Tuesday, May 27, 2014

To Weigh, or Not to Weigh

We've all heard the debate:

Toss the scales. Never let your mood be determined by an inanimate object. 

Only weigh once a week to check your progress. Any more than that, and it becomes obsessive. 

You are so much more than a number.

You owe it to yourself to get healthy. That requires some accountability.

Guess what? I believe all of the above. I love Steve Marboli's quote:
"The scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That's it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love."
It's hard to argue with that logic, isn't it? And yet...that numerical reflection goes up or down, not dependent on gravity, but on my behavior in the moments leading up to stepping on the scale.  

Remember Fen-Phen? LOVED those pills. I went from an overweight, napping/drooling couch potato to a trim, active athlete with help from a prescription. I had never had so much energy. Never mind that I was risking my overall health to achieve my goals. I was losing the baby weight from giving birth to two babies. Never mind that the youngest was seven. It was baby weight; I assure you.

So, I went on to have baby number three, and afterwards, found myself in worse shape than ever. I knew something had to be done. In desperation, I found myself sitting on the crinkly paper in the examination room of my doctor's office, begging for the latest wonder drug. He just shook his head. 

"Denise, you don't need a pill. You already know the secret."

I groaned. "Move more; eat less. Auuugh. That just takes so much work. I want magic." I went home without any prescriptions, and set my mind to the task at hand. Losing the baby weight... before this baby entered kindergarten this time!

I did it; I lost EIGHTY POUNDS. (Yes, he was a very big baby.) People would ask me what I was doing to lose weight, always hopeful there were some secret. It's no secret, folks. If caloric expenditure is greater than caloric intake, weight comes off. There is no magic; just math.

Is there no secret then? I do think there is one important key. This may not be true for everyone, but for me, I knew there was an underlying cause for my mindless eating. I was numbing myself from uncomfortable feelings. I was not living in harmony with what my heart and mind were feeling and thinking. I was denying what I truly felt. 

I watched my weight plateau for a very long time, and then I watched it start to climb when I was going through a time of anxiety, and unrest. My first reaction was to turn to food for comfort. I didn't beat myself up over it; I knew it was a survival mechanism I'd used before, but I knew I couldn't continue this pattern, and feel good about myself.

While reading Bren√© Brown's Daring Greatly, and Deepak Chopra's What Are You Hungry For?, I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to face my fears, to lean into the discomfort, and have some tough conversations. Oh, no, there was no magic pill. I did some hard emotional work. And once I did, the scales started to budge...in a good way. 

The plateau is broken. Weight is no longer spiraling out of control. I've been here before; I can do this. 
Photo credit: fitbie

And so, the saga continues. For me, I weigh. Every. Single. Day. Iam rarely surprised by the numbers that I see. They reflect my habits. I know when I overindulge, I am going to see the numbers increase. I know when I'm working out, and making good choices, the numbers will decrease. It's just that simple, and it's just that hard.

Decide for yourself what will work best for you. To weigh, or not to weigh. Either WEIGH, what really matters is what you're doing between weigh-ins. Somehow, be accountable. Record what you eat, judge how your clothes are fitting, or step on the scale. You will be rewarded with your healthy habits. It just takes time.


  1. I am glad you are finding your way! I am still struggling to find what works for me. Today I compared the pictures from my "Day 1" with my "End of Month Two" pictures. I was hoping to see a change in what my body looks like, even though the scale has barely moved. I was disappointed. Again. Looks like YOU will have to be MY inspiration now…….

    1. But Dawn, do you FEEL better? I have more energy, more pep in my step. The changes will come; PROMISE.

  2. This is a great reminder, Denise! The first couple weeks are so discouraging - exercising & eating better, more energy, but no change on the scale. But I have noticed my powerful eating triggers. Working on ways to not have that battle each and every time one hits.

    1. Kendra, thank you! Those eating triggers, once handled, are a non-issue now.


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