Friday, March 2, 2012

Learning a Lesson

I have had a serious addiction to my scale for... Well, I don't know how long, exactly. I'm sure that this addiction  is at least a year old.

 I know I've discussed this in other posts, but to recap some of it....

I have obsessively weighed (at least twice daily but usually more).  I justified this by saying I was seeing my daily fluctuation to get a feeling for what my weight does.  Well, it continued for a long time.  I eventually got back down to once on most days. 

In the past I let the numbers on the scale dictate how I feel about myself.  If the numbers weren't going down like I wanted, I got angry. I was hard on myself.  It's as though I relied on it to provide me with my feelings about my own self-worth.

I have tried "no scale" challenges and failed every single one.  I get too anxious about what my weight is doing or whether or not I'm on track. While I couldn't go a week without weighing, I did get down to three times a week at one point. I recently started a challenge with a goal to weigh once a week. For the first couple weeks, I weighed in twice. I had a hard time letting go of the anxiety about what my weight will do. 

Even when I anticipate a gain, I'd get mad at myself... Even if it was from hormonal changes causing fluid retention. This is something I cannot control, yet I act as though I can.

I have taken measurements along the way. When the scale obsession started I was less concerned with monthly measurements. Those cannot be done as often as the scale, which I used to direct what I needed to do.

I am aware that I have extra skin that will just not go away on its own. Despite keeping this in mind (and realizing I have no idea how much), I still worked to lose.

I thought that putting pics for opinions on SP would help me realize that I'm dealing with a lot of skin. One girl's hubby is a surgeon. She showed him and his verdict was "skin surgery." Even that didn't help me stop being obsessed.

As a result of this obsession I have...

Over-exercised, I'm sure.  There were days I'd eat in my range (1200-1550; never at the high end) and then workout so I could burn 600 calories. 

Allowed my self-esteem to be dependant on an object at times. Not consistently but it's happened.

Not enjoyed things that I should enjoy because I was worried about what I'd weigh.

Indulged too much in things that are unhealthy....And then not tracked them, KNOWING that everything not tracked was only working against me. Basically? I was reverting to an old habit. I know that most of weight loss is what you eat yet. I know to count everything because sometimes estimations are way off. I was estimating and staying within my range based on what I estimated (unless a special situation arose).

Let my obsession with the scale work against me. Clearly the effects of this obsession are all negative.

Had an unhealthy perspective regarding weight.


I have taken a step back from the scale.  Lent has helped me to get down to ONLY weekly weigh-ins. My challenge didn't (since I still snuck in an extra weight), but so far THIS has. Tomorrow I weigh. I haven't weighed since last Saturday. Am I nervous? Yes! But I know that...

My body fat percentage is in the healthy zone.
My waist to hip ration is in the healthy zone.  This means that I'm at low risk for certain health problems. I think I'm a decent distance from the top of the range too.
My measurements continue to go down, even if at this point it's little by little (hard to measure with extra skin in the way; FYI).
I am eating healthy.
I am exercising; both cardio and strength.
Based on measurements other than BMI, I AM HEALTHY.

Oh and basically? At this time, BMI sucks!

Let me tell you why... All BMI takes into consideration is your weight and height. BMI does not factor in what contributes to this weight.  It doesn't account for things like muscle, water, fat, or even skin. It just gives a number for where you fall on the BMI chart.

For me, everything else is in a healthy range, but my BMI still says I'm "overweight." I suppose that's much better than the previous "obese" and  "morbidly obese" ratings that it gave me. And when I was at those points, I'm sure it was more accurate. I know that at that point I wasn't exercising like I am. I wasn't eating healthy. My BMI at those times was probably more accurate than it would be now. 

Don't use BMI as an insignificant factor if you're just starting out. If you eat horribly and haven't exercised, you should really take BMI into consideration. You should focus on getting it down. Why? Chances are you don't have a high lean body mass (muscle, etc.) and that a great deal of yours is likely to be fat. You shouldn't be sitting on your couch scarfing down a fast food meal, doing nothing and think "oh I don't worry about my BMI because I have a lot of muscle".....despite the fact that you don't work out. I don't think so. You need to be realistic.

I still pay attention to my BMI, but like my weight, it's not as big of a concern as it once was. 

This weekly weighing thing is proving to be beneficial for me. I don't feel like I'm working out just to push myself to burn calories. Yes, I still like to burn my calories, but I'm working out more because I enjoy it again. I think that before I could push too hard, which in the end is not helpful. I'm not as stressed. I'm not as obsessed about what I'll eat and what I shouldn't. I track and plan but I don't constantly worry. I'm less anxious.

I've been reading about how the scale isn't always the best indicator of health....For quite a while. I've read that I'm more important than the numbers on the scale. I've read that measurements are better for tracking. I've known this stuff for a while but it has taken me this long to let it sink in; to realize it; to let the obsession go. As a result? I feel better. When people say these things, they don't just say them. They're being honest. They're likely speaking from experience. Their words and results couldn't motivate me to break the bond with the scale. I don't expect my words to convince you to change, especially if you are anything like I was.  I had myself convinced that I wasn't at a level of health or fitness where that could possibly be true to me. I still saw myself as fat and needing to drop pounds.  I wouldn't accept what anyone else said. It was like I was in denial that the scale could be bad. It was my friend, being nice to me for so long... How could it have become so mean? How could something so great cause me to feel the way I did? I thought that it was me; that I was not doing enough, pushing hard enough, or was failing in some way.

It wasn't that I was doing something wrong. It was that I let the numbers on the scale be the most important thing. I let thoughts of my overall health be shut out by numbers.

I don't know what inspired this change in thought. Part could be BR and how I am feeling the changes in my body. Seeing that I'm strong and I can do physical things I didn't think I could do. It might also be that I finally scheduled a consult with a plastic surgeon. Maybe allowing myself to know that I am at a point where this is a reality has helped. Maybe it's a combination of those things...and more. I don't really know, but whatever happened in my mind, I'm sure glad it did. The last time that such a thing occurred? I changed my lifestyle and began losing weight.

I hope that now that I've come to a positive place regarding my weight I will be able to continue to weigh only weekly. I will, for sure, do it during Lent...I hope that I will continue to do so after!


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