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Does the scale matter?

Posted Nov 16 2012 6:46am

So, my scales are broken. I returned from a weekend away having fun, hopped on to assess any damage, only for it to weigh me in at a few pounds lighter, and it keeps cycling through a 3 pound range, not stopping at any one number. Balls.

I actually really wanted to step back on the scale Tuesday morning. I had indulged last weekend, ate good food, and had a few drinks, but I had also been really good beforehand, which I was hoping had given me a slight buffer, and I had made quite a few good choices too. Weighing myself on Tuesday would of allowed me to assess if my plan worked, and then I would of been able to draw a line underneath it, and got back on track this week.

The thing is I really want to say, no the scale doesn't matter: just go by the way you feel, don't define yourself by the number on scale! And as much as I agree with these thoughts, I know the way I 'feel' isn't going to keep me going. I need something tangible, a number, to keep myself motivated. This is also a reflection of the fact that I find it quite hard to see a change in myself, so it can take quite a few pounds and a few months before I spot a difference, whereas the scale can give me instant feedback if I'm headed the right way.

Ideally, I would like to be one of those people that could go the whole month without weighing themselves, and still keep on track, but that's just not me: the numbers are a huge motivation for me. Recently, I have been doing quite well: the more positive weigh in's I have, the more it seems to drive me forwards. It's all about keeping that ball rolling! And as much as the scale does fluctuate, the scale never lies, and if I see a gain it usually reiterates that I can't get away with whatever slip up I might of had, and allows me to get on track asap.

I am usually a daily weigher. Daily weigher's usually get a bit of a bad rep: I must be obsessed! However, although I weigh myself every day, I don't really register at all. By lunch time I honestly don't remember what my weight on the scale was. And it isn't something I feel compelled to do every single day, it is only if I remember as I walk around in a sleepy state first thing in the morning. One upside to doing this, is that I am fully aware that my weight can fluctuate by a few pounds every day, so it is only when I know that I might of eaten too much that I pay attention to those bigger numbers, as I know they are bigger for a reason.

Only once a week do I take note of what the numbers actually are. I reflect on the result, whether it be a loss or a gain, and think about whether I deserved that result. If I worked hard, and lost, then great. If I had a few slip ups and gained, well then it gives me the resolve to get back on track asap. If I lost, but don't feel I deserved it, I count myself lucky this time, but remind myself that I wouldn't get away with it for a second week. If I worked hard, but gained, well, shit happens. As long as it doesn't happen too many weeks on the trot, then I just write it off as one of those things. 

Despite being a daily weigher, I don't think I have a bad relationship with the scale. In fact I think my relationship with the scale is quite healthy. I don't let it ruin my day. I don't analyse why I'm up half a pound on a certain day: I know its just one of those things, down to a number of bodily quirks. The numbers have been behaving recently, but, as I've already said, I know that sometimes I can see a number that I don't expect or deserve. As shitty as it is, and I do allow myself to wallow in it a bit, I am quick to pick myself up and move on. I don't 'punish' myself for seeing a 'bad' number.

So for me I would say the scale does matter. When it comes to weight loss it matters. However, I do think the scale can be a huge problem for some people, and you might have to work hard not to be emotionally attached to a number on the scale, especially when it something you work hard for. When it comes to the bigger picture of life, or what kind of person you are, the scale doesn't matter. My view is coming from the perspective of needing to lose weight, and I think I would probably not be of the same view if I was of a healthy weight. When I reach goal weight I hope to phase out the scales as much as possible, just using them to keep track every now and again.

Obviously there are other ways to measure progress such as fitness, health and measurements, and I'm not saying that these aren't important, I'm saying that they are all just as important in motivating myself in not eating that biscuit or going to the gym despite it being cold and dark.The scale just happens to be the easiest way of measuring.

I've decided to go back to strict paleo again. I find it easier to have a strict list of rules, as when I am open to having a few slips, it is hard to draw the line. And so that was the other motivation for Tuesday's weigh in: I wanted to have a starting weight: I'll just have to call this week a practice run. Obviously Christmas is coming, so figuring out a game plan can be hard. Hopefully I'll be sticking to paleo as long as possible up to the run up to Christmas, probably the next four weeks. Over the Christmas week I plan on taking a whole week off from counting calories and just eating what I feel like, as this plan worked well for me last year, as knowing I could indulge in a few things I fancied over Christmas helped me resist in the weeks approaching. Yes I will probably gain weight, but I don't mind when it is Christmas! Let's just hope I don't get ill like I did last year: on the first day of my week off I got food poisoning, which meant I actually lost weight over Christmas: not the plan! Ha!

So in conclusion, this is why I shall be running out to the shops on Saturday to buy a new scale! Any recommendations? It does bug me slightly that using a different scale will probably mean that the first weigh in won't be accurate, but that is the stats lover in me! Hopefully I will be exactly the same as I was nearly two weeks ago, as it will mean that I handled and then recovered from my weekend away well: fingers crossed!

Do you think the scale matters? Could you do without yours?

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