Friday, November 29, 2013
I recently found myself writing WAY too much in a post to try to encourage a downtrodden Sparker on the message boards. I thought they were words of wisdom to share on my blog:
When I first joined Sparkpeople, I heard time and time again not to weigh yourself too often, to wean yourself from your own obsession from the scale, to focus on the way your health is improving, the way clothes might fit better in certain problem areas, where inches might be coming off, even the way my skin was clearing up. But no matter how many times I heard it, I still didn't know how to rip myself away from my dependency on the scale. I would get internally upset if I didn't see constant movement in the downward direction (even if it was by a fraction of a pound) over the course of a couple days. I thought about the scale too often for my own good, and ultimately, it didn't help me get the weight off.
What I heard most recently (on Sparkpeople Radio) is that for women, the best time to weigh yourself with as much accuracy as possible is on the 7th day of your menstrual cycle (7 days from the start of your period). So that's what I've been doing. I don't let myself get on the scale except on that day. It has been really helpful to me to know with some confidence that my hormones aren't messing me up too much, that the number that I see on the scale on that day is more representative of what my body is actually doing and less is left up to the day-to-day fluctuations based on salt, water, and the biggest culprit: hormones. I only weigh myself once that day, at the very beginning, when i've just woken up, have had my early morning cup of water, gone to the bathroom, and am just in my underwear. In other words, under the same exact conditions each time.
A couple months ago, when I started this weigh-in process, I found it almost impossible not to step on the scale. I was coming off almost a year of maintaining weight (where I've read it can be helpful to weigh yourself daily, and it certainly felt so for me) back into weight-loss mode, and it was so tempting to try to feed daily on the encouragement of the numbers going down. But of course, I know that the numbers don't always go down, and when they stay stagnant or (**gulp**) go up, I would always find myself in a negative emotional state, where I felt defeated by the number.
But screaming "NO!" to that voice in my head that tells me to get on the scale has actually been not only really rewarding, but also transformative. I find that I can ACTUALLY concentrate on what fellow Sparkpeople had been telling me forever and ever: try to focus on factors OTHER than the numbers on the scale. This was something I was NEVER able to do before, weighing myself daily, weekly, even for a brief time when I tried to only weigh myself twice a month (because I was weighing on the 1st and 15th of every month, which didn't take into account the hormonal changes because my cycle isn't like clockwork), and I wouldn't see constant results, and it would discourage me.
My advise to you would be to try the same.
If you're anything like me, it's going to be hard to stay away from the scale for so long. I'm getting healthy and losing weight with my boyfriend, for whom it is helpful to weigh himself each day when he wakes up, but...
1. he is a man and his daily weight depends on his hormones to a lesser extent than mine does, and
2. he has more weight to lose so he is constantly losing and hasn't really hit any sort of plateau yet.
But as I said, for him it's helpful to weigh in daily, which means the scale is a permanent fixture in our bathroom, not something to be shoved in a closet and ignored until MY weigh-in day. I don't know where I found the will-power not to give in to temptation for those first few days when it was REALLY REALLY tough not to take a peek at my weight before the 7th day came around again, but I got through it, and each day it gets easier not to look. I have that future weigh-in to look forward to, and also, as an added benefit, it keeps me on track through my food cravings just before my period and my propensity to ditch the exercise during the first couple days of my cycle, so that's great, too!
From now on, I plan on using this weigh-in style. My next one should be coming up a couple weeks from now, and I'm excitedly anticipating what I may or may not see on the scale. But I do know that I've been getting GREAT sleep this month and I've lost half an inch around my hips! I never would've focused on those non-scale victories before, and I'm so glad I'm in this new mindset where I can appreciate all the good that's happening in my life off the scale!