Seven reasons why I'm getting rid of my scale!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Well, I've been Sparking for a couple of months now (this time around), and I have decided that the scale is more harm than help. I lost the first 13 lbs pretty quickly, but now I've been hovering around the same weight for a while, and even got on the scale today and was 2 lbs heavier than my last weigh in. Now, I know there's no way I've gained even an ounce of fat, since I've been tracking every single calorie (never once going over), walking, and doing strength training. But the scale says I have gained weight. So, I'm making a big decision today. I'm getting rid of the weight tracker on my signature, and I'm not weighing in (at least for a LONG while). Why? Well, here are the facts as I see them:

1. When I log my calories and stay within my limits, I feel good.
2. When I log my cardio minutes and strength training exercises into the fitness tracker, I feel good.
3. When I can sit down at the end of the evening and can have a few squares of dark chocolate without guilt because I am within my calories, I feel good.
4. If I keep eating within my range and exercising, it is physically impossible for me to not get healthier and lose fat over time. It's simple math; I will be burning more calories than I am taking in.
5. Hopping on the scale will not make this process of getting healthier go any faster. As a matter of fact, it may slow me down. If I step on that scale and don't see progress, I'm likely to want to do something drastic (700 calories a day, anyone?), which will actually set me back both mentally and physically.
6. The scale is not an accurate way to measure fat loss. For that matter, does the scale tell me ANYTHING about how healthy I am? No. As far as the scale knows, those pounds could be muscle, fat, bone, water, etc., so measuring my weight won't help. Weight does not equal fat. Does the scale measure my relationship with food? No. Does the scale measure my physical activity? No.
7. My extra fat isn't the problem I have to fix. My poor eating habits and lack of physical activity are the problems I need to fix. The fat is merely a result of my problematic relationship with food and my lack of physical activity.

It's a difficult decision to make, since the scale and I have had a long, tumultuous relationship; the concept of trying to get healthier without a scale is completely foreign to me. However, my scale isn't helping me; anything that damages my motivation has to go. The last time I Sparked, I lost 45 lbs, then hit a weight loss plateau. After seeing no movement on the scale for three months, I gave up; I still had in my head that this was a diet, and that I was racing to the finish line. When I hit that plateau, instead of focusing on how great I felt in my new clothes, or the fact that I could do 45 minutes on the elliptical when I couldn’t finish 2 minutes when I began, I focused on that darn scale. I was ashamed and frustrated that the scale wasn’t moving, so I stopped coming on SP and slowly began to self-medicate with food. Before long, I had gained back that 45 lbs plus 20 more.

So clearly, watching the scale doesn’t work for me. No more weekly weigh ins for me. I'm also going to make an active effort to remove the words "lose weight" from my vocabulary. Instead, I'm "getting healthier." I may not be able to lose weight every day, but I CAN get healthier every day. My behavior is always in my control, even when my weight may not reflect all of my hard work. Each day that I stick to my plan, I am healthier than the day before. I am proud of myself for changing my unhealthy behaviors, and I’m going to keep at it!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great post and great idea. I did the same thing after I hit a plateau of several months last year. It is not good to stay fixated on the scale when you know you are making a lifetime change for the good. The fat will come off over time. :)
    2650 days ago
    Brava, Dr_T! I think it takes guts to make that sort of change in thinking--good for you!

    (And I also like the idea of the pitch-the-scale workout that Biggirl2082010 suggested, even if it's not practical... emoticon )
    2651 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2651 days ago
    Thanks! :) I won't be actually throwing the scale away, since hubby uses it, but I won't be getting on it for a LOOOOOOOONG time! :)
    2651 days ago
    P.S. Saw your blogpost on the Separation of Church and Weight page. In case you were wondering how I landed on your blog :)
    2651 days ago
    Very convincing reasoning! Whether or not you literally throw out your scale, your idea of checking your weight after long periods of healthy living is a GREAT idea! All the best to you on your healthful journey!!!!

    2651 days ago
  • BIGGIRL2082010
    So, have you TOSSED the scale yet? Do it. It won't hurt. It may even count as a workout. :D

    Totally agree with all you are saying about how the scale plays mental tricks on us. Your assessment that just fixing your choices to be more healthy will get you to all your goals is spot-on - GO for it!

    2651 days ago
    I love this! Last time I weighed at the Dr's office it showed I hadn't lost a pound and I KNEW I had; it just made me feel bad and afraid I was losing ground. You are right, it's the health and the positive mentality that count most. Thanks for posting this.
    2651 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.