September 24, 2008
What a great quote.
How often do we, as women, treat our bodies like enemies, berating them and chastising them … and then treating our scales — stupid machines!–like friends?
You know the drill: If we see a “good” number we’re happy. A “bad” number and we want to hit something or assume we got “fat” overnight or will gain it all back (we didn’t; we won’t).
Rational me says it’s just a moment frozen in time. Yet irrational me says it feels so monumental. It’s like the angel and devil on my shoulder, duking it out each day.
Believe it or not, but I had never owned a scale until I joined Weight Watchers. Really. A woman in her twenties did not own a scale and had no idea how much she weighed. (Is she for real?!)
Shocker, I know. Gosh, ignorance was bliss … or was it? (Cue the scary music).
And in the beginning, I did exactly as Weight Watchers recommended: weighed in once a week, on my weigh-in day, Tuesdays. Recorded whatever I saw.
For the first eight months I dropped weight steadily … naturally. I was cutting out a lot of calories, learning portion control, eating better, and exercising more.
Eventually I plateaued … got a little less obsessive, gained a little.
I started weighing myself every day then … obsessively, furtively. Before the gym. After the gym. (Sometimes I weighed more post-gym, sometimes less.) I thought it would help. It didn’t. All it sought to do was fuel my exercise addiction. Which only made me hungrier. Which led to eating more (at midnight or two a.m.). Which led to weight gain.
Then I tried to stop weighing in altogether, to see if I could just “maintain” or lose a little to get back down to goal (140-145) — but I ended up maintaining in that higher weight range than I wanted to be … and being more anxious about not knowing where I stood that, in the end, the strategy became counter-productive.
Trial and error seems to work. And I’m not one to just “give up.” I tend to dwell and, in my dad’s word, “beat a dead horse while he’s down.” (Words of Wisdom from Steve!)
I’ve learned that for me, the scale — like journaling — is a necessary evil: it keeps me accountable and on track, showing me patterns … but also can make me obsessive.
Now, as soon as I see a “5,” even if it’s 150.4, the irrational part of me wants to cry. Why? Well … I’m still aiming for 145 by the end of the year … and though (rationally) anything below 150 is “safe,” I really, really, really want 145 again — not for the number, but because it’s honestly where I felt my best … and could maintain without a lot of extra effort.
But the rational side of me has taken that knowledge of how those digits on the scale impact me (however silly it maybe be) … and used it to my advantage.
For example, I’ve made the executive decision to just not go near my Tanita the couple days leading up to my period until the time it ends. Why make myself nuts over the numbers as they rise, rise, rise?
And I’ve learned how dramatically salt affects me. The one redeeming thing about Sparkpeople (which I banned when I began blogging) was that I could see my sodium consumption spelled out, which would help me assess a random 3-lb. overnight “gain.”
I try to remember that now when I step on the scale. Delicious fat-free/sugar-free pudding and yummy chicken noodle soup will always shoot the number up. It’s a given.
I’d like to screw the scale entirely, but I know in my heart of hearts that there is merit to weighing ourselves — if only to capture that moment in time; if only to know that it’s an assessment, and that it’s one of many.
I haven’t weighed myself in two weeks now, but my monthly guest will be gone by Saturday and it will be time to pony up.
I’ll try to remember all these things as I step on the Tanita … not my friend, not even an enemy … but rather “a machine.”
How about you? What’s your relationship with your scale like? Do you weigh in daily, weekly, monthly? Not at all?