One of the issues I have picked up on – that all of the lovely people I have spoken with, coached, or emailed since starting this weight loss campaign have in common – relates to scales…the dreaded scales!
They become our primary focus and it blinkers us at times. They can destroy our confidence within the space of a few seconds and change our mood in an instant. So I have a plea…
DITCH THE SCALES!
This isn’t a call to arms – I am not trying to start a bra-burning movement or getting all Emily Pankhurst on you! I am not interested in ‘doing it for the girls’…I am just keen to help free some of the mental torture that my fellow losers experience – and yes, even the men feel the same way too. I don’t for one minute suggest that you don’t weigh yourselves again, but please just don’t do it more than once a week…at the same time each week if possible.
As an avid people-watcher I see no end of ladies interspersing their gym workouts with little weight checking sessions on the scales. Quite what miracle results they are expecting I’ll never know…as they guzzle down water during workouts which their muscles soak up like a sponge! And it’s not just the ladies…the boys do it too! Will a tiny loss in the right direction spur them on even more, making them do an extra ten minutes on the elliptical machine? Heaven forbid there be a gain…I saw a woman recently – more than one actually – literally throwing in the (gym) towel and heading to the changing room with a really miserable face plastered on!
I have also been emailed by people who weigh themselves directly after a binge, and then again the following morning. And again that lunchtime…and then after the tiny dinner they allowed in a desperate attempt to atone for the binge. They weigh themselves just before heading to their weigh in classes…and won’t go if their scales don’t show signs of improvement.
I became a slave to the scales at one point too, and I still am on a weekly basis I guess. When I managed to lose 8st with Slimming World a few years ago, I was so excited to finally find a pair of scales that went as high as my weight was – 25st – that I couldn’t resist buying them. In fact, I am lying…Mr WLB couldn’t resist buying them as he thought they would help me! Little did he know what damage the shiny silver buggers could do. I would weigh myself each morning, when I got home from work, after dinner, before bed…and after my binges – which became more and more frequent as I was comforting myself with food due to pressures at work.
The scales always gave a different result to those that I got when I went to my group, and I never knew if I was coming or going. I ended up getting so demoralised, putting the weight back on, and adding about another 10st in weight…although that particular aspect probably had more to do with work issues and my Hotel Chocolat taster club subscription!
Fat is the name of the game here. We want to lose fat – not water, not muscle, not our will power or confidence. How on earth can you tell what you are losing is fat if you are on and off the scales more times in a day than there are adverts for junk food on TV…and there are a lot of adverts! Your body is approximately 60% water. The likelihood is that your weight fluctuates due to this, along with hormonal issues, not as a result of that digestive biscuit you secretly ate in the kitchen whilst preparing dinner. Of course a whole packet might not do you any good, or an extra biscuit everyday…but you get my point – don’t be a slave to the scales.
The ups and downs we experience on the scales are matched by our mood. I have written before about how great I have felt walking into group…only to have that feeling destroyed as a result of not seeing the numbers I wanted. Yet why should this be an issue? If I feel good, then I feel good surely? Why do we let that number define us?!
It seems crazy that our emotional well-being as losers is connected to that set of scales and the number it dishes out. Is it because we feel that it highlights our effort – or lack of? I think this is one of the reasons I get upset. Good numbers equal good effort and shows to my fellow group members that I have been ‘good’ this week. Which is a bloody stupid notion in itself – our eating does not for one second make us good or bad…and my recent run of poor losses also for me highlights that shite happens at times. I have been putting in more effort than ever and getting my worst results in terms of numbers…but fabulous results in terms of fitness levels!
So what is the answer then? Well, first of all throw your scales away and just use the ones in group, or make the effort to head to Boots or a supermarket with a set of scales that you can weigh yourself on once per week. This means that you will be weighing on correctly calibrated scales – not some £14.99 bargain from Argos that was probably battered around in transit and isn’t accurate anyway! This also means that you can get on with your life and stop obsessing between groups. It doesn’t mean that you should go and buy a body fat monitor either…swapping one obsession for another!
A personal trainer I know tells his female clients to weigh themselves once per month only. His experience is that their weight fluctuates so much thoughtful the month that they do themselves no favours by checking in more than this. Personally, I like my weekly weigh in as it gives me a little control…but I do tend to average out my losses for the previous four weeks which helps to put a smaller loss into context.
As I continue losing weight I notice that my focus is shifting. I try not to obsess about the numbers – even though they are important. Although I have to say that if I don’t get a decent loss on the scales tomorrow I will be having a major melt-down…but that is down to the hill-walking effort of this past week! I am trying to ditch the baggage that is tied to my weight…trying to make it less about the numbers and more about the feeling.
In fact, one of my little tricks that I use as I am heading to my weigh in is to think about all of the amazing things that have happened in the past week. I want to feel as good as possible when I step on the scales. I want to be able to focus on that great feeling irrespective of the numbers. It is hard and it takes practice, but after a tiny sulk I can generally pick myself up and get on with focusing on my health and I know that I am doing the right thing by myself.
Personally, if I was a size 12/14 and weighed what I do now, I wouldn’t have an issue! It isn’t about the number, it is about how I look and feel. Whilst I know that I will not be getting to that size anytime soon – and that unfortunately ’22st’ and ‘size 12/14′ will not be uttered in the same sentence…unless referring to the shoe size of someone at that weight – I am going to keep working on falling in love with the feeling, and not the looks.
You have to ditch the mental baggage, or else you will carry it with you for a very long time…and it will weigh you down far more than your muffin top ever will. Use a pair of tight jeans as a measure…or take measurements! Focus on how fresh you feel when you wake up in the morning. Enjoy the feeling of your body getting stronger, fitter and healthier. ‘Strong is the new skinny’, someone said to me recently…and I believe this…even though they were both strong and skinny!
Just throw the scales away…today! What you don’t have in your house can’t be eaten, just as what you don’t have in your house can’t be stepped on. And you won’t miss them, I promise!
Anyway, enough of my preaching! Today has been good. I have had some really interesting conversations today with coaching clients…and, as always, am looking forward to helping them believe in themselves again so that they can lead the life they want to. I took Mr WLB to the gym and waited for him to complete his 10k on the bike…which takes him about 13 minutes. So I didn’t get much reading done whilst he was in there, but have almost finished Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’…which is an enlightening book…I will probably write about it soon. I caught up with a good friend and am currently planning the next couple of months as I am helping out some students who are looking for work…CV writing and interview practice stuff…and I have a bit of babysitting over the holidays for my niece and nephew – so am planning some activities for us all.
Scales tomorrow…let’s see if I can practice what I preach and stay positive regardless of the results!
Today’s food looked like this…
Breakfast: Rye toast (2 x HEB), spinach and boiled eggs.
Lunch: Rice cakes (9 syns), rocket, smoked salmon, and extra light Philadelphia (2 x HEA).
Dinner: Pork and aubergine stir fry – with mushrooms, onions, garlic, Thai spices, nam pla and a little soy sauce.
Snacks: Nakd bar (6 syns) and raspberries.
Exercise: Rest day – although I did some work at the stables!
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx