Wednesday, November 12, 2008

To weigh or not to weigh...

I just read a post about scale addictions. After the birth of my first child, I was a big time scale junkie. I loved stepping on the scale SEVERAL times a day. First thing in the morning. After working out. Again before stepping in the shower (sans clothing). After a bowel movement. At night. I wouldn't say my mood was necessarily dependent on what the number read. But I just had to know. And I was fascinated by how many pounds I lost while sleeping, pooping, whatever. It was actually during this scale-obsessed period that I eventually weighed less than I remember ever weighing pre-children. My weight was the same weight I reported on my 16-year-old driver's license. Go me.

And then I got pregnant again. I put the scale away. I found out how much weight I'd gained along with my doctor each month. By the end, I'd gained around 40 pounds. The baby was born, and for some reason, I didn't take out the scale. When I've weighed myself since, it's been for a family "biggest loser" competition. And honestly, I've forgotten the weigh-in most weeks. So I haven't been the "biggest loser."

I don't think I want to go back to weighing myself every day (and definitely not multiple times a day). I'm not obsessed about my weight (although I know enough to know that I haven't lost those last 10 pounds...which does drive me a bit crazy). I KNOW that numbers on the scale don't really matter. It's more how you feel, how your clothes fit, blah blah blah.

Why is it, though, that when I was weighing myself more often, I was in the best shape of my life? Meaning: I was working out regularly, eating healthily, and weighing-in daily. Are regular weigh-ins the answer?

I definitely have an opinion on this. I don't want my kids to see me obsessing over the scale. I don't want my moods determined by the numbers. I don't want to "reward" myself for lower numbers with a treat. So maybe I really don't want to know. I've been living pretty happily without the scale (for the most part) for about a year and a half. I haven't weighed myself in over a month. But I would love to lose those last ten pounds (and by lose those last ten pounds I also mean those last inches around the waistline...again, I know the numbers on the scale don't tell the whole story).

I've heard of Mary Lou's weigh. It's a scale that doesn't actually tell you your starting weight. It secretly records it, then coaches you along, and reports the weight lost or gained (while also giving advice). Sounds interesting, right? But I know that I would already know my starting weight. So if the scale shouted out that I'd lost 5 pounds, I'd be mentally telling myself the real number anyway. Thoughts?

I'm leaving the rest to you, fit-a-licious readers. How do you feel about the scale? Does it determine your mood every morning, or is it collecting dust in your basement? Do you even own one? Should I start weighing myself regularly again to keep myself accountable? Or should I ban it for life? Please to tell us your thoughts....

10 comments:

Erin said...

I have to admit, I'm a scale addict. Several times a day...until recently, when I didn't like what it said. So I "scaled" back to once a day. But I have to say, the UGLY number was motivating. And everyday when I saw that ugly number getting bigger and bigger, I decided it needed to change. So I'm happy to say it has! YAY me!

Anyway, I think if I didn't weigh myself often, things would get out of control, really, really fast. For some reason I think the scale shows gain before your clothes do. At least for me anyway. So if you can attack what the scale says BEFORE you have to loosen your belt, I think it comes off a little easier. The longer I have the weight, the harder it is to take off. It's like it builds a permanent home instead of just renting for a while...

Diane said...

We didn't even own a scale the whole time we lived in California. Now that I have one, I can tell you that when I weigh myself EVERYDAY, I get stressed about the least bit of weight gain. I think it is helpful to know, but at the same time...I think it does keep your weight on your mind too much. And...having teenage girls without a scale in the house may have been a good thing.

Kimberly said...

Some of you may have heard this story before...

I was totally addicted to my scale and faithfully weighed myself every morning and sometimes before bed. After baby #3, the weight just was not coming off as fast as the other two had and I was so, so depressed! After crying and complaining about my weight, the hubby took my scale and hid it away. I was so sad to not have my scale anymore, but now I love it! It keeps me focused on how I look in my clothes rather than what my weight is...it's great!

Niki Carpenter said...

I was a scale addict after my first child was born, too. I also weighed myself multiple times a day, and was a little too preoccupied with losing the baby weight after my son was born. After Emma, I too put the scale away and just tried to focus on eating less sweets and working out regularly...now that I am about to have my third I think I will stick with leaving the scale in the closet!

Evelyn and Art said...

I have never owned a scale, nor will I ever! I'm aleady obessive compulsive enough and I don't need to add that to my list! Honestly I don't need a scale to tell me whether I've lost or gained weigh. I know. It's interesting that it worked to help you lose weight, because it usually doesn't work that way! (So I've read.) To me, it's about how I feel about me, not about numbers because as you say, that's not the entire story. I'm always going to be a different number to every person because of my shape and height anyway, so what does it really matter? It just matters how I feel I look in my clothes and just in general, how I feel about me! When I'm working out and eating right I feel great no matter what the number is! I don't need a scale to define me!

Jill said...

The scale usually gives me a little kick-start when I haven't been eating right. I've never been addicted to the scale, and now I weigh myself about 2 or 3 times a week. However, the thing that works best for me is probably to weigh myself once a day, first thing in the morning (when I weigh the least :). This just seems to be the best thing to keep me on track, even though I know my weight can fluctuate greatly depending on the time of the month. If it's steadily staying a pound or two higher than I would like, than I know I need to do better at watching what I eat. In fact, after reading this post, I will probably go back to weighing myself once a day.

Christie said...

I need the scale. Sometimes you can squeeze yourself into clothes, but you can't fool the numbers. And pounds can creep on before you realize it. It helps me keep things in check, but I can get obsessive with it. I try not to let it affect my moods, but I'd be lying if I said it doesn't happen sometimes. Especially when that number is bad.

Melissa said...

I need my scale. I tend to lie to myself if I don't weigh in.

Tami H. said...

Hmmm,
I have never owned a scale, but I do weigh myself when I come across one. The scale is a helpful reference point when used with other indicators of how you are doing. However, alone it is not an accurate guide to know how you are doing with diet health and exercise. For example, if you are on a diet and losing pounds, you may be losing muscle (weighs more) and gaining fat (weighs less). This leads to the diet rollercoaster, because if you stop the diet, your body, having been starved will try to gain back that weight.

However, if you gain some muscle, and lose fat, you are going to be thinner and feel better than vica versa, but the scale won't show it. I do weight loss coaching with herbalife and we always measure the person 1st and then measure 3 days after and weekly after that with the GOAL of losing inches (arms, thighs, butt, stomach, bust etc), which is a truer indicator of how you are doing overall. Clothing can be a good indicator too. After my 2nd baby, I had a pair of shorts I bought on clearance during my pregnancy. After the baby I tried them on. They did not button ( a few inches from it). So, I tried them on everyday until they fit. I could see my progress as that button got closer and closer until I could button them no problem.

So...I am just saying don't use JUST the scale. As Robyn said, it can be different after different meals, after bowel movements after working out by a few pounds. If you do use it, it is best to weigh in first thing in the morning and weigh in like that everytime you weigh in.

Missy said...

I don't believe in Santa Clause, Tooth fairies, or Monsters of any kind, that includes scales. They lie and are completly irrelevant to being truly fit, beautiful, and healthy. I've tried to use a scale to both lose and gain weight at different times in my life. It was always a complete waste of time that mostly just discouraged me. I focus on how I feel when I exercise and eat right, the end. It just has to be that way for me.