Kelly left a great comment on yesterday’s Weigh In Post and it really got me thinking about my own scale habits.
Been following you for a long time Roni and have almost exact same history with being overweight, losing it, gaining it, the yo yo, the binging, the negative self talk. I too am a Mom in my late *ahem* 30’s. : ) Waking away from the scale is the best thing I ever did and it was the last step to true freedom. Making breakthroughs with mentality, serving size, whole food eating, becoming an athlete (yes, that’s you) etc. are awesome and life changing. Continuing to step on the scale week after week is keeping with the old mindset of “measuring up”, what defines success, and the answer to “are we good enough this week” (or insert whatever other self inflicted questions that we have never really said out loud). We try to tell ourselves that the number does not affect us, that we are just “monitoring”, “keeping an eye on it”, and that it is just “one tool” in our approach to health. That is a lie. Not for all, but for those of us that have lived a life being very overweight at one time, had self confidence issues, tried everything, I mean EVERYTHING just to see the number go down on the scale, it is a lie. The number on the scale is bondage to us because no matter how much we change our lifestyle, exercise habits, foods we buy that all reflect our progression to a healthy and fit life, that number speaks to us and continues to define us (to a point, but still). If the number on the scale truly does not matter, then why do we have to step on it? Do our clothes not tell us? The minute we button a shirt or pull up a zipper, do we not intuitively “know” where we are? Learning to trust our new lifestyle without the scale is hard and there is a period of withdrawal and doubt, but true freedom…..true freedom from the old mindset, the old standards, and that nasty inner voice that talks to us when we see the “number”. Walking away from the scale will most likely take you out of your comfort zone, but isn’t that where you thrive? (Crossfit Games, Tough Mudders, Travel, etc). You can do it.
Oh, boy does she make some great points. Maybe I am lying to myself. I did go through a period of scale independence before I got pregnant again. Then after baby, when I went back into weight-loss mode, I thought it would be easy to just redo what I did 6 years earlier when I lost the 70 lbs.
I struggled with Weight Watchers before having my Weight Loss A-Ha moment.
Yet even after my “moment” I still continued to weigh in.
I told myself I was disconnected from the number, doing it for the blog, that I was strong enough not to let it affect me.
Kelly IS right. I was (am) lying to myself. Part of me still REALLY wants to see 145 on the scale consistently. I want reach that number yet again because it represents “skinny” to me. It’s a weight I never saw in high school. A weight I didn’t think was possible for my frame. It’s that magic number I’ve programed myself to want to be.
When I read Kelly’s comment I didn’t want to respond right away. I really wanted her words to sink in a bit. Then LisaM chimed it with another perspective.
You preach it Kelly! Your comments were so powerful I hope you don’t mind if I respond with my reasons for utilizing the scale. Although I didn’t lose a huge amount of weight, it’s been a struggle all my life. I finally changed my relationship with food, and if old habits didn’t creep in from time to time, I too would have no use for the scale. But as a fickle human, I can play too many mind games if I go just by clothing fit to monitor whether or not those old habits are getting entrenched again. I’d probably be on a 10 lb pendulum if I just went by clothing, and that takes long enough that the bad habits have gotten too ingrained. So I only use the number on the scale as an unbiased monitor of how healthy my habits are. I find that focusing on my habits for the amount of time it takes to lose the extra weight is just about long enough to internalize good habits again. So, I don’t freak out if I’m really concentrating on living the way I know I should, but the number on the scale isn’t where I want it. I just know that means I need to continue concentrating.
Complete opposite perspective yet still valid, and there is a bit of data to back up the idea of consistent weighing.
According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) 75% of the members weigh themselves at least once a week. If you are unfamiliar with NWCR, their members are people who’ve lost an average of 66 lbs and maintained that loss for over 5 years on average.
I wonder if all of them feel like a slave to the scale or maybe they’re able to use it as a simple monitoring tool. I have a feeling opinions are going to vary greatly and that’s why I thought I’d make this an old-fashioned question of the week.
So what say you? To weigh or not to weigh: That is the question!