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Weighing in on whether or not to weigh in!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I've been searching the message boards for discussions on whether or not people weigh in, and how often if at all. I'm curious about this because I've been having my own discussion (argument emoticon) with myself about the scale's usefulness.

In January, SP_Coach_Dean wrote an interesting dailyspark blog called "Getting off to a Good Start - Again". www.dailyspark.com/blog.

In it Coach Dean wrote about his return to a healthy routine after a bout of illness. He discusses positive goals' and how a goal to 'lose weight' makes him obsess over the scale. He goes on to explain that, in order to avoid this, he "...set my calorie goal at what it would need to be to maintain my weight after I’ve lost the 30 pounds, and I've figured out how many servings of each food group I can have. Instead of “dieting,” I'm going to start eating now the way I’ll be eating when I get to my goal weight, and let my body decide how fast it wants to lose the weight. For me, that takes a lot of the stress, frustration, and resentment out of dieting."

I quoted this from his article because I often feel the same way about the scale. On one hand I like that it gives me an easy and concrete way to see change, but on the other hand I too get frustrated and depressed when I don't see movement.

I fully understand the need for goals and milestone markers to help us gauge our progress and measure our successes, but I'm really beginning to question the use of the scale (or any other body measurement) to measure my progress towards a healthy life and body. Maybe I should just be eating the way my healthy 130 pound person should be eating, and the weight and inches will take care of themselves.

The question then becomes how to measure progress. If I track how many fruits, veggies, whole grains, vitamins and proteins I get, and maybe reward myself for the times I avoid the junk, it seems to me the rest will fall into place.

How to know when I'm successful - I think that when that way of eating becomes the norm for me and I don't have to think about it and plan it down to the last detail, well then it's become a healthy habit for life.

So, am I going to stay off the scale? - well old habits die hard (LOL) but I'm going to give it a try, maybe ween myself off of it over the next couple of weeks.

What do all of you think about using body measurements of any kind to track progress?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    275 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14105895
    I just found your page tonight after you friended me - I am going to friend you back when I finish typing this.

    THANK YOU for sharing that article from Coach Dean! That idea of eating at your maintenance range and letting the journey just happen is really cool! I am going to share that on the team I co-lead, where I have a thread for motivational articles.

    That paragraph you quoted was something I needed to read today. I don't believe in coincidences. Thanks again!

    So nice to meet you! emoticon
    602 days ago
  • MONTY68

    The scale and other forms of measurements seem to be a question that has so many opinions. 3 years ago when I ate and ate and ate,I never got on a scale, I didn't even own one.
    Every once in a while I would get on the scale at the grocery store and watched the weight go up. When I started my plan, I got weighed 3 times a week, still didn't own a scale. After I reached my goal, I got weighed twice a month but started to track food. It wasn't until 1 1/2 ago that I got a digital scale and then wam!!!! weighed my self several times a day. I always knew that morning weight was or was suppose to be the most accurate. Now, being on "maintenance for over 2 years and reading a number of blogs, I have determined for me as long as I track everything and stay within my range, my weight should stay steady. i have several friends or seem to be at their correct weight told me that they get on the scale at least twice a month, they also don't track what they eat but seem to know what they can have daily. I do remember when we would go out to eat, I finished everything on my plate and so that for the most part they were taking doggie bags home. Now that makes sense, as I no longer eat and eat and eat. What am I doing, staying off the scale more often, but now I am looking more at what I eat, just because we stay in a range of calories, doesn't mean we are getting the quality of food, I am looking more at the nutrients, and vitamins and fortunately we can track those also, The biggest problem is that not all labels include everything. So, what I am trying to do is eat like a "normal " person does but perhaps a better awareness of what is healthier totally for me.
    Well this was a lot of writing, hope something I said helps.


    4084 days ago
    This is an interesting blog and I have been dealing with the same internal debate. I recognize the dangers of scale-obsession. A couple months ago, I was starting to stress excessively over every movement, because my weight loss had plateaued. My frustration made the situation worse. I am currently on a hiatus from the scale (two weeks now) and I'll admit, it is PAINFUL to stay away! I feel like I am going through withdrawal. But, I have noticed that without the scale to show me my progress, I have to do a better job of focusing on ensuring that progress happens through my choices. I am tracking my food better, exercising everyday. That way, when I do finally weigh-in at the end of this 30 day break, I will know that I did my best.

    However, I do feel that progress checks are necessary. After I am weened off my obsession, I feel that I will weigh in once every two weeks. As you lose weight, you will need to adjust your diet etc. So I feel that weigh ins are definitely necessary. It would be nice to go on cruise control, but I'd still like to look down at the speedometer just in case!

    Either way, I am sure that you will find your rhythm and see continued success!

    4084 days ago
    While I understand your plan in theory, I wonder how one would implement it.

    Without objective external measurements, how do you know what you need to be eating? We all have our own unique metabolism. What one healthy 130 pound person should be eating will be different from another healthy 130 pound person.

    I'm a geeky scientist so I like numbers and find them empowering. Like Bill I prefer to swamp my mind with data rather than avoid it completely. The thing I like about the Hacker's Diet approach is that armed with the information about what you're eating and the incremental changes in trend weight you can actually estimate what your own individual caloric needs are.

    In the end, whatever works best for a person is what he or she should do. Go ahead and try it! But maybe you could decide to check back in with the scale or a measuring tape or something in a month or two, just to make sure it's working?
    4084 days ago
    It isn't likely that this scale fluctuation has much to do with your immediate actions. Most of the daily scale fluctuations have to do with water. I wouldn't get disappointed about an overnight gain, nor would I get excited about an overnight loss. This emotional pinging isn't real helpful for me. Based on the book, The Hacker's Diet (it's a free e-book, google it), he gives the analogy of the body being a rubber bag. We take in and expel mostly liquid throughout the day. Sometimes the body expels more liquid than it takes in, sometimes it's the other way around. To give you an idea, one 8oz cup of water is 1/2 pound. 2 cups, a whole pound. So if the body simply holds one cup of water, that's a whole pound. That can make you gasp on the scale, right?

    So the author proposes taking your weight and averaging over time, usually analyzing the trend over a week. There is a website that takes the concepts from this book. It is called physicsdiet.com. For me, it really took the emotion out of some of the wild fluctuations. At this point, I focus on the trend, and my daily weigh ins are just another number. So now you can weigh in every day and give each day its appropriate meaning. It's just another point on the chart. Nothing to be emotional about. (Note: easier said than done ... heh)

    I hope this helps you as well.

    4084 days ago
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