If you follow this blog, you are probably aware that I use the scale as a tool by which I keep track of my progress and check in with myself daily to make sure the weight isn’t creeping back on. I think I have a pretty good grip on what those numbers mean and what they don’t mean. I know the scale doesn’t judge my worth. I know it’s just data, and I feel that I’m pretty detached from the fluctuating numbers. I’m quite good at predicting whether I will be up or down in weight on any given day based on my actions the previous day. Didn’t drink enough water = fluctuation up. Did a long cardio session = fluctuation down. Lower body weight lifting = fluctuation up. Drank plenty of water = fluctuation down. Menstruation or ovulation = fluctuation up. Etc.
I don’t think the scale can drive you crazy unless you let it. I even recently wrote a blog post about Why I Weigh Myself Daily.
But when Angie Gooding – Body Image Specialist started this challenge on her Facebook page, I realized that the thought of not weighing myself makes me uncomfortable. I have become accustomed to it. It tells me I’m doing “okay” – but do I actually need this number to validate my performance? No. My clothes fit. I eat right. I exercise as planned. I am doing well regardless of what the number is. However, I still feel dependent upon this number. Not knowing what it is makes me nervous.
So I decided to do it. All of our best learning experiences come from stepping outside our comfort zone. I quit calorie counting again last week, and now I’ve quit the scale. It’s going to be a number free month. And no, I’m not going to measure myself instead. That would sort of destroy the point, wouldn’t it? The truth is, no matter what I weigh on any given day, it doesn’t really change what I do. I work out Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday regardless. I eat well regardless. I drink water regardless. I just record that number every morning and I have the graphs to prove it!
When my weight goes up I don’t get upset. It’s normal, I know. It fluctuates, I know. But when my weight goes down, I do find it makes me happy! I suppose this is left over from my weight loss journey when I decided to weigh myself daily but only record the lowest weights. My reasoning was that those are the “real” weights and the rest is just food and water. Celebrate every victory, right? Even a 1 lb loss is to be celebrated. But I’m in a different situation now. I’m not working on losing weight. I haven’t quite found the right strategy for maintaining it. Should it make me happy on the days I weigh less? Why is that? Why are we emotionally tied to the amount of pounds we contain?
I think a lot of it has to do with the way weight loss is portrayed in the media. On shows like The Biggest Loser or in commercials for Nutrisystem, it’s ALL about the weight. That number is held up as the ultimate trophy of success. And I will admit it, I use this to my advantage. I know people hear I’ve lost One Hundred and Twenty pounds and it immediately gives me a kind of credibility you can’t get any other way. People are much more amazed that I lost over 100 pounds than they are that I got a great job before I even graduated from college. It’s my claim to fame. I’m learning to accept that, but it does feel a little silly sometimes. Is weight loss really such a miraculous thing? Do I really get a trophy for just taking care of myself- which I should have been doing all along. I don’t think it makes me queen of the universe or anything, but people sure do seem to be impressed by it.
Why is that so much more impressive than the fact that I used to barely be able to walk up the stairs and now I can run for miles? Why is it more worthy of celebration than the fact that I used to eat so much junk and now I eat such healthy food. Why do we celebrate this single thing, this number, instead of our actions? Shouldn’t I get a trophy for making it to the gym even when I have to work overtime and cooking my own dinner even when I’m tired and stressed out, if anything? Why does it matter what I weigh?
These are just some of my many thoughts as I go into this challenge. I weighed 169 lb yesterday and I will not be getting back on the scale until May 1. Or maybe I won’t get back on it at all. I’ll have to see what I learn along the way.
If you are interested in joining me, there’s still time! Check out the No Weigh In April facebook page – which is moderated by me and several other health related bloggers.