One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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Ask Roni – Scale Habits? Gone Full Circle?

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Scale Habit Circle

Seems like you have been doing a great job working out, but why haven’t you been weighing in???? As far as I can tell, it’s been 2 months since you hopped on the scale.
-Joyce

Funny you should ask that today! I was planning a post about this very topic for a a while now. Let me start at the beginning and by the end (I think) I’ll answer that question.

In my teens and my early 20s I would say I was obsessed with my body more then I was obsessed with my weight. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But really, I wasn’t a scale obsessed girl. I was conscious that I was a overweight and I didn’t like the body I was in but I don’t remember hopping on the scale every day. I don’t even remember having one. I weighed in at doctors appointments and when I saw scales in my friends bathrooms.

Then in my mid 20s I started to become more scale aware. I bought my own. I weighed all the time and I really let if affect my mood. This was my crash diet phase. I was educating myself on diet and nutrition yet making unhealthy choices purely to change the number on the scale. When the number didn’t behave the way I wanted then I’d get depressed, eat more, get mad, starve myself and there you have it, the making of a classic yo-yo dieter.

My next scale phase started when I joined Weight Watchers. I loved the idea of having an “official” weigh in on their scales. It’s was like I was reporting to someone and that motivated me. Like I had something to prove to them and to their scale.

I started the Flex plan and something clicked. The plan seemed easy, logical and perfect for me. The scale started to go down and I was getting excited. So excited I started weighing myself every day. Many people may not agree but this helped me, immensely. I started to learn how my body reacted to certain foods. I saw the scale go up when I ate processed foods and I watched it go down when drank my water and made my own meals. This is what I call my domino phase. One good choice would lead to the next, and the next and I could measure the results on the scale.

This daily weighing lasted over 2 years. Some may say I was obsessed but I really wasn’t. At least I don’t think I was. I didn’t depend on the scale to tell me how my day was going, or let it affect my mood. If the number went up I was motivated to make healthier choices (not starve myself) and if it went down it made me smile and reinforced I was moving in the right direction.

Once I made goal and entered into maintenance I continued to weigh every day. Still gathering information about my body and learning about myself. By this point the habit of waking up, peeing and hopping on the scale was so ingrained in my morning routine I’d thought I’d do it forever. The scale wasn’t what I turned to measure my success it was another tool in my weight maintenance arsenal. Just like my food scale, my meal journal and my blog!

Now, well, now I’m can feel myself returning to scale indifference. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not falling off the wagon. I’m just evaluating myself using different means. Since starting my workout routines, weight lifting and now running I noticed my body is behaving differently then I expected. What I learned about myself and my weight while losing is not necessarily true now. The scale may go up when I’m doing well because I’m building muscle or recovering from a workout. And guess what? That’s OK. The weight watchen’ thing is so much more then a number on the scale for me now. It’s how I look, how my clothes fit and most importantly how I feel.

So, yes, I haven’t weighed in for about a month (I actually have one weigh in I didn’t post yet-can we say busy? WOW). It’s not that I’m never planning on weighing in again but I’d thought since my schedule has been so insane and I couldn’t make meetings anyway I’d use this time to “test” myself. Could I walk away from the scale, away from points, trust myself to eat healthy, to workout and to just live an active life without scale worry? Could I be one of those people. Those people who just seem to do the right things naturally?

I do plan on weighing in “officially” at Weight Watchers on Wednesday. It’s my favorite meeting, with my favorite leader (the one who I lost most of my weight with). Now that I don’t have classes my schedule (should) ease a bit. I guess I’ll find out how my little experiment has gone then. But honestly, whatever that scale says on wednesday, I know I’ve been doing really well. I feel great and (if I do say so myself – this is hard) I look great!

I hope this answers your question, Joyce. I know my scale habits aren’t for everyone and you may totally disagree with my philosophies. So in an effort to get everyone’s opinion on this I ask… (I probably should save this for a question of the week but, what the heck)

How do you weigh in? What are your scale habits?




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Discussion

There are 28 comments so far.

    txdona

    May 16, 2008

    I agree with everything you just wrote. I have been at every one of those “scale stages” you mentioned throughout my life. I tend to not step on the scale when I fear I might have gained – but I DO step on the scale when I’m feeling good. WW has helped me tremendously in way to many ways to count. All that to say, I havent been to a weigh in in about 6 weeks myself. (I plan to go this weekend) I cant tell you how much I appreciate your honesty and how many times I’ve said out loud, “I totally agree” with something you’ve written! :) I think the whole scale thing is such a personal thing for each individual and what works for one, maybe doesnt for the next. Thanks for all the inspiration you give us all. :) More power to you at your next weigh in! You have a great attitude about it and I’m sure you’ll do fine! Have a great night!

    MizFit

    May 16, 2008

    It surprised me, when I did a post on scales in viewer mail, how many people still weigh at least once a day.
    the easier/better barometer for me is as you say…how my clothes fit.

    specific clothes (my fave jeans which arent a REACH in size but really shouldnt be tight or I have gained five pounds or so).

    I do laugh that I did the MizFit bracelet but real world friends (I know. I *do* leave the computer :)) use it as a reminder not to weigh/that it’s about so much more than that.

    as always youre such a role model, Roni.
    have a great trip. hope it is somewhere *fun*
    M.

    Tara

    May 16, 2008

    I also enjoyed your post. I weigh myself every day but I am in the “stage” where I am learning about my body. It doesnt determine my mood (like it did when I first started) it is just showing me how food/exercise affects my body. I think its all about growing with this “journey” and eventually I to will go back to weighing once in awhile because I will already know what foods will do what.

    IzzyBeth

    May 16, 2008

    I still can’t weigh every day, because it DOES affect my moods. I weigh in every Friday morning – and then I sometimes weigh in a few days before, so that I know if I’m on track for a loss that week.

    I have been trying to pay more attention to how my clothes fit and how I feel so that someday maybe I won’t have to live by the scale. :-) Thanks for your blogs, I love reading them both!

    Scrumpy's Baker

    May 16, 2008

    I definitely used to be scale obsessed and I still fight the urge. But I know that when it isn’t the number I want, it leads me to eat “What’s the point?” And if it is the number I want, it leads me to eat “Because I deserve it.”

    Caroline

    May 16, 2008

    In all my weight gains and losses, I have never been obsessed with the scale, which I am grateful for. Basically, I think I’ve always been too afraid too much of what it will say to be obsessed by it. There’s no way I could weigh myself everyday, because I know it would affect my mood. But then I know there are other people that it really helps them to weigh everyday. When I joined WW “for real this time!” back in November, the first commitment I made to myself was to not miss a single week of WW before I got my 16 week “stay and succeed” award. I got that on March 10th, my true 16th week. Since November, I have missed 2 weeks of weighing in, and I just made another commitment not to miss anymore. I’ve realized that I am more terrified by the scale than obsessed by it. I really need to confront it once a week or I get scared and just stay away from it forever.

    Vickie

    May 16, 2008

    I have been on both sides.

    I weighed daily while in my losing phase. And that helped me.

    When I got pretty much to “goal” – the scale started reinforcing that feeling of “empty” (as in empty GI track and empty tummy and dehydration).

    There is a specific weight on the scale that sets this off in me. BECAUSE I was on the wrong psych meds – one of the side effects was that it brought out eating disordered type behavior.

    At a high weight, this might have been seen as helpful. but at a near goal weight – it was dangerous.

    I regained about 5 pounds on purpose and stopped weighing myself.

    That was a year ago.

    I am realizing that once I got on the right meds – the scale thing pretty much went away.

    I am back on the scale now – but on a very informal basis. I remember every couple weeks or so and the number is always exactly the same.

    I think that the scale is like any other “tool” – if it gets you safely to wear you want to be – then use it. if it reinforces unhealthy behavior, then find another means.

    I do not think that I would have gotten all my weight off without the scale – for those two years of losing.

    And I totally agree that once you start doing serious (weight training) exercise – you have to have a new relationship with the scale and some clothes.

    I think that if someone’s wardrobe is all stretch – they can’t rely on clothes as much. it is good to have the clothes measure be all non-stretch. There is no wiggle room there.

    Fatinah

    May 16, 2008

    I only weigh in at my WW meetings. My psyche can’t handle the mid-week fluctuations and they sometimes bring on a binge. The weight is high and I figure I’ve blown it, or it’s low and I think I have room to eat more. So, no peeking at the scale for me!

    deanna

    May 16, 2008

    I am all over the place. One week I’ll scale hop, the next week, I only weigh in once. This week I toyed with the notion only weighing in once a month and than threw that out the window. I use to weigh in on mondays, pushed it to sunday and now thinking Saturday might be a better option for me. ???? One thing for sure -unfortunatly, I am sooo affected by what the scale says – and I am working really hard to change that.

    Maggie

    May 16, 2008

    I weigh myself daily still, for the same reason you did during that stage of your weight loss. So I can see where I was going wrong, or doing right. I like that you wrote about the different stages of your journey. And hopefully one day, I’ll reach that stage where I don’t rely on the scale anymore. :)

    Tricia

    May 16, 2008

    I definitely agree with you Roni. Now that I’m working out a lot, the scale doesn’t tend to move as much as my clothes are getting looser, I’m going down a size. So that has become a better indicator of how I’m doing!

    Anonymous

    May 16, 2008

    I still weigh myself every day! Even when I overeat the night before…and I’m always up two pounds when I do that…then I’m depressed the whole next day, but making good choices. I think I’m still a slave to the scale and I hate that. I’ve been doing this every day for 18 months now…augh!

    Now OT…is your site different? I suddenly can’t read anything on the left side???

    Anonymous

    May 16, 2008

    I am a slave to the scale, not only weighing myself in the morning, but a few times during the day(I am a stay at home mom) and once before bed! I hate it and try to not weigh in so much but I am addicted!! I am slowly loosing and sometimes I am up and then I go down. I wish I could weigh in just once a week and be fine with that. I do let it affect my mood and it soo dumb. I am going ot try hard to use a pair of pants as a measure, or maybe my bathing suit…

    Bonnie

    May 16, 2008

    Since I started WW last August, I only weigh-in at WW meetings once a week, after work on Wednesdays. Before WW, I used to go between weighing every day and not weighing at all for 6 months. I like best how I feel now, while on WW, following plan and weighing in just once a week. I have had 3 gains during my 40 weeks on WW (.2, .2, and 1.6) and I was on plan the entire time, which just goes to show you that the scale isn’t the only thing telling the story.

    Crista

    May 16, 2008

    I like to weigh myself in the morning and at night…just a thing with me…but I only keep track like once a week…but doing it daily makes me feel good..(sometimes bad haha)

    But the real measurement I go by which many have mentioned is how my clothes feel when they are on…if they feel tight..i figure ok no eating out for a while or i have to be more strict…everybody is different though

    Diet Coke and Zingers

    May 16, 2008

    I’m an every day weigher-inner myself and I agree, it definitely helps to keep me informed and on track. I have gone through phases where I don’t weigh or track so much but have found the weight creeping back on. My ultimate goal is to not have to do either and to be able to maintain, just like you!

    Jan

    May 16, 2008

    While I was losing weight I only weighed once a week at my WW meetings. As soon as I hit maintenance I started weighing everyday. I just recieved my lifetime this week and I will continue to weigh everyday as a tool to help me keep on track. It doesn’t dictate my mood. Only helps me learn about my body as well.

    Anonymous

    May 16, 2008

    Roni..People think I am crazy..I have not weighed myself in maybe 25years..(I’m 50)I let my doc do that..,I have no idea how much I weight from day to day,,I do know how my clothes fit,,my energy level,and when people compliment me,,and that being said,,I do not need or want a scale..I do not (as you know) buy or wear stretchy clothes (except for to the gym)..I am and feel more fit than I did 30 years ago..I run 2-3 miles every other day..and lift weights as well..I think there are many other factors about a healthy weight than a number..I wear the same size I wore in HS…I think I have told my story..when I had to lay down and zip my pants on a cruise,,I said the day I get home,,I am starting a new life eating plan,,the plan is eating healthy..I do treat myself to a Smidgen (1) daily..seems to stop the goody crave….(thanks Roni) Have a great week,,Suzan

    Later Gator

    May 17, 2008

    You basically just told my story, except that I’m still at the weighing everyday phase. In fact, sometimes I weigh myself twice a day–once in the morning and once at night. I find it fascinating that my morning weight is 2-3 pounds less than my evening weight.

    That being said, I was kinda mad that I gained a pound this week. I still have a lot to lose (35+ lbs), but I told one of my friends about the weigh in and he said, “Forget the scale. It’s the mirror that matters.” He’s right–to a certain extent. I know I didn’t do very well last week, but I also know that one gain isn’t going to kill me.

    That being said, I’m hoping for a good loss next week!

    Me

    May 18, 2008

    i weigh myself several times a day, i like to see the fluctuations.

    Jill

    May 20, 2008

    I like to weigh every day when I’m working on losing weight or curious about how my habits have affected the scale. I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid of it – I always want to know what the damage (or improvement) has been – but I’m not fond of public weigh-ins.

    I suppose it affects my mood somewhat, but I’m more likely to be affected by my behavior – do I know that I ate the wrong things, skipped exercise, etc.? Or, have I been eating right, working out, drinking my water? The scale results are important to me, but not as important as knowing that I’m doing what I should.

    herbaltea

    June 9, 2008

    I think that weighing habit of yours for 2 years has done its job.

    “If the number went up I was motivated to make healthier choices (not starve myself) and if it went down it made me smile and reinforced I was moving in the right direction”

    Now you’re on autopilot.

    meggan

    August 25, 2008

    I am a daily scale girl. For me it is a reminder that I need to stay on track. It motivates me to keep on going and does not give me permission to quit for a day.

    roberta

    April 17, 2009

    Thank you for making me feel “normal” as I am a compulsive at jumping on scales, sometimes I want to do it even when I wake up in the night! I hope I can find this site again!

    Paula

    December 14, 2015

    I was weighing in once a week, but have started once a day after reading Beck Diet Plan. After a regain, I decided to work on my thinking since I knew how to eat healthy already to stop the cycle. Weighing in each day does keep my eating track. Who wants to see a gain?