That thing up there, it is my nemesis. I loathe the scale. Whether it is the scale at home or at the doctors office…or anywhere else a scale may be I hate them all. They give me anxiety, they make my OCD go nutso. I just hate them. I am going to give you a glimpse right now inside of my brain and how completely unreasonable it can be. This is something I will always struggle with…
I have never owned a scale because I know I would stand on it a billion times a day just to make sure I am not gaining weight. When Rob and I got married and were unpacking in our new apartment he pulled a scale out of a box and went to put it in our bathroom. I quickly said NO! I asked him to put it in the guest bathroom, that I don’t use as often, so that it wasn’t quite so accessible for me. I knew I would stand on it all the time if it was in our bathroom.
In the almost 2.5 years that we have been married I have done pretty good with that scale in our apartment. I don’t step on it every time that I go into that bathroom and when I do it is usually a day (or the day after) that I maybe splurged a little more than I should have. But there are definitely weeks where I am on it more regularly. I still after so many years have this horrible feeling that each time I step on the number will just keep climbing and climbing until it is out of control again.
We were in California last week visiting Rob’s family. There is a scale in the bathroom. We were on vacation so I didn’t workout quite as much as normal and we splurged a little more on food. The first day I told myself I wasn’t going to be obsessed over the less working out and more eating but my will power didn’t last long. I seriously drove myself crazy stepping on it at least 2 times a day! No big surprise there, I would gain during the day but in the morning my weight would be back to normal. I knew this is what would happen yet I still did it.
My parents also have a scale at the end of the hall in their house. When we were there for the weekend, every time I would walk down the hall I would stand on it. Every time people, even if I had just stood on it an hour ago. It was ridiculous! There is something in my brain that is paranoid about going back to where I was that I just can’t have a scale around, it makes me be unreasonable.
The other scale I hate is the one at the doctor’s office. I am a pretty healthy person and rarely go to the doctor. But when I was pregnant and had to go often and stand on the scale every single time I would get so anxious sitting in the waiting room. Not because I was worried something could be wrong with my baby, or nervous about what the exam might hold, or that I might get some sort of bad news…I was anxious over how much weight I had gained in that month or two weeks or whatever it was. I was eating healthy for the most part and working out every day, why was I so paranoid?!?
The silly thing is that while I was losing weight I never got on the scale! Seriously. I maybe did every 6 months or so just to see. Maybe it was not even that frequent, I don’t remember any roommates or my parents having a scale so I don’t know when I would have checked the number on the scale. The way I kept tabs on my weight loss was to measure my body and simply by seeing how well my clothes fit. When the jeans that were normally tight after being washed were suddenly fitting after being washed I knew I was making some progress. When the inches that I measured were less than the time before I knew I was making more progress. But in all honesty I didn’t even measure that often, I am lazy and just didn’t want to take the time. My clothes were gradually getting more and more lose on me until I eventually would have to buy new ones. And in spin class I could feel myself getting stronger, there was more definition in my muscles and I had more endurance and could work longer and harder before I was exhausted.
If you start to exercise the number on the scale goes all crazy and isn’t a good representation of how you are doing. Initially you will lose weight but then that number will stop going down. It may even creep back up. That can be SO frustrating when you are working so hard to exercise and eat healthy. You have to remember though that all your hard work is replacing that fat with muscle. And yes I know a pound is a pound but a pound of muscle is much more dense than a pound of fat which means it takes up less space. So as you get rid of fat and add muscle you get smaller. And all that muscle is also burning more calories while you rest and work than the fat. So even though that number may just hang out or go slightly up just remember, you are gaining muscle and that is what matters.
So many of us are addicted to the scale but it’s not worth stepping on ten times a day because it tells you nothing and just makes you paranoid! It is completely normally for our bodies to fluctuate an average of 5 pounds a day. So yes you may gain or lose weight during the day and that is ok, it is normal! Stick with measuring inches and using your clothes as a gauge on how your journey to a healthy you is going. If you really have to see those numbers then limit yourself to once a week or even just try once a month. Make sure you are doing it at the same time of day with the same amount of clothing on so that it is more accurate. I will always struggle with the scale even knowing that 5 pounds fluctuation is normal. But I am working on it, and even those days where I do step on it more than I know I should, I just remind myself that I am still doing ok. That scale doesn’t own me.
Please don’t let the number on the scale define who you are. I have done that for way too much of my life and I regret that. It made me depressed and unhappy. It has taken me so long to figure some things out and I wish I could have figured them out a lot sooner and not been so unhappy for a good chunk of my life. A scale can’t reflect how much muscle versus fat you have or how big or small your bones are. It doesn’t take into account your height or whether you are male or female. That number doesn’t show who you are, how kind you are, what talents you have and all the good things you have to offer the world. Just be happy healthy you wherever that may be at whatever size. Your body is at it’s best when it is healthy, fed well and exercised. It doesn’t matter what any person, book or website says that number should be, for you it just needs to be where you feel your best!