Monday, February 13, 2012

Curses and Blessings of the Daily Weigh

Hello from Banff!! I am having a great trip so far. Here are some pictures and then a post I wrote over the weekend (don't worry, I didn't write this while at the conference/on holiday!).
The Banff Springs Hotel - it is a castle!

View from my hotel room!!

Me on the ski slopes (in my new gear!)

For as long as I can remember I have stepped on the scale almost each and every morning - after going to the bathroom, buck naked, right before stepping into the shower. Most days this is a good thing for me. It gives me feedback about how I did the day before. Did I make good choices? Am I headed in the right direction? But sometimes the scale is a fickle beast and hinders, rather than aids, my progress (and mental health)!

The scale is helpful when it validates what I'm expecting. If I've been on track with my eating and it moves down, then I'm happy. If I know I overate or made poor choices and it moves up, it is a good reminder to make the next day better. Also, over the years I've gotten pretty good at "guessing" the number. Usually, based on how my body feels and how my clothes fit, I know if the number *should* move up or down.There's just something about seeing what you already know quantified and visualized in black and white that makes it real. It's pretty hard to bury your head in the sand when you're stepping on every day.

However, where the scale fails for me is when the number doesn't make sense. If I know I've been eating well and exercising and it shows I've gained, or shows the same number day after day it can be very discouraging. I think to myself, "What's the point of being good if I'm not getting results? I might as well eat whatever I want!". However, the reality is there are lots of reasons why the scale doesn't reflect my efforts. I think for the most part it boils down to water retention but that can be caused by lots of different things. My TOM, intake of salty foods, tummy troubles, or even exercise. I've mentioned before that I tend to gain weight after workouts, especially intense ones, and in the past I tended to forgo exercise when it impeded my progress on the scale.

If the scale only works for me when it reinforces what I already know, then what's the point of stepping on at all? Why do I need a number to accept my instincts? I've wrestled with this a lot, but at the end of the day I think the scale still helps keep me accountable. I've considered just weighing weekly, but I know that if I'm avoiding stepping on for more than a couple days, there's probably something bad going on! Instead, I just try to take the number with a grain of salt. Instead I focus more on how my body feels, and I mean that quite literally!

I have mild scoliosis and so my hips are not even. Because of this my tummy fat is distributed unequally; there is more fat above my left hip than my right. When I started to lose weight, I had a very large roll above my left hip bone and my goal was to make that roll disappear. Every morning before I stepped on the scale, I would run my hand over that part of my stomach and could feel how I was doing. Over time that roll has gotten smaller and smaller and now, just a tiny bump remains. In fact, some days (when I'm at my lowest) it's completely smooth. This is a very prominent reminder of how far I've come and how I'm doing on a daily basis. That bump gets larger and smaller with each pound of fat I gain or lose. Maybe this was TMI, but it's something that really helps me. The scale doesn't discriminate between fat, muscle, or water. But my tummy and hips do, and are therefore good tools for me to accurately assess my progress.

But no matter what, I try not to let the scale (or my hips) determine my mind-set for the day. I am more than a number; I am more than my body. And no matter what, I'm going to strive to live each day to the fullest!

1 comment:

  1. Hi from Vancouver!!! Looks like you are having a great time. See you when you are back.