One thing that struck me this week in reading other blogs and comments is how many people working on weight loss are afraid of the scale. They put incredible pressure on themselves to get the lowest weight possible, especially those who only weigh once a week. I’ve heard people say they stop drinking as much and shave their food down the last few days to get themselves as low as possible. What you wear to weigh in is debated (shorts and tee shirt? same clothes every time? naked?) as is what time is best to weigh yourself if you are doing that – naked first thing in the morning? 2pm? before bed?
There is no right answer to any of it. People work around their lives, their plans, their chosen weight loss program and figure out a routine that fits. But many are still afraid of the scale, afraid of stepping on it and finding they’ve gained or not lost when they worked hard. No one is ever afraid of stepping on the scale and losing, though if they only lose a tiny amount (0.2 lbs, for example) they get upset that it wasn’t more.
I seem to be in a different place with the scale now. I’ve been going to WW meetings for 4.5 years and somewhere in there, I think within the last few months, I’m not paralyzed by the scale. I wear the same clothes and weigh at the same time, but that’s because I go to a weekly class on the weekend, so wearing the same clothes isn’t a problem.
I don’t drink before I go to my 9:30 meeting and try not to eat anything too salty the day before, but that’s it. The scale provides me with a number that isn’t a judgment, it’s just feedback – and nothing to be afraid of, even if it didn’t go in the direction I wanted. And let’s face it, we all want and hope and often expect that the number goes down by a healthy amount every week.
But the scale reflects my life and how I ate – and whether I worked out more, ate foods in different combinations, was sick and not eating, socialized and ate out more than usual. The number gives me a point on a line to show me how I’m doing and once recorded, the slate is wiped clean and the next week will show me the progress I’ve made in that week. Just another step along a very long road.
Being depressed about it, or scared, or overly elated isn’t going to make the numbers on the scale go up or down. Putting the energy into just working the food plan, being active and healthy, and keeping myself balanced is what makes the difference for me. Of course I want the numbers to go down but I see this as a lifetime, not a short diet, and I’d rather make sure those other things are what matters because they are the factors that will allow me to keep the weight off.