Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weight a Minute . . .

I have not gotten on a scale since February 17th.  I knew my weight would be high and with resignation, I got on the scale. I weighed 208 pounds. I continued to binge for three more days. I only got my food sobriety back on February 21st. I decided I would stay off the scale until March 1st. Then on March 1st the thoughts in my head went "Nine days. I should be nine pounds down, maybe more. . . I should be under 200 pounds. What if I am not under 200 pounds? What if it shows 201 pounds or 203 pounds? What if I gained another 10 pounds before I put the excess food day? Oh God, if the scale says I weigh over 200 pounds I am going to cave. .  I am going to want to medicate . . . with food. Oh God, what if I give up? 

So I didn't get on the scale. I decided to stay off until I mentally and emotionally can accept the number on the scale no matter what. I stayed on my food plan and decided I would weigh myself a week later. Then, since it was now March 8th I decided to keep off the scale until April 1st.,  April Fool's Day. That makes sense to me because there is no bigger Fool that someone who gives control of their life to a scale. 

For many weight-losing years I was a daily scale person. Every morning as soon as I emptied my bladder I would gently get on the scale and the number would decide my whole day.

  • Weight down more than 2 pounds - Great day ahead!! On fire and ready to do it again today! 
  • Weight down one pound from previous day - Good day! What I did yesterday was good enough. 
  • Down less than one pound - Good day. I did something right. 
  • No Change in weight - various responses. If I knew I over-ate then it was a good day because I didn't gain. If I had not exercised then it was an okay day because I would exercise today and had high expectations that I would see a loss tomorrow. IF I had eaten right and exercised and still there was no change the okay day would become an annoyed day and I better see a loss tomorrow or I would throw a fit (as if that was good for anything). 
  • Weight up - Let's not even discuss what kind of a day it was if the scale went up. 

April 1st is less than a week away. I have followed my food plan without deviations and I am exercising times a week. The larger sized clothing I purchased in February (18/XL) are now all too big. I fit into a smaller size again but I do not fit into all my clothes yet.

I know based on what fits, that my weight is under 200 but I cannot obsess over a number - any number. My weight is what it is. Fear, grief, anger - none of that will change the scale. If I have integrity with me food and my body then I do not need the daily approval/condemnation of a scale. I talked with my mentor and I will get on the scale on April 1st and then not again until May 1st.

What are your scale habits and thoughts? Do you obsess over numbers? Do you give the scale the power to control your life?



downsizers said...

I too used to have to wait until I could handle it because weighing was a cue to eat whether good news or bad news. If it was good news I wanted to eat because I was happy. If it was bad news I wanted to eat because I was sad. Either way it was a cue to eat. Why put myself through it I figured. I am better able to handle it now. Weird - I am waiting until April 1 as well to weigh. My blood pressure and heart rate have been dangerously high and I have been diagnosed with a-fib so we are dealing with that. I was retaining so much water my weight was fluctuating several pounds in a day. People like us don't need that stress. I have thought about how much we depend on the scale to tell us how to feel that day and even when we know the reason for a gain it doesn't help much. This is my besetting sin - gluttony - I fight that demon every day. I am thankful for other bloggers such as yourself who will put it all out there to cleanse the soul. It helps to know I am not the only one that needs to push the restart button now and then.

16 blessings'mom said...

Hello Jane. I'm sorry you have been struggling recently, I wouldn't wish it on anyone...but I am glad you shared about it, because it helps tremendously to know I am not the only one. I can relate to the scale-determining-the-day's-mindset thing, because I weigh every day. I have to. I don't have the self-control to NOT do it. I feel it holds me accountable, but I am starting to think it holds me more than that. I have been working hard here also to see a previous number, which I thought was too high then, ha. Ah well, I'm thankful for the help I get from blogs like yours. Good luck, and thank you again!

Escape Pod said...

I, too, am prone to give the scale power to control my mood for the day. Sometimes I put it away until I feel better able to treat the data for what it is - data, and possibly unreliable data. Not a judgment on what I did yesterday, or for the past week. Not a judgment of me as a person, or even as a weight-loser. Just data.
I kicked sugar out of my life just before Christmas (and, by the way, thank you for all the ways your blog helps me to see this as a viable option!!), and with the exception of one really bad day, I've been binge free and sugar free since then. This has given me an opportunity to begin to see the patterns in the data from my scale. (I have a scale that wireless uploads the data to a tracking website, so I can see trends and review past weeks and months). I've begun to see the predictability of certain monthly ups and downs, the effect of saltier food or too little water, or a really intense workout that leaves me sore for a few days. I've learned that sometimes I'm up a pound, or two, or three, for no apparent reason whatsoever, and if I don't let that become a reason to comfort myself with food, it will go away again. I've learned that burning 3000 calories hiking and eating 1200 will not be reflected in happy news on the scale the next day, or the day after that, but the cumulative effect of more exercise, less food, better quality food, and no sugar, will result in a gradual downward trend. But all of that doesn't change the fact that it's a challenge every day not to see that number on the scale as judgment, or validation. And every now and then I have to put the scale away until I can see the number without letting it determine my mood for the day.

Unknown said...

Hi Jane, In 2010, the m-i-l from h@#$ came to live at our home. I gained half of the weight back that I thought I'd never see again for my entire life!!! Well, I was wrong. Pounds can come back in bad circumstances--for any of us!!! So I took the comfort of friends, fantasized about throwing m-i-l off a cliff for stress relief (many times a day), and did everything I could to get that errr out of my house. When she did leave, I was still so traumatized. My family relationships were injured. I had harbored so much anger, that I didn't know how I felt about myself. But friends told me that all of the pretend cliff tossing--it wasn't real. I wasn't really a cartoon villain--except in my mind. I had been as good as I could, given the circumstances. So I made the climb back to a better weight. And it took over a year to recuperate from 10 months of m-i-l hell. But I did it.

I relate, Jane. But you will recover and eventually be better than ever. :-)

E. Jane said...

I have been getting on the scale every day since I began losing the 31 pounds that I now have gotten off. A daily weigh-in has been an integral part of my weight loss efforts, as has just eating smaller portions. What works for one person may or may not work for another. I tried for nine years to be a part of a 12-step program, and the rigidity added about 40 pounds and almost destroyed me. I had to lose that mindset in order to begin losing and getting healthier. Since you have succeeded before, it is likely that you know what is best for you. My best to you.

Kitty said...

For me, I weigh every day and it doesn't set my mood for the whole day. Well, yes, if I show a nice loss that does make me feel good. But, if it goes up it really doesn't bother me that much. That is, it doesn't bother me if it shouldn't bother me. If I ate something high sodium the day before or worked out a lot then it doesn't bother me at all. If I had a large eating day the day before, then I know I need to watch what I eat. That kind of thing. I am a WW meeting and sometimes I'll see one of these unaccountable jump ups in weight due to water retention or some truly mysterious reason. When I see that then it gives me some preparation that I might have a loss at my official weigh in. And I'm glad to have that preparation.

The best thing that I get from the weighing is that I've learned to see and accept daily fluctuations.

Oh, the other best thing, is that it really is essential for me for weight loss. When I don't weigh regularly, I gain weight. I know that isn't true for everyone but it is sure true for me.

Karen said...

I approached the scale differently this time around (3rd attempt at long term weight maintenance, 10,000 attempt at stopping binge/emotional eating).

Every single major weight re-gain I could tie to a pattern of scale avoidance. When I was studying weight maintenance- I almost repeated this cycle.

Between the Refuse to Regain book and two close long term maintainer friends, I decided that I would use the scale like a scientist. Record daily, look at trends, and address root causes. No shame, no blame. Pure data.

The scale is quality control for me. The daily weighing is batch size. Weighing weekly or monthly or yearly was not enough. It opened the door to slippery slope thinking and my binge/emotional mind to choose known trigger foods.

Daily weighing closed the door on that thinking.

Besides, my health insurance will go up $40 per month if my BMI goes above 25 (also waist size is measured). As a single parent, I am my only source of income.

The binge/emotional takes me away from my daughter one way- by being emotionally closed off. The loss of income would eventually keep us from traveling. Too expensive- time, money, relationships.

I was also able to ID some inflammatory foods- that are also binge foods. One stop shopping.

I totally get how the scale can be obsessive. It's important to choose what frees you and your mind. Very important. If not weighing helps you get to goal (by using clothing), that's a good thing. Cheering you on for a return to the place you want to be. Great post, as always. Karen P.

Jane Cartelli said...

These are all such great comments. I've retired from the debating society so I am not writing to argue the merits or drawbacks of scale use. Whether you are daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or chucked the scale out with the garbage I don't have an opinion for or against because I have done it all and at some point all have been useful. All that matters today is how my brain processes the information and if I use it constructively or destructively.

Cathy Yonek said...

I like to weigh daily, but whatever works for you is good.

Vickie said...

This is my two cents -
It is daily habits that determines weight. If habits are reliable, then often do not need the scale.

If habits are not a constant or food intake is very complicated, then can need data from scale.

But mostly what we all need is not to self sabotage. Have to figure out how to live our lives, helping, not hurting ourselves.

I will be thinking of you tomorrow.