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Scaling Back the Weigh-In Obsession

scaling back the weigh-in obsessionNancy Sayles has tips for making the bathroom scale your friend.

As far back as I can remember, the scale has not been my friend. In fact, years ago, when talking scales first came out, I was afraid that if I stepped on one, it would say “CALL 9-1-1!”  I think we all get discouraged when we’re making a concerted effort to control our weight and the scale doesn’t cooperate. Kind of makes you want to find the nearest Oreo.

There are, however, a few things to consider. First of all, do NOT step on that scale multiple times each day or even every single day. If you do that every morning, you can set yourself up for a lousy day and one way that can manifest itself is with what goes into your mouth.

Think about this: If the weather is particularly hot (like the 112 degrees we got here last summer in Los Angeles), you're probably drinking fluid like crazy.  Even if we’re smart and keep it to mostly water and non-sugared drinks, each 16-ounce glass has—let’s try to do this math—one pound of liquid in it. Of course, some of that liquid is absorbed by the body, we sweat some of it out and much of it leaves in other ways. Unless it doesn’t. And when it’s hot, a lot of it doesn’t go anywhere. I mean nowhere. So, imagine my disappointment when I hop on the scale (ok, I don’t hop, I step on it slowly and gingerly, like that makes a difference), and it’s a pound UP!  Food-wise, I might have been nominated for sainthood, but will the scale reward my good behavior? No!

The first thing I do under these circumstances is take off my rings. They’ve become rather loose lately, so if they stick at all, if they leave marks on my fingers, I know that I’m retaining water. I also know that if the heat abates, I’ll return to my thin and waif-like self. (And if you believe that, I’ve got some swampland in New Jersey…)

Does Muscle Really Weigh More Than Fat?

Another thing to consider is your particular body composition. We’ve all learned that muscle weighs more than fat, but you’ve never been able to prove that by me. However, I’m exercising more regularly now that I’ve lost a bunch of weight, and I have actual muscles now! 

What’s interesting, I’ve found, is that I’m actually thinner than I was the last time I was at this weight because then I wasn’t working out at all. I can prove this concept with my husband, you know, a member of that species who can think about losing weight and it drops off?  So irritating. His doctor warned him to lose a little weight. I think it was eight or ten pounds over two months. So, because my guy doesn’t do anything half-way, he not only cut his carbs, he upped his workout—more reps, more weights and, consequently, more muscle. After two months, he had only lost four pounds, but his pants fell off! That is so not fair! It does prove, however, that the addition of muscle might not show on the scale in terms of weight loss but in the end, you’re in much better shape.

So I’m doing my best to stay the heck off the scale except for once a week. I start with my eyes closed and open them slowly. Then I take a quick peek. It doesn’t help. It says what it says. The difference is that I no longer let it ruin my day. I just do the same thing I do when my computer acts up. Reboot and hope for the best.

Stay well.  See you next time!

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