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Throwing Out My Scale

Friday, November 15, 2013

Another thing I've learned in my journey over the last two years is to not judge my progress by my weight on the scale.

Whenever I started getting really good at sticking to my exercise routine in the past, I would get discouraged after looking at the scale and seeing my weight go up instead of down. I was building a lot of muscle and being able to do things I hadn't before, but I was discouraged because the numbers on the scale weren't doing what I wanted them to do. I would inevitably stop doing my exercises and focus solely on the calories in/out part of the equation---and that would help, for a while. But then I would get discouraged because I couldn't get past a certain weight, even when I was severely restricting my calories. It would get too frustrating, and I would give up--and binge eat.

I got frustrated with that cycle so I decided to try to figure out a way to change it. I analyzed why I was so obsessed with the numbers on the scale and I found out that I was impatient because I couldn't lose weight fast enough. Why was it so important that I lose weight quickly? Because I wanted to be skinny and attractive to the opposite sex---I needed the ego boost that I used to get when I was more slender and guys would look my way. The problem was I didn't feel I could get that ego boost unless I got down to the weight I maintained in high school. I was setting myself up for failure because I was trying to motivate myself using a damn near unachievable goal.

I am never going to look the way I did in high school. Even if I get back down to that weight, which will probably take a long time to do, I will never look exactly that way again. I'm much older now and wrinkles and age have started taking their toll. I finally realized exactly what I was doing wrong.

So I began to ask myself what is the point of losing weight if I can never achieve that ideal? At first, I didn't have an answer. I had a vague idea that it was still important, and I shouldn't just let it go and eat whatever I wanted without even trying to exercise. But I had no clear reasons for that idea. I knew that maintaining my health was important, but it just didn't give me that drive to succeed the way looking like I did in high school had.

Finally, inspiration struck in the form of my honeymoon. I wanted to be able to keep up with the walking tours that I had signed my husband and I up for without huffing and puffing or feeling miserable. So I set a goal of being able to walk outdoors for at least two miles in under an hour's time. I started slow and at first only walked half a mile. Then I worked up to 3/4 of a mile, then a full mile--so on and so forth. By the time my honeymoon had come around, I had achieved my goal of being able to walk two miles in under an hour without getting too winded. We went on our honeymoon and I found that I could walk all day on the flat New Orleans streets with short breaks periodically. I felt awesome!

When I got back home, I realized that I didn't want to stop walking. The leaves in our neighborhood had just started to change colors, and they were magnificent! I wanted to keep walking so that I could keep up with their change. Plus, I had gained even more muscle-tone in New Orleans and I knew that my body was changing for the better. I could walk further than I ever had. It felt exhilarating!

During that time and somewhat before, I'd also started making little changes to my diet. Setting small goals for myself throughout the day. Eat a piece of fruit for breakfast. Eat something larger, with lots of veggies or fiber in it for lunch. Make my lunch portion smaller than my dinner portions. If I eat dessert, skip the fruit the next morning, but make it a snack for the afternoon. Little changes, here and there, and soon they started adding up. My wedding ring was loose---and I wasn't even counting calories!

I'd found my motivation. Feeling better about myself, and being able to do things I had never done before! Exciting things, like walking around the French Quarter on my honeymoon, or seeing the fall colors on foot and up close. I don't need that ego boost from members of the opposite sex anymore---I've given it to myself by achieving more than I thought I could. By feeling strong and alive.

So--no more scale for me. It tends to make me a little crazy. I am sure enough of my plan that I can simply stick to my exercise goals and keep track of my calories without worrying about how much I actually weigh. Besides, I feel so much better marking my progress by how much I can do now than by that number on the scale.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JCROW4
    Thanks for the encouragement Melissa! :)
    1650 days ago
  • JCROW4
    Thanks, Pam! You are so right, for some of us that scale is NOT friendly at all. It's encouraging to hear from someone who has kept the weight off for years without looking at that thing. You are inspirational! :)

    Thank you for taking the time read and comment on my post.
    1650 days ago
    Great Blog! For some, the scale is their worst enemy. I was one of those people who relied on the scale to 'make (or break) my day!' I would weigh every single day, and often more than once a day. If I had gained a pound or two or three from the day before (which is impossible to actually DO in REAL weight, that is unless one eats a gazillion calories that are not used), then I would be mad and want to give up. If I would have lost a pound or two or three from the day before (which is also impossible to do in REAL weight), then I would be happy, and want to celebrate by "EATING!" After fighting the scale for a couple of years, I got rid of it. That was almost 30 years ago, and I have NOT owned a scale, nor have I weighed myself in that many years. When I see the doctor, I am weighed, and my weight has not fluctuated more than a pound or two (which is my goal weight) for all of those THIRTY YEARS! For some, the scale is their WORST ENEMY. If you are one of those people, GET RID OF IT!

    There may have been days, weeks, or months, during those thirty years when I may have gained a few pounds, but since I do not weigh, I do not know it. Eating healthy, exercising, and drinking a lot of water is what we are taught to do here at SparkPeople. We can do all of those things religiously for a week or two, and GAIN FIVE POUNDS! Of course, without the 'blasted' scale to let us know about it, we are feeling better and getting stronger by following the Spark Plan, and we aren't 'down' on ourselves by the weight gain (which could be caused by a lot of reasons..fluid retention, hormones, that time of month, or volume of food we are holding on to (you know what I mean) emoticon

    I would never discourage anyone from weighing regularly if he/she can deal with the 'ups and downs' of the results, but for a lot of us, the scale is NOT our friend even when we are losing weight. Eat healthy, exercise, and drink the 8 glasses of water daily, and the rest of it is up to each person's body type and metabolism. Besides, even during those times when the weight is NOT coming off, by following the Spark Program, all sorts of HEALTHY things are going on INSIDE our bodies, which is where it really counts.

    Best Wishes in reaching all of your goals. Take care! emoticon

    1651 days ago
    Way to go!! Today if it wasn't for that darned scale...i will heed your warning but i think im learning already.
    1651 days ago
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