I just got a scale today. I haven’t had a scale for over a year. Part of that was not wanting to deal with anything the scale said. Part of that was having this odd relationship with scales my whole life. Seriously! I am a “weigh-in junkie.”
Conventional dieting wisdom is to weigh in once per week. Daily fluctuations can be, I know, disturbing and unrealistic. Every diet I’ve ever been on has warned against daily weighing, but here is what I notice about myself: When I’m being “good” and working at my weight loss issues, I need daily confirmation and validation. I weigh myself every day. Sometimes I can weigh myself several times a day. (OCD anyone?)
The first sign that I’m starting to “be bad” and stray from my program du jour is that I avoid the scale. So the fact that I haven’t had a scale in two years… what does that mean?
Now the question is… which is the cause and which is the effect? Is it bad weigh-ins that cause me to go off program, or is it being off program that causes me to avoid the scale. Obviously it is different for different people. My mother, from whom I inherit my yo-yo dieting skills, plays the “scale game.” This is a version of a shell game in which you weigh in at different times of the day or wearing different clothes in order to get different results.
Me, I’m more pragmatic. I believe that there is a general daily fluctuation of 2-4 pounds. I’m merely looking for that gradual movement in the downward direction. If I’m a pound up or down, I don’t take it too seriously.
If I examine my past behaviors (which are often a very good indication of future behaviors) I see that my life is what often gets in the way. Being on a program is a commitment of time and energy. Whether I spend the time on shopping smarter, cooking better, exercising more, or even (as in this case) blogging and journaling, I am apportioning a part of my psychic and physical self into the efforts of losing or maintaining weight. I’m buying into taking care of me.
What tends to happen is that other things step up and take my attention, my energy, and, of course, my time. I need to grab something quick because I’m too busy to cook. I need to skip exercise to meet a deadline. My kid needs me. My job needs me. Somehow all these pieces that are taken out of me become the sum of what I am. Then, I stop weighing in either because I’m too rushed and I “forget” or because I know that bad choices will cause a gain I really don’t want to see.
The longer I stay off the scale, the harder it is to get back on. (This past time being the longest and most deliberate). The longer I stay off the scale, the easier it is to continue grabbing the wrong foods and making the wrong choices. Usually it is something besides the scale that causes me to go back on. Pants don’t fit, I get short-of-breath easily, something. Then I’m back on the scale and the pattern repeats.
So now I just accept that I’m a weigh-in junkie. When things are really tense, I can weigh in 3, 4, or more times in a day. Generally, though, I take my weight first thing in the morning, after the bathroom but before my first cup of coffee.