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Stepping back from the scale

Friday, August 13, 2010

The scale's been creeping upward for a while now. It was discouraging, and--contrary to all common sense--made me eat more and exercise less. What's the point, I figured, if eating right doesn't do me any good why should I bother trying? And so the scale would creep up more. Near the end of July I stopped weighing in. I wasn't dieting any more--not really--and looking at the scale was just too depressing. And then I took a road trip. And I never worry too much about calorie intake or any of that when I'm traveling... but then I came home, and I had all this junk food left over from the trip. So I just kept eating it.

About a week ago I finally felt disgusted enough with myself to get back on plan. But I still didn't weigh in. My last weigh in had been the depressingly high 175 (up over 6 pounds from my lowest weigh-in). I decided to give myself a week back on track before I got on that scale, in order to minimize the blow to my ego.

By yesterday, the week had passed, and I was still a little nervous to get back on the scale. What if I wasn't under 175? What if I'd gained so much weight during my junk food binge that even a week of healthy eating and regular exercise didn't bring me back down at least that low? Maybe I should wait another week... but then I manned up and stepped on the scale. 173.4! It's still almost 5 pounds up from my lowest, but given my fears, I was still pretty darned pleased to see that number.

After much consideration, I decided to get on the scale again this morning. 173.4. Not bad, but not an improvement either. And I started thinking that maybe I should give it another half hour and get back on. Maybe I can go to the bathroom again in that time. Maybe I can, in that way, make the scale budge a tenth of a point or two. Only, I have a friend coming over in a few hours and I need to eat breakfast, digest, work out and shower before he gets here. If I wait 30 minutes will I have time for all that?

And then it hit me that I was turning myself into a crazy person. And for what?! To _maybe_ see the scale read 173.2 instead? Not worth it. Entirely. Not. Worth it. So I put the scale away and don't plan on touching it again until next Thursday.

Daily weigh-ins really worked for me at the beginning of my diet, when the weight was sliding off so quickly that I'd sometimes see a pound disappear overnight. Seeing that kind of immediate progress helped keep me motivated. But somewhere along the way I let the numbers on the scale become more important than how I felt and looked. I'm still going to weigh in on a weekly basis--being able to note my progress is important to keeping me motivated. * But once a week won't leave me acting like a crazy person. I won't feel hugely depressed if I have an off day, or miss a work out. But I'll still see it on the scale if I have too many off days or miss too many work outs.

*Besides, I've read a few articles about studies which show that people who weigh in on a regular basis are more likely to continue losing and/or keep weight off. This makes perfect sense to me. It's a way of keeping yourself in check and being reminded that what goes in doesn't always come straight back out.
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