The Numbers Game

I got a super  nice e-mail the other day asking if there was a reason I was so “cagey” about my actual progress in weight loss.  Hmm. To be honest, I never thought about writing about *that* on the blawg because I thought the posts would go something like “Today I weighed this much. I’m happy about this positive news. I’ll keep working hard for results!” or “JKGRIRTGJIDFIAURWVORFJSTIJYOER I GAINED TEN POUNDS I SUCK BYE XOXO, CAITLYN WHO WILL BE FAT 4EVA” Because you know. I’m like that. But I shall try.

Sidenote: How awesome is it that I could get an e-mail from a stranger essentially asking about my weight and my reaction is “wow that’s awesome she wrote to me about this and … actually wants to know!” If a complete stranger came up to me on the street and asked me about my weight, they would be met with an indignant, ladylike reply from my fist rearranging their face. No not really. My fist would lose in a tussle with my pillow. My real reply would be something like  stare at the person while my brain tried to process if what it registered hearing was correct, then I’d probably call them a bad word and storm off in a huff and rant about it later to everyone everywhere. This blog world is Awesome. Capital letters for emphasis.

I also think I never wrote about my weight because it’s all over the place.  My weight has always fluctuated. By the time I finish this post I will probably have gained a pound.  My weight itself is fine. My BMI has always been totally fine and average. It’s just that my 5’2 frame doesn’t carry the weight well and don’t like how my clothes fit or how my body looked. Oh and I always knew I ate poorly and was guilty of binge-eating.

Now, after 2 months of actually working at it (i.e.: gym going and thinking more about what I’m shoving in my throat) my weight still fluctuates day to day every day so it’s hard to zero in on how much I’ve lost total. If I had to, I’d guesstimate 5 pounds. If you had told me 2 months ago, it would only be five pounds I would have gone berserk and acted realllllllly classy. It is what it is and, it’s s-l-o-w. Sometimes it feels like swimming against the stream as I’m pretty much flipping my habits of the last 20 years (I’m excusing myself from accountability for newborn and toddler years) and resistance can be futile. I’m actually proud though because what I’m learning is I have a LOT to learn about my body, fitness, nutrition, and just health in general. I’m making healthy changes like drinking more water and no more soda.

I can understand now why some people don’t weigh themselves. My co-worker is adamantly anti-scale and for the life of me  I could not wrap my head around that, “But how do you know how you’re doing? HOW DO YOU KNOW!??!” It made no sense to me. The scale was *the* way of knowing! It was the facts! It was the Be All End All! Now that I weigh myself everyday….I get it. The scale is confusing and I usually stomp off the scale cursing. HOW DID I GAIN THREE POUNDS SINCE YESTERDAY, YE MIGHTY SCALE? TODAY I WORKED OUT FOR FIVE MINUTES LONGER THAN I DID YESTERDAY DONTCHA KNOW!? Funny how a stupid little number can elicit such a reaction. That’s all it is- a number. And I fear it, hate it, curse at it. It’s crazy.

I weigh myself at the end of every day. I’ve read, somewhere along my ridiculously Internet trail, that its better to do in the morning? I don’t know.  Some days I think the scale puts me in such a bad mood (I have so many angry or self-pitying scale reactionary posts in ‘Trash’ that will never see the light of day because even I have standards) that I should stop hopping on the scale everyday. I joined the Biggest Loser club at work, and so I’ve been toying with the idea of the Friday weigh-in being the only time I get on the scale. Maybe I shouldn’t look at the number at all when I do…but I know I probably will because I can’t help myself. Curiosity killed the Caitlyn.

Thus I have decided to try and not let the scale weigh on me too much (har har). Instead I’m going to focus on better things, like my pants being loose and someone at work chiding me for my shirt being too big.  “Buy your size, girl!!!” is music to my ears. Although being 5’2 with big boobs presents all kinds of nuisances when buying shirts. Anyway. There it all is.

What is your scale philosophy? Tell me all about it.

BTW, I know you were worried. My neighbor apologized for his newest biking partner confusing our parking pads and parking behind me the other day. REally his apology should go to the BodyCombat class members for denying them my presence and the opportunity to witness my boxing skills and all. Still irked I have to wait another week but I think the prognosis is that I will live.

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26 thoughts on “The Numbers Game

  1. Sometimes when I’m working out the hardest, I gain weight. But the idea that I’m gaining muscle and losing fat is what keeps me motivated. It’s not all about the scale (though sometimes I get caught up thinking it is) its about how you feel and your confidence level 🙂

  2. I rarely weigh myself and don’t have a scale in my house. I can tell I need to cut back in desserts when my pants are getting tighter so that’s how I stay in check. The number means nothing to me.

  3. i hate the scale. i dont own one. however, my best friend does, and when i hop on hers i always want to throw it out the window, and then throw myself out after it. the thing is i dont even know what number id be happy to see- i just see a number and freak out… for no reason. so yeah me and the scale got major beef.

    • OMG, THIS: “I always want to throw it out the window and throw myself after it.” This is exactly how I feel. I actually won’t allow myself to own a scale for this very reason. I know myself well enough to know that scales tend to bring out my inner OCD, and when that comes out, I go into OCD beast mode. Ain’t nobody got time (or the mental fortitude) for that! (Well, that and the fact that OCD beast mode makes me feel like complete shit all the time. No bueno.)

  4. I have a love hate relationship with my scale which rests quietly and unassumingly next to my toilet in my bathroom. Some weeks, I’m on it once a day, others, once a week. Sometimes, not even at all. The thing of it is, I go by how I look and how I feel. I KNOW when I’ve gained weight, real weight, after a vacation or a weekend full of fun and partying. I don’t need a scale to confirm my stomach is swollen.
    But, it can be so much of a factor in decisions and behavior, and I hate when I get in the habit of checking everyday because it interferes with my life. I’ve also found that my clothes fit better and I sometimes haven’t lost any weight – I’ve just been doing great with eating habits and working out and my clothes reflect it, not the scale. So really, the scale isn’t super helpful anyway, but it’s still nice to help me stay within a certain range, I guess.
    I think that your neighbor should absolutely write an apology note to your gym class for missing out on your presence. I would expect this kind of action if I was in your class! ❤

  5. I don’t use my scale as often as I should. but I’m really not a fan of the number right now so I’m trying to make healthy decisions and I’ll weigh myself when I think I’m getting closer to what I want to see. Personally, I think its best to weigh yourself once a week if you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re maintaining I think every other week or once a month just to see if you’re on track.

  6. I have heard to weigh yourself first thing in the morning because it’s what you really weigh. If you weigh yourself at the end of the day, basically your weight fluctuates so much that you’re weighing yourself plus all food/water that you consumed throughout the day. That’s just what I heard anyway.

    Meanwhile, I hear you. I stepped on the scale today for the first time in a while and it was depressing. How has my weight stayed the same in weeks when I’ve been working out like whoa?! That said, I have noticed my tummy looked a teeeeeny bit flatter and I’ll take that progress. 🙂 Plus my mom hasn’t told me anything and she is the first one to tell me when I look bad. :p

  7. I’ve played the numbers game forever, and I’m slowly weening myself off the scale! This sounds crazy, and a lot of people say it’s not possible, but I can fluctuate up to 10 lbs a day! I can wake up at 130 and go to bed at 140! It’s so crazy! I’m trying to stop weighing myself because I’m letting the number define how my day will be. If it’s low, it’s a good day and vice versa! Also, after I run or go to basketball practice, the number is ALWAYS higher. I’ve literally just worked my butt off, and it’s higher. Once I established that, I decided I need to cut back on weighing! I try to weigh myself once a week now, usually on Wednesday morning for no good reason. That way the fluctuations don’t rule my day and life!

  8. We have a scale in our bathroom, but I really try not to step on it too often. I don’t want the number to dictate my mood for the rest of the day. Plus, your weight really can fluctuate as much as five (WTF?!) pounds throughout the day, depending on what you’ve had to eat, drink, whether you’ve exercised, whether it’s your time of the month, and basically just to eff with your head. It’s more important to be active, take care of yourself, and make healthy changes. Those things will make you far happier than any number ever will! Sounds like you’re headed in the right direction. And good luck shopping for new tops!

  9. I totally can realte to this post. Seriously.

    I weigh myself in the morning, always. Right when I wake up or sometimes right after a shower (i heard that’s a good time to weigh, too?). Just because depending on my workouts and what I eat, the scale can fluctuate so much… especially from day-to-day! So for consistency, I usually weigh the same day every week (tuesday) at the same time. That might help with your inconsistency (due to weighing at night after different amounts and volumes of food/water). 🙂

    I am really trying to practice on NOT letting the number determine my mood. I think I have gotten better about it lately… just constantly reminding myself that I am MORE than a number, and it doesn’t determine my weight. That said, I do notice I gain weight after working out hard or really long runs… and I know the scale isn’t always the best measurement of success… but I am not one that can not NOT know progress or base it on fat loss (i have a distorted view no matter what the number) or how my pants fit (i could be at a low weight and still think they’re tight). If i go too long without a weigh-in, the more anxious I get but I also know I will become too obsessed if I do it every day.

    Wow, sorry for the novel. Good luck, excited to read about your progress.:)

  10. I don’t think it matters when you weigh yourself, as long as it’s at the same time whenever you do (so always weighing yourself at night is good). I weigh myself daily, too.. and I hate that I do it. I’m much more concerned with the way my clothes fit, but because I work from home I tend to wear yoga pants and/or gym shorts most days, so I can’t really use those as measurements. If I feel awesome in a pair of jeans, I could not care less what the number on the scale is. Regardless of the number on the scale, it sounds like you’re doing awesome.. paying more attention to what you eat and working out. THAT’s the important part, so kudos!

  11. We have a scale in our bathroom which pretty much mocks me as its right in front of our toliet. I weigh myself from time to time but find myself comparing my weight toy high school weight most of the time. Yikes.

  12. I am currently the heaviest I have been in awhile. I gained weight while I was training for my first half marathon and haven’t been able to lose it since. While I would like to lose the weight, and like my pants to feel better I try to jut be happy with how much my fitness has improved

  13. Why I hate hate HATE the scale: It’s not really an indicator of your health! It doesn’t take into account muscle mass, fluctuations in water retention, cardiovascular health, mental health, etc.

    I think that scales could be useful for someone with a lot of weight to lose. It can be super motivating and, if you’re super overweight, then seeing the number go down is always a good thing. Plus, it’s such a simple, one-dimensional number. Much easier than trying to measure all of the things I mentioned above.

    Other than that…it just makes me crazy! I still can’t help but weigh myself every time I’m at the gym, though. I try to gauge my progress based on measurements. They’re hard to do accurately, but at least account for muscle gains.

  14. Oh the scale. It can make or break any day! I weigh myself every day too (always in the morning- I guarantee I weigh at least 3lbs less in the morning than I do in the evening), sometimes twice in a row to make sure the number it said was actually right. Sometimes it seems like the scale takes a few days to catch up with hard work. Don’t let it discourage you! Focusing on how your clothes fit is usually a good indicator of what your body is doing.

  15. First, congratulations on your weight loss so far! It’s tough to lose weight and any little bit counts! I ‘m still working on my relationship with the scale, although I have moved away from it more often. I’m not sure it’s ever going to be something I’m completely okay with throwing away, but weighing once a week is a good start 😀

    What a great outlook you’re developing 😀

  16. I’ve now not weighed myself for 3 weeks as I’m trying out Intuitive Eating and it is both really freeing and really scary at the same time ‘not knowing where I’m at’ but I think it is so true that the scale can really mess with your mind and not tell you the full picture of muscle gained etc.

  17. I am the same way about scales – I never feel good about myself when I’m on them, so I never go on them anymore! For me, it’s all about how I physically feel and look, and how my clothes fit, like you said. I think that for some people stepping on a scale is a good idea, but it would totally destroy my weight-loss plans if I kept track of my daily fluctuations in weight. Those aren’t important, I don’t think.

  18. My scale philiosophy is pretty simple – I don’t have one! I chucked my scale out a lot time ago and haven’t found that I really gained weight by not stepping onto it every day. My clothes all still fit and when I do occassionally weigh myself on the scale in a local pharmacy it is always pretty much the same, give or take a couple of pounds, so I’m happy.

  19. Weight is such a weighty issue (ha) and it really can change your mood if the number is higher than expected or hasn’t moved despite all the effort you’ve done. I’d say weigh yourself once a week as this will give you a better idea as weighing every day can really get you bogged down with the numbers and in a week it should be more accurate anyway. But use how your clothes are fitting as the best measure. And remember you gain muscle by exercising too! Numbers are deceiving…

  20. Pingback: When I Get There | city & the cubicle

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