day my family got a dog. I never was a big animal lover, frankly they scared me. No idea why either. Maybe something happened to me as a child. My family moved around a lot as a child and we just were labeled, “not a dog family.” So junior year of high school when I came home to a sign on the garage door that said, ” beware of dog,” needless to say I was NOT happy. My mom had gotten my youngest brother a dog named Brooklyn. That was 15 years ago. Recently our dog, Brooklyn, had to be put down. 

Over the 15 years, Brooklyn and I did grow close and I did love that little dog. She was never more than 9 pounds and she loved table food. She was a mush too. We used to joke that if a robber came in to our house we weren’t home, she’d just roll over and have the bugler pet her instead of barking. Sometimes, when my husband was out of town for a stretch of nights I’d have her come stay with me to keep me company. So a couple weeks ago when my mom informed the family that we would have to put her down, it was late at night and I remember waking up very sad. I’d describe it as a helpless sadness. In fact, I admit, I did wake up and think it was appropriate to eat chips for breakfast to soothe my sadness.

The thing about grief is that it often comes with guilt. With a pet, instead of remembering all the happiness, love and quality that little animal companion contributed to our family, we tend to be hard on ourselves. Instead of remembering that adorable little face that greeted us at the door everyday, we remember  the time we were too tired for a walk. Instead of thinking fondly of the long walks we did take together, we worry about the time we yelled when she peed on the rug.  I also think that sadness comes from the unknown. We aren’t sure what life will be like without this pet. We anticipate the fear of walking in the door and not seeing the little dog wagging her tail, excited to see us, even if we’re in the midst of dislocating our arms carrying in all our groceries.

To settle my sadness, and in honor of my family’s little dog, I wanted to put together a list of the things 4 that she taught me.

FIRST, WAKE UP EXCITED TO EXERCISE. A dog is pumped the minute you put him or her on their lease to hit the streets first thing in the morning. They don’t care about how many miles they walk or run, they don’t care how many calories they burn, they don’t care about the weather. They just want to be active. It’s so easy for us to hit snooze the minute the alarm goes off. We may even be hitting snooze on the workout we set our alarm early for. In that moment, the satisfaction we feel in the split second we decide to skip our workout is high.  And, I know I often get caught up in the all or nothing mentality that comes with working out. I rationalize that if I can’t workout for an hour, why workout at all. I constantly question which workout I should choose based on which is going to burn the most calories. If I wakeup and workout will I be depriving myself of sleep, I question? So many questions so little movement.  Let’s be like our dogs, just get up and go…even if it’s just a ten minute walk around the block, it’s always worth it. It’s always healthy.

SECOND, STAY LOYAL TO WHAT YOU LOVE. No one is more loyal than a dog. They are loyal to their people, they are loyal to their favorite activities, they are loyal to their favorite foods. In the 15 years I knew my dog, she really didn’t change too much. Among her favorites, she liked peanut butter on a spoon, she liked licking the yogurt container clean and she enjoyed scrambled eggs. And I never saw her eat something she didn’t want to. Often times we try to eat what we think we should, instead of eating what we actually like. If I had a dime for every time at breakfast I tried to eat cottage cheese or yogurt cause I thought “i should since it’s healthy” instead of just eating the banana and peanut butter like I wanted I’d be rich. We’re all constantly eating the foods we think we should, instead of the foods we like. We forget the beauty of automating our meals when it comes to eating healthy. If everyday for breakfast you want oatmeal with berries, have the oatmeal and berries. Because when force yourself to chock down the yogurt or cottage cheese, unsatisfied, an hour later, you’re knee deep in the first carb you lay your eyes on.

NEXT, ENJOY YOUR ALONE TIME. As much as our dogs love when we are around, the minute the house gets quiet, they retreat to relax. For Brooklyn, her favorite places of rest varied over the years. One of my favorites was when she would lay all day in my dad’s closet when no one was home. Us humans have such FOMO. We’re constantly scrolling social media to see what we are missing out on when we aren’t out. I think many of us are actually scared to be home alone with our own thoughts. Loneliness and boredom are two of the most popular triggers for emotional eating. We don’t let ourselves relax, we don’t even let ourselves nap. We feel the need to be “on” 24/7. We feel the need to be “in the know.” We need to remember, that just like our dogs need their down time, so do we. They wouldn’t be so happy to see us when we came home if they weren’t fully refreshed.

FINALLY, SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY EATING. I believe my dog was the happiest  when she was eating. She loved food from the minute she was born. I used to watch her wag her tail anxiously waiting for food and the minute she got the go ahead, it was game over. She could finish off an egg in 4 seconds flat. I used to think to myself, slow down! Savor that food! Did you even taste that?! But that’s something I need to remind myself. I eat too fast and forget to actually enjoy my food all the time. I need to slow down and savor the flavor, just like I used to wish Brooklyn did:)

Thank you Brooklyn for teaching me these lessons and many more, I’ll miss you!

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How to stop “starting your diet tomorrow”

I often find myself at the crossroads between continuing on the “healthy eating/diet road” I’m currently on or choosing the road filled with temptation/giving in/ (re) starting my diet at a later time.”
I’m at that crossroad usually 1 to 2 to 3 times a week. I’d say on average I can go 4 days straight of eating well and then I come to that fork in the road. Here’s the problem when I find myself in that place, it’s never “have a little of what I want and find my way quickly  back to the road of healthy.” It’s always, veer off course and live in  the  “I’ll start again at another time window.”

That’s the small window of time before a diet stats or  restarts. It is usually a last ditch effort to savor every ounce of sugar, salt and fat that we assume we will never eat for the rest of our lives. After all, this will be the diet that ends all diets. For some of us that window is every Sunday night. For some of us that window is a couple times a year. The mentality is if we’ve  been eating crappy, why not pick it up a notch knowing we’re starting a diet a some point in the near future.

A “eat everything in sight before a diet start binge” usually goes something like this for me…it starts with a deep desire to graze. A twizzler here, a cookie there, maybe a solid ten minutes of chips, dip and ½ an episode of 2 Broke Girls. Then it usually progresses to a meal, the most elaborately thought out “cheat meal” in the world. For me, probably, Penne Vodka or an order of General Tsos with an extra egg roll. I’ll probably have some cookie dough ice cream later that I picked up while grocery shopping for my healthy new diet starting tomorrow. Then the night will end most likely with a sleeve of ritz crackers, a jar of peanut butter and somehow candy leftover from Halloween. After all, I really don’t plan on ever eating any of this ever again so I must eat it all before the clock strikes midnight. 

Whenever we do that, instead of not losing the weight, we tend to eat more, we give ourselves permission to eat. If we’re constantly giving ourselves a new starting line, we’re going to constantly give ourselves an excuse to have one last hurrah, whether that be a day, a week, or a month. 
I have been realizing that that mentality is exhausting. It’s a constant running dialogue in my head. It’s a constant state of planning and plotting and not just living. 

Everyday we’re trying to free ourselves from the chains of the all or nothing eating mentality. We’re trying to free ourselves from the constant need to start an extreme diet with no plan, no end, no structure in an attempt to undo recent damage. 

It often feels like we’re on a treadmill, a constant Loop of high intensity interval training, sprint, walk, sprint, walk. Yet all this running, but no progress. The frustrating thing, this all happens in our head. The decision to take the “I’ll start again tomorrow” road, it’s an impulse. It’s a decision made alone. 

My goal is to try to get off the treadmill and try to take a long walk instead. A long calm walk. It’s something I’m going to have to train for. And I know my goal won’t get easier, but I do hope I get stronger.


Why you don’t need an extreme diet today to make up for overeating this weekend

For many of us, waking up today is hard, not only because our three-day weekend is over and it’s back to the real world, but also because many of us are waking up suffering from a food hangover accompanied with severe eating regret.

On days like today, our alarm goes off, it takes us a split second to orient ourselves. Then questions of, where are we, what day is it, why is our alarm going off at this time all run through our sleepy minds. And then if you’re like me, thoughts of remorse immediately set in. Before I can even readjust my blanket and pillow to settle in for another 8 minute snooze I physically feel the food I ate yesterday.

The feelings of eating regret can be overwhelming. It’s that inner voice that beats us up after we overeat, especially after we swore up and down that we wouldn’t. This voice is woven so deeply in our makeup that it has become a natural response. To get rid of these feeling quickly we tend to make an overly aggressive action plan to compensate for any damage done over the holiday weekend.You may even be reading this right now with the intent of only eating 6 grapes today to “make up” for what you ate yesterday.

Here’s one thing I am trying to teach myself…it’s that days like today, the days after we overeat, that are more important than the day of eating itself. It’s because days like today, are the days that we truly can begin to free ourselves from the chains of chronic dieting. When we remove the destructive behaviors of extreme dieting the days following extreme eating we stop giving ourselves an excuse to overeat.

How many times have we been at the crossroads of giving in to temptation and not giving in and given in simply with the “plans” to overcompensate the next day. We think, “it’s ok for me to eat anything I want today, I’ll just make up for it tomorrow.” Or we think, I’ll make today the last day I ever eat anything bad ever again and start my diet tomorrow.”

My point is, that by forgiving ourselves for what we may have done yesterday, or the whole weekend and eating like a normal healthy person today, will actually bring us one step closer to a happy, healthy relationship with food. It’s not days like holidays we have to focus on, it’s the days after when we battle with those inner demons.

So today, right now, if you feel like crap, if you feel bloated, if you feel angry at yourself and mostly importantly, if you’ve committed to punishing yourself today with words or an extreme juice cleanse, think again.

Grab a cup of coffee, a healthy breakfast, and leave the past in the past. Not just the past of yesterday and what you ate, but the past of years of extreme eating and extreme restriction. And I hope that just by lifting those expectations we set for ourselves, we feel lighter, the day becomes a little more bright and life feels a little easier.

Happy 5th of July:)!

 

 


Basic Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss Volume 3: 4th of July Edition

Summer has officially begun. When Fourth of July hits, there’e no denying that summer is here. That’s why it’s that time again… Time for, another edition of, The Basic Girls guide to Health. Let’s all take a moment to remind ourselves that we’re all little basic when it comes to summer, specifically the 4th of July. You can deny it BUT if anywhere on your Instagram feed a firework picture, quintessential flag jean shorts, a patriotic manicure or a Pinterest flag cake can be found, stay tuned.

Since I believe we can all stick to our basic roots and still be healthy this summer, let’s touch on a few of the things that will be involved in all basic girl’s 4th of July upcoming weekends.

First Jean Shorts. Jean shorts have become somewhat of a status symbol if you ask me. They fall in the same category as the thigh gap. Literally impossible and completely ridiculous to strive for. No matter how hard we try to find the perfect pair, we’re never gonna look like the girl with the long hair in the American Eagle ad frolicking in a field, holding a flag, wearing a pair of jean shorts that fits perfectly. And those unrealistic expectations can take me from a dressing room to the nearest Auntie Anne’s Pretzel stand in 4 seconds flat. No need to even go there.

Basic Girls Guide to Jean Shorts
Rule 1: Don’t buy them
Rule 2: Buy every pair of flowery, patterned comfortables shorts that Express, Forever 21 and J-Crew sells. Then have that 1 black tank top, you all know one, that works with every and any outfit. Wear that everyday with said shorts.

Next BBQ’s. It’s a given that every one of us will find ourself at a BBQ this weekend. Maybe you’re even the one hosting. This BBQ will most likely take place roughly 5 hours before fireworks. For some reason, a bowl of Cool Ranch Doritos looks gourmet at a BBQ. I see the spread at most BBQs and the pleasure centers in my brain light up and I immediately transform into Joey Chestnut. And although I planned to NOT overdo it this year, 10 minutes plus 1 Bud Light Razz-A-Rita and my plan is ancient history.

Basic Girl’s Guide @ a BBQ
Rule 1: BYOS. Bring Your Own Something. Just one item of food that will keep your grounded in the midst of caloric heaven. Maybe it’s hummus and veggies, maybe it’s a giant bag of Costco Skinny Pop. Maybe it’s a platter of Deli Turkey Roll-ups. Just bring something that you know may be able to minimize the damage if you get out of control.
Rule 2: Don’t be fooled by Red, White and Blue everything. It’s easy to walk into a BBQ and think everything is “special” because it’s red, white and blue. BUT remind yourself, those are just marshmellows, those are just Oreos, those are just Chips a Hoy with Red, White and Blue M&Ms, that’s just a bowl of Red, White and Blue Mike & Ikes. Even though the colors are different, they are foods that we can get anytime of the year, they aren’t worth the calories. Save them for something more special, more of a delicacy.
Rule 3: Break up with the bun. The good thing about BBQs is the actual meaning of the name. BBQs mean protein, lots of it. Steak, chicken, hamburgers, even a hot dog, all things that really won’t do that much damage if you leave the bun off.

Next, Alcohol. It’s a basic girl’s religion to show up to any party with a bottle of Rose. Holding an oversized wine glass with sunkissed skin, Tory Burch sunglasses and beach wavey hair is SO everything we imagine when we think of ourselves being photographed in the summer. But alcohol, wine especially really can be a diet downfall.

Basic Girl’s Guide to Alcohol
Rule 1-4: Vodka Soda, Vodka Diet Coke, Vodka Diet Sprite, Vodka Diet Coke Zero
It’s just gonna keep the carbs down. So add a lime, grab 4 mason jars for $3 Michael’s, pick up a package of red, white and blue straws in the $1 bin at target and own that low carb cocktail.

Next, Iced coffee. There is nothing as refreshing as grabbing an iced coffee on your drive to the beach. Especially since Starbucks is part of the basic girls uniform. There is no way we can not have Starbucks just because our hot drink isn’t applicable in the summer. And don’t even get my started on the perfection of “Frappy Hour.” But some iced drinks at Starbucks can really pack on the pounds.

Basic Girl’s Guide to Iced Coffee
Rule 1: Order a Cold Brew, they add about 2 tbsp of water too it so that will help keep you hydrated.
Rule 2: Order a size smaller in a bigger cup, with extra ice. That ice will melt and make the drink less calories but just as filling.
Rule 3: All frapuccinos can be made into a “light” version. Just ask!

Next, The Instagram picture of your legs that look like Hot Dogs on the beach.
Rule 1: Don’t take it.
Rule 2: Don’t post it.

Next, Fro-Yo. Every night in the summer we need fro-yo. Not only does a basic girl need fro-yo but a basic girl needs fro-yo and an instagram worthy picture of her perfectly made cup of captain crunch, gummy bears, 4 raspberries and a dusting of coconut. $13 dollar at the register, who cares, this is a work of art. But sadly we may all be fooled by the word “Yogurt.” It’s packed with sugar and carbs😦

Basic Girl’s Guide to Fro-Yo (stolen from Glamour! I really liked their tips)

The Do’s & Don’t of Fro Yo!

Happy 4th! Rock your basicness!!


To the women who’ve been on a diet every day of their lives

Do you ever sit back and think, OMG I’ve basically been on a diet everyday of my life. Sounds dramatic but seriously, since I decided to start a diet at the age of 9, I’ve been on a diet everyday since. And by diet I mean, I actually feel like I’m always on a diet. I’m thinking about what I eat, when I eat, when I’m going to stop eating, how much weight I have to lose to get to my goal, when I’m going to start my next diet to get there, what diet I will start to get there, how the bad food I’m eating is sabatoging my current diet ect. ect. ect. It’s the never ending inner monologue of a lifelong dieter.

It hit me in barre class the other day. I was at my 5th class of the week, I usually try to push myself to 5 classes a week. A. I like it, B. it makes my monthly membership fee make economic sense and C. I need to lose weight, because like I stated earlier, I’m always on a diet. During an intense thigh session at the barre, I thought to myself, I should look like a super model the amount I go to this damn workout. Then I actually panicked thinking…I wonder if my husband, or anyone for that matter, is ever thinking, she goes to barre all the time and she doesn’t look like a supermodel. Then like a ton of bricks it hit me, I’ve been on a diet everyday of my life and I have nothing to show for it. I’m not at my goal weight. I’m not super thin. I have 4 sizes of jeans in my closet at all times. I still rock the flowy tops to cover the muffin top. I depend on the skinny arm pose in pictures and have cellulite that’s become like a tattoo, permanent. All this time, effort and money I have put into losing weight and I STILL haven’t hit that goal weight. Frankly, I feel like I’m still “not perfect.” Talk about depressing. Talk about physically feeling failure.

Let’s talk this out. It’s actually NOT a bad thing that we’ve “been on a diet every day of our lives.” What if us gals (or guys) that have been on a diet every day of our lives are the success stories. I think there’s a lack of praise for the weight we are now and for what we have accomplished by doing what we do everyday. Sure, we all may be 10, 20, 50 pounds from our goal weight but where would we be if we weren’t always trying to get there. We may be in a much much worse situation and living at a very heavier weight, unhealthier.

Let’s look at yo yo dieting through this lenses as well. Hi, I’m Nicole and I’m a yo yo dieter. Hiii Nicole. I have fluctuated the same 19 pounds my entire adult life. Yes, 19. You, like me, may also have “your numbers.” Your highest, you’re lowest and everything in between. And each number means something different and makes us feel a different emotion. When I get to my highest, it’s panic mode. But the key word, my highest. It’s my highest because I’ll never let myself go higher. That’s thanks to the lifelong dieter in me. It’s the self awareness that many of us perpetual dieters have that’s actually a blessing and working to our advantage. There’s a reason we keep all sizes of clothes in our closets, we know we will need them all and that’s ok because all 4 sizes are who we are at different times.

How many of us think that if we get to a certain weight at a certain time we will never have to diet again? It’s a great thought…but let’s be honest, that’s never going to happen. We will always have to be watching what we eat, for our health, not just our waistline. Even the people we look at and think look perfect, have to watch what they eat. 

Weight loss will always be a journey, never a destination. And we all need to throw out false truths we’ve picked up along the way that at a certain point we can “eat whatever we want” and not gain a pound. It’s just not true.

So to all us girls who feel like we’ve  been on a diet everyday of their lives,  we have and we’re better versions of ourselves because of it. In the end, a diet is never about the weight, it’s about constantly striving to be better. 

Think of it this way, if you work every day of your life to make money (which most of us do) and you don’t have a saving account, that doesn’t make you a failure. You’re still making money. You still have a career. That money you make everyday is helping you live, eat, raise a family and most importantly , live happy.  The same way your bank account doesn’t represent success, the scale doesn’t represent failure.