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To weigh or not to weigh, that is the question

Sunday, December 08, 2013

I am exactly the same weight I was when I last weighed myself two months ago: 222 pounds. This means I have maintained a 30+ pound weight loss without much effort. The positive changes that I have made are now just part of who I am. That is the good news. The bad news is that my goal was to get down to a healthy weight, which means I still have some pounds to go. And then there are the pieces of clothing in my closet that don't quite fit enough to wear in public. Some of them were purchased years ago before I gained this weight and others were purchased as rewards for losing weight this summer, when I was sure I would continue to lose weight despite the stress of work.

Until around October, I was going to the gym on Sunday mornings to weigh in. I was totally obsessed with it, but it was helping me to stay focused. The problem is that I was fixated on the number on the scale, and my mood was going up or down depending on whether or not I lost two pounds that week. I did make changes in what I was eating and how much I was exercising to make that happen. I've done this before with the help of a nutritionist, and I know how to lose weight by counting calories and exercising more. The problem is that I always gain back the weight, so I am trying to make changes that are sustainable for a lifetime. Counting calories is just not motivating to me in the long run.

So, I did have a bit of a blip when the weather changed. I quit exercising, and as a result, more or less stopped weighing in. This happened gradually, and when I did get back to the gym to weigh in, I was pleased that I had stayed the same. I knew, though, what was really going on. I was replacing hard-earned dense muscle with fluffy, ill-feeling fat. I did not like how this felt, so I made positive change to walk more during the day by taking the train to work and taking small steps to be more active at work. This has increased my energy level as well as muscle tone, and I feel better. Exercise is an important part of my life, and I am doing it because I feel better and not because I am bent on losing weight.

I don't feel the same way about food. I like to eat. I am also an emotional eater, a bored eater, a PMS eater, a habit eater, you name it. Food is difficult for me to manage. I need to spend a lot of time and energy getting my food choices in check. The best way for me to do that is to commit to staying home on weekends and focusing on cooking for the week. This way, if I get home late or have a bad day, I don't have to make any decisions. I also have lunches that are satisfying ready to go. When I go away for the weekend or just don't get around to cooking, I make bad choices all week. If I go out for lunch on Monday, I will want to go out to dinner on Tuesday, and by Thursday, there will be nothing in the fridge so I will go out to lunch again. So, I am pleased with myself that I have been doing great with exercise for more than a month now (my muscles are back!) and I am still the same weight. I would feel just fine about this if I hadn't gone to the gym to weigh in this morning.

I guess what I was hoping for is a modest weight loss this morning. That would have been great for my self esteem, and I would have made the decision to weigh in once a month or once every few months. This would be good for my overall well-being. Instead, I was faced with the same number as before I rekindled my exercise plan. I am eating exactly what I need to maintain this weight, but if I want to lose weight I am going to have to give up more food, which is not what I want to do! Weighing in on Sundays does help me to get that in check, even if I do get obsessed with the numbers and like myself less than when I don't weigh in.

I'm not happy about it, but I am going to start weighing in once a week again. I am also going to keep my lifestyle as simple as possible this month. I am going to cook on the weekends, avoid social events that involve food and alcohol, and focus the holidays on taking care of my body and spirit instead of getting caught up in all the rush. It feels lonely when I think about it in the future, but in the moment, choosing to go to the pool on a Friday night instead of going out feels really good and it sets a quiet tone for the weekend. Maybe it is possible that I can learn to "feel" how much I am eating in the same way I have learned to "feel" how much I am exercising, but I am not there yet. Until I learn how to check in with my body about food, I am going to have to resort to the truth of the scale.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I weigh once a week. Some experts advise weighing daily, while others say once a week is enough.
    1656 days ago
    You have a good plan, attitude and understanding of the difficulties. Regardless of the effect on our mental state, the reality of a scale number doesn't go away.
    Focus on doing the right things and eventually the scale number will reward you. It just takes time, sometimes a lot of time. Good luck!
    1656 days ago
    I've experienced many of the challenges you've described here and there is hope that you can manage all of this. Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not effortless for most of us, especially those of us who love eating and socializing. We just need to relearn how to do those things in balance with our weight and health goals. Weighing in regularly is very much a personal choice, but if it helps keep you honest about your eating and exercise than I think it's a practice worth keeping.
    1656 days ago
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