I’ve been thinking a lot about my scale lately because it seems that several people I know have been breaking up with theirs. I was very very moved by both Mish and Shannon‘s recent decisions to destroy their scales (click on their names to read their stories). They felt like they were in unhealthy relationships with these pesky machines that were torturing them. Believe me, if I felt the same way about mine, I’d be tossing mine out the window too. I totally applaud their decisions and their liberation from what felt like very unhappy relationships.
I don’t feel that way about my scale. I’m going to let mine stick around for a while. I know that the whole TOPIC of scales is a very hot one. Some people are very anti-scale, and I can understand their reasoning. But over here, I feel like the scale is my friend. A firm, nonjudgmental and honest friend who will tell me what’s what, because you know, a lot of time I really don’t know.
Mish talked about discovering that she gained a small amount (less than a pound?) and that it totally ruined the rest of her day, after she woke up feeling strong and healthy and happy. I cried watching her video. It sounded so painful.
Sometimes the scale surprises me but I have really never had this experience. For one thing, going up or down a pound virtually means nothing to me, because my weight can fluctuate up to 3 pounds in 8 hours, depending on so many things. If I’ve eaten or if I’ve had anything to drink. If I’ve gone to the bathroom (sorry if TMI). If I’ve exercised or what time of the month it is, or if I’ve taken my medication. So basically, a pound either way doesn’t really mean anything to me and I’d never be upset about a small gain like that.
I’m much more likely to live in denial. Take last weekend. I went out to eat a few times. I ran on the beach. I took some long walks. I made some nice healthy meals. But I also made some warm shortbread cookies. On balance, I had no idea what I had done, bodywise. When I got home, I was wearing some rather loose jeans that were kinda stretched out. I’d say I was feeling kinda “skinny.” But when I got home my scale told me I’d gained a few. And instead of crying and wailing and heaving my scale across the room, I almost kissed it. I thanked it for telling me the real deal (ie, that the cookies and restaurant meals had overbalanced the running and the nice veggies I’d cooked). I said, “Thanks. Thanks for telling me the truth, friend.” And then I set to righting my little ship this week, and every day I’ve seen it edge back down toward where I want it to be.
I’ve rarely felt shocked and dismayed by the scale. Normally I feel like, if it goes up, I know EXACTLY why. Sometimes I wonder, “What took you so long?” Over the holiday period, my weight remained steady and even dipped down pretty low about a week before Christmas. I felt like, wow, I was golden. I think I let loose a bit, and then New Year’s week, BANG, reality hit. See, I couldn’t get away with some stuff I was hoping I could.
All this to say that I am really grateful to my scale for letting me know when I start gaining a couple. Because it gives me the chance to U-turn before the couple turns into 5 and then 5 turns into 10 and then I can’t zip my pants. I don’t want to let it get that far.
But it’s easy for me to slip into denial, or to have some magical thinking like, I work for Weight Watchers! I’m immune now! (NOT.) Or whatever little loophole I’ve dreamed up.
My scale sits in my bathroom and it whispers to me. It tells me what I need to do, not in a mean way, but in a gentle, supportive way. I know that different scales have different Voices for their owners. Mine is my friend and I’m not about to give it up.
January 15, 2010 at 1:14 am
Love the post. I think not matter what you have or don’t have in you life…if it’s healthy and supportive go for it.
January 15, 2010 at 2:17 am
I just adore you. Have I ever mentioned that? You said something I’ve been thinking and could not articulate. And you said it very well.
For me, even on days like today in which my weight stayed the same, the scale is my friend. It sort of reminds me of what I did that’s good and what I did that’s not so good.
For instance, I exercised about 3 hours per day all week last week (stength, cardio and more strength,) but over the weekend I ate really, really poorly. I knew it wouldn’t be pretty, but I did damage control. And I was reminded tonight that I need to exercise and skip the crap like I usually do if I want to see the results I usually see.
I don’t feel fatter or skinnier so I need the scale as a guide. I refuse to let it ruin my day though in the past several months it has done that a couple of times.
Everyone faces a different set of obstacles…but for me, I’m comfortable owing up to the scale, good or bad, because these days I prefer to know where I honestly stand. And that’s huge for me.
January 15, 2010 at 3:56 am
You are so cute. (Can I say that and not offend?)
I love your posts.
I really enjoy the way you write.
I think it is so cool the way you share how so many of your relationships have changed.
January 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm
Thanks for the cute!! (no offense, really!) Yes, it is true about relationships changing. It feels so good.
January 15, 2010 at 8:26 am
Haha. Good for you for having a good relationship with your scales. Although I chucked mine a while back (well they were digital and stopped working!!) I check in with the one at the gym once a week. Hehe.
January 15, 2010 at 9:23 am
Great post! I feel much the same way you do. I know that my weight fluctuates so I am not going to stress about small ups and downs. I’ve started to weigh myself daily as a way of keeping myself in check. If I see numbers going up then I know to be more careful. It’s feedback and that’s all.
January 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm
Yup, Sweeter. One of the most common WW sayings (re the scale) is: “Feedback, not failure.” It’s just feedback.
January 15, 2010 at 9:44 am
What a great post! A scale is my favorite tool, for all the reasons you mention. Come to think of it, TWO scales are my favorites, because a neat little food scale reminds me of what a “portion” really is.
My scales keep me on the on the right track, even when I’d rather stray a bit. Honest friends are treasures, even when they’re mechanical.
January 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm
Yes, I used to use a food scale more often and it probably is a good idea to pull it out. It can be a great friend as well, just another way of keeping it real.
January 15, 2010 at 11:48 am
I love my scale but I’m much more likely to swing the other way with using it. If I know I’ve been “bad” I won’t get on it. I don’t want to see a gain. Especially if I feel like I have a good excuse for why it’s up. But I love my weekly weigh-ins. Anytime I’m not using the scale regularly it’s because I don’t want to see the fact that I’m gaining.
January 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm
Sounds like you have a healthy relationship with the scale. I got rid of mine ealry last year, as you know, because my relationship with the scale had an affect on how my day was depending on the NUMBER. When I can look at the scale objectively and use it as a tool wtihout emotion, I’ll buy a new one. Until then, I don’t own one anylonger. Kudos to you for knowing the difference and using it as an effective tool!
January 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm
I need it as a reality check. Typically I can make it a non-emotional thing, the only time I start wanting to kill it is when I am so so so so good and I gain. It doesn’t make any sense! But I have made peace with the fact that I’ll probably need to weigh at least once a week pretty much for the rest of my life. And I’m ok with that.