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    TINAJANE76   64,786
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60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
 
 
Taking the Emotion out of my Weigh-ins

Thursday, February 21, 2013

One of the topics that I touched upon in my last blog was how taking the emotion out of my weigh-ins has proven to be a useful tool for me not only in terms of weight loss, but also as part of my continued efforts in maintenance. One of my SparkFriends, who admits she is still struggling with this issue even after several successful years on maintenance, suggested I write a blog outlining how I was able to do that, so I thought I'd share my experiences and offer up some food for thought on the matter.

Using the scale as an indicator of success seems to be a hot and somewhat controversial topic these days and it's understandable why. If you allow your daily emotions to be dictated by the number you see on the scale, that can be a positive thing if those numbers are going where you'd like them to. However, if you feel as though you're making a Herculean effort to lose weight and your efforts aren't rewarded with a drop on the scale, it's easy to become demoralized and feel like giving up. To ward off those negative feelings, many people choose to focus on other indicators of success or Non-Scale Victories (NSVs), such as increased athletic performance, measurements like the waist-to-hip ratio, how your clothes fit, body fat percentage or overall health. While all of these are worthy points to analyze, I propose that using the scale as an indicator of success is not an invalid one. We just need to learn how to use it productively and without an emotional attachment.

I'm the first to admit that I used to let the number on the scale dictate my happiness when it came to my own weight management in the past and that I often tried my hardest to outsmart it. Back when I did Weight Watchers, I would be overjoyed if the numbers went down and depressed if they didn't. The trouble was that I typically wasn't very honest with myself and often didn't compare my diet and exercise habits with the results I saw on the scale. I secretly felt like I had gotten away with something if I had "cheated" the previous week and still lost weight.

The first step I took towards reconciling my adversarial relationship with the scale was taking an honest look at my habits and how they compared with the numbers I saw on the scale. I began weighing, measuring and tracking my food and using the various charts that are available here on SparkPeople to establish trends. I came to learn just where I needed to be from week to week in terms of diet and exercise to see the losses I wanted. The result wasn't always perfect eating habits or a consistent drop on the scale, but it did establish a useful blueprint for me to follow and, for the first time ever, I had developed a concrete plan that worked for me and was adapted to my lifestyle and preferences. In a nutshell, I began to look at the scale as a scientific tool and started using myself as a guinea pig to experiment with the strategies that worked best for me.

Just as I used the information I plotted in my charts from week to week to develop a long-term eating and exercise plan for weight loss, I also used the charts that documented my weight loss to take a broader look at my progress. If I was struggling, I'd take a look back at what I was doing in one of my more successful periods and tried to reintroduce those habits and patterns. On a more micro level, I also began weighing myself daily. Now I know that this is also a controversial issue, but I personally find that daily weigh-ins help keep me closely connected to my more minor fluctuations and the things that cause them. As a result of my daily weigh-ins, I've come to learn that my weight can often fluctuate up to nearly five pounds within any given week due to a number of factors--eating a particularly big meal the night before, eating a lot of simple carbohydrates later in the day or just plain eating a lot later in the day, not to mention the effect that my body's natural hormonal cycles can have on my weight. But, in general, if I'm keeping up my healthy habits, things almost always work out at the end of a week and the numbers are more or less where I expect them to be. I now anticipate minor fluctuations from day to day, but don't rely on them to paint a complete picture of my progress. How I find my daily weigh-ins most useful is when an uptick begins to become a longer-term trend. That's when I know that I need to take action and have a good look at the behaviors that could be causing my weight gain and correct them.

As I approach one year on maintenance, I still utilize all of these strategies to help keep me on track. Since staying the same isn't very exciting, I do use other indicators to gauge my progress and to give me something to strive for other than the great feeling that comes from being in good health. I'm a big fan of weight training and love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from being able to lift heavier. I also frequently take progress pictures and have seen the difference sticking to a consistent eating and exercise plan has made even if my weight has stayed more or less the same.

But at the beginning of almost every day, I still weigh myself. I just use the numbers I see more rationally and as one of many components of the bigger picture of my success.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EFFRAYECHILDE 3/1/2013 11:53AM

    emoticon blog!

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MKELLY72 2/25/2013 11:37AM

    Getting this on the blog where I initially intended it to be--not sure how I managed to put it on the wrong one in the first place :)

I use the scale the same way--I'm so glad that most of the time I'm able to take the emotion out of it. My best friend who has traveled this weight loss/healthy living journey with me has never been able to do that. She gets too upset at the daily ups and downs of it, and she takes it personally. I like seeing the data and trends and evaluating what may be influencing major fluctuations (like sodium almost always precedes a significant uptick)
I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this--and I'm glad I've found a way to not obsess about it--just collect the data :)
Michelle

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CAMAEL100 2/24/2013 1:36PM

    Great blog. I agree with everything you said. The scale is not everything but I don't think it can be ignored completely. I weigh in every day as well and I find it very useful as you say in evaluating what I am doing. Also, I think that dealing with small gains is so much better than finding that I had put on a lot over the course of a month.

Like everything, the scale has to be used with common sense and a gain should not have one running for the nearest junk food!!

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KANOE10 2/24/2013 9:27AM

    I do the same. I weigh everyday. I can also go up 3=5 pounds in a week. You are right, you just need to work on it, when the up pounds do not go back down.


Great blog.

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 2/23/2013 1:09PM

    This is a great blog. I used to be a daily weigher (total emotional attachment) and I've stayed away from the scale for weeks. Turns out it's a bad thing for me. You put a lot of it into perspective. I think I need to get back to weighing every day to stay more accountable.

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TERMITEMOM 2/23/2013 10:42AM

    Thanks for sharing - Let's celebrate NSVs! I've heard that maintening is much tougher than losing. You've done a great job.

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BLUEJEAN99 2/23/2013 1:59AM

    emoticon

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ILIKETOZUMBA 2/23/2013 12:03AM

    Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom! Even months and months after entering maintenance (and being forced to regain weight because I lost TOO much and was unhealthy) I still have a hard time not letting the number on the scale affect my mood and my self-esteem. I hope to be able to follow your example!

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JAMER123 2/22/2013 8:52PM

    emoticon on one yr. of maintaining!! That is fantastic!!
Keep it going!! Great blog as well.

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DIANNEMT 2/22/2013 8:09PM

    I hope to soon be maintaining and I will refer back to this! Thanks!!

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JIBBIE49 2/22/2013 6:59PM

    Great to see you featured in the Spark Mail again.

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BLUE42DOWN 2/22/2013 5:23PM

    ** How I find my daily weigh-ins most useful is when an uptick begins to become a longer-term trend. **

When I read this, something clicked. I'm a daily weigher (without an emotional connection to the number), but hadn't really found a good way to explain why I prefer the daily number. What it comes down to is I find the trend easier to spot early. If I only weighed once a week it would take at least three weeks before I decided it was definitely a trend up or down. Weighing daily, it can show up in a week or two -- or less if I'm familiar with my normal fluctuations. I can respond more quickly.

** I secretly felt like I had gotten away with something if I had "cheated" the previous week and still lost weight. **
This is the one I'm still fighting with a little. My body actually DOES let me get away with things sometimes, waiting two or three days to show the gain I know I deserve. It also responds quickly to correcting the situation, which can lead to a little head-game of "so what if it went up when I can easily make it go down again" ... followed by a lack of change.

Great blog!

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ALIDOSHA 2/22/2013 5:19PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SHOAPIE 2/22/2013 5:06PM

    emoticon

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SJKENT1 2/22/2013 4:52PM

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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GRGAP86 2/22/2013 4:24PM

  Great blog, thanks for sharing.

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IAMAGEMLOVER 2/22/2013 3:56PM

    Thanks for sharing

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PATRICIAANN46 2/22/2013 3:22PM

  emoticon for a great Blog filled with wonderful advice.

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NEWCHINELO 2/22/2013 2:45PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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REMEMBER2BME 2/22/2013 2:32PM

    Great blog. I am just beginning to look closer at my intake and factors that might impact my weight. I do weigh myself daily. Do you have a scale that monitors body fat as well or just weight? Just curious.

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HEARTS116 2/22/2013 1:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITFOCUSPLANACT 2/22/2013 12:48PM

  This is written very well and does an excellent job of explaining how you use the scale to assist in your weight loss. I think you are right about weighing more often, it often helps once you understand how to use the scale for feedback. I am going to give it a try! emoticon y!

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ROCKYCPA 2/22/2013 12:21PM

    I do weigh in regularly but also realize that NSV's are very important. This is a great blog!

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SUSIEMT 2/22/2013 12:05PM

    Good job Tina! Great blog. I needed to hear this again! Keep up the good work and you are doing a wonderful job as co-leader! Woo Hoo to you!

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LIVELYGIRL2 2/22/2013 11:57AM

  Very insightful and expressed/written ver emoticon y well.

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MONTREAL12 2/22/2013 11:21AM

  Thanks for addressing this important issue! emoticon

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NCSUE0514 2/22/2013 10:16AM

    Well done

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NEPTUNE1939 2/22/2013 10:14AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DW33412 2/22/2013 9:54AM

  emoticon

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JANEMARIE77 2/22/2013 9:53AM

    great blog well said thank you

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GOOSIEMOON 2/22/2013 9:52AM

    emoticon

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NEWTINK 2/22/2013 9:27AM

    I am so happy someone finally said it ... you can have all the NSV you can tolerate but that scale is part of the over all package emoticon

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REGILIEH 2/22/2013 9:23AM

    emoticon

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WORKNPROGRESS49 2/22/2013 9:22AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CICELY360 2/22/2013 9:19AM

  good blog

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LOGOULD 2/22/2013 9:04AM

    That's what I like about our maintenance challenges. Weighing only once a week helps me keep those numbers in perspective and seems to balance out my love/hate feelings towards the little monster.

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CHRISBEM 2/22/2013 9:02AM

    using those other clues are so important! I know I can't let myself get fixated on one thing

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MIMIDOT 2/22/2013 8:51AM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing.

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KATHIC2 2/22/2013 8:47AM

  A balanced view and accounting of the number on the scale in important as well as recognizing an anomaly can happen too.

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WALLINMW 2/22/2013 8:32AM

  Woohoo! Keep going!

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PIXIE-LICIOUS 2/22/2013 8:31AM

    Great blog! I am one who doesn't like to get on the scale. My last weigh in was in September, but I've had LOTS on NSV's since then.

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OFGREENGABLES 2/22/2013 8:14AM

    thanks for sharing! I find that really helpful

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JACKIE542 2/22/2013 8:06AM

    emoticon

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MOMMY445 2/22/2013 7:53AM

    you are doing a fantastic job and you are so inspiring! have a fabulous day!

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SPARKLISE 2/22/2013 7:44AM

    emoticon emoticon

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LIFETIMER54 2/22/2013 6:54AM

  emoticon emoticon

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LRSILVER 2/22/2013 6:49AM

    emoticon

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PENOWOK 2/22/2013 6:30AM

    I think how often you weigh is a personal choice and it depends on the individual's ability to digest the numbers, as you said. I also recognize the fluctuations as quite normal and as "Bob" said in a blog earlier this week, so many things can cause shifts,like the amount of water we have in our bodies. If we can accept that, then weighing is less of a big deal, while still accountable! Thanks for the great blog!

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AMANDACOETZER 2/22/2013 6:27AM

    emoticon

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SHERYLDS 2/22/2013 6:00AM

    thanks for sharing your great insight.....
wishing you continued success

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