So with my fitness goals, I did slowly come to the realization that while this didn’t start off as a weight loss goal or was even primarily motivated by it, losing weight with all the work I was going to put into it was important to me.  And to that end, I started paying more attention to the scale.  I hadn’t weighed myself since doing the new member orientation at the park district gym over two years ago, except for the start of my fit challenge back in January.

And I stayed mostly away from the scale for through January and February.  Then I started wanting to see “more results” – and my weighing maybe once a week or once every other week changed.  Don’t get me wrong.  A scale is an important tool.  It helps keep you honest over time and is a great bell weather for determining if you’re on the right track or the wrong track.

But I started weighing myself every day to see what was happening.  I wanted to see the weight come off – ideally.  And I’d make sure I didn’t drink or eat anything at all before weighing myself, just to be sure that I was weighing as little as possible on the scale, even with just a 0.2 pound difference, if that.  And on days where the weight went down, I felt fulfilled.

A foot almost on the scale

The days where it didn’t go down or – heaven forbid – went up slightly, I wasn’t happy.  I’d come up with excuses of “Oh, it’s because I had something salty for dinner.”  “Huh, I must not have drunk enough water before bed last night.”  “I bet I’m starting to bloat for that time of the month.”  And so on.  And yet every day, I went to the god of the scale to see how “good” I’d been, even though I’ve said repeatedly here and elsewhere that it isn’t about being good or bad.

Weight will vary.  It makes a difference what you’ve eaten, as food itself has weight.  If you haven’t ahhh gone to the bathroom, that makes a difference.  If you’re retaining water for any reason, that makes a difference.  And I can go on and on with all the little things that can make a pound or two or three or more difference that isn’t “real” weight – as in the 3500 calorie indulgence that will be there permanently.

I know this.

And I had to remind myself to think about why I was doing this.  And the “fat weighs less than muscle” argument is a valid one, too.  So I’m stepping away from my scale just a little bit.  Yes, I want to know if I’m making progress overall.  Weighing myself daily doesn’t accomplish that.  Instead, I’m committing to tracking myself by weighing just weekly.  That’s plenty.

And I’m adding another friend to my arsenal: The tape measure.  This is where I’ll have another solid gauge of whether I’m doing the right thing for my body or whether I need to make some adjustments.  Are my arms shrinking just a little bit?  My thighs?  How about my waist?  And nope, this won’t be a daily measurement either.  I may only do this a couple times a month, but I’ll know it’s there to keep me motivated when I start to feel like nothing I’m doing makes a difference.  Because it is.  Those Zumba classes are intense.  And my Tabata?  Wow.

So what’s your relationship like with your scale?

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  • Andrea


    This is my problem with weighing in weekly. I tend to find myself going overboard before I know it. I’m glad you realized it and caught yourself. It’s not cool to let it control your moods and whatnot like that!

    • Michelle

      It’s so easy to go overboard, isn’t it? It’s a tool, and it’s a wonderful tool, but it has to be used as such and not as a crutch or a judgement.

  • Pat

    Around 2003, the year I retired, I started doing the Atkins diet and slowly but surely I lost weight. I was a scale fanatic, weighing myself often, sometimes twice a day. That went on for a few years, but I finally quit weighing myself so often and now I only weigh myself once every few months. I looked at a photo of me in 2004 and I looked somewhat skeletal. I would have looked great at that weight when I was 30, but not when I was 56. My weight has crept up since the low of 125 (I was 5’7″, but now I’m 5’6″ due to shrinking discs) to currently 136, and I’m fine with that. The scale is no longer my master.

    • Michelle

      It’s amazing how tempting it is to weigh. And weigh. And weigh again. Glad the scale isn’t your master. I think it’s so much more important how you look and feel and how fit you are than anything else. And age will do what she will, too 😉

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