Step on the scale. (Said the spider to the fly…)

Here is what I wrote to a woman who told me she was upset over gaining back a pound after days of solid, diligent work…
QUIT stepping on the scale more than once a week. YES the scale gives us feedback, but it can also LIE. It does not take into account everything that’s going on or all of the other areas in which we have GREAT progress. It’s a number. A snapshot. A moment in time. AT BEST. The bottom line in this life-long-healthy-adventure is that we move and feel strong and eat as smart as we can. PERIOD. The scale will follow or settle or do whatever in the heck it is going to do and we are NOT going to be ruled by it. I would love for you to be healthy and happy and not give a damn about a number on a scale. That number tells the world absolutely NOTHING about the fabulous and amazing young woman you really are. And for the record, the irony in me telling you this is that I struggle with the scale everyday. This is my fight too.’

I have a vastly unhealthy relationship with my scale.

Lifelong, screwed-up relationship. I have always allowed a number on the scale to tell me if I am ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

It’s has been an abnormally INTENSE battle these past 6 weeks.

Here’s what’s been going on;

Since my 50K in December, 6+ weeks ago, the scale has been slowly climbing. It was perilously close to the top end of the range that I set for myself.  160-169. And it was climbing despite doing what I know normally works.

I’ve technically reached the weight I want to be; I am spending the next 3 years learning how to maintain.  Maintaining things is hard work.

The advice from people who have been successful at KEEPING weight off for life?

  1. Have a range to aim for. Give yourself no more than 10 pounds of wiggle room.
  2. If you get to the top end of the range – it’s time to put on the brakes. Go back to the behaviors that helped you be successful.

I had control over the scale most of the Summer/Fall.  I was only weighing myself every two or three weeks. For months it held steady at 162.

I LOVED that I was moving and eating and doing the right things and the scale validated all of it. I felt great, normal, healthy.

I want to get back to that.

About 10 days after the race in December… I was feeling fat and lazy and sluggish because we were in rest/recovery. I knew better; but I started watching the scale. Waiting for it to STOP going up.

Spencer reassured me. I read articles. Taryn and I talked. Josh and Wendie told me stories about it.  The people I trusted and loved all basically said ‘chill, this is normal…’

But given my history; I was deathly afraid that this was not normal. I was SURE that this was the beginning of me re-gaining every single one of those 220 pounds.  That’s the idea/fear that was totally consuming my brain.

I have experience being fat.

I do NOT (YET!) have experience maintaining a loss or stopping a gain.

Since January 1 we’re back to training. I’m eating solidly within my calories for the day. And the scale is STILL creeping up…

So about 2 weeks ago I decided it was time to panic.

I think that’s a perfectly reasonable reaction given the situation.

I was talking to Taryn (registered dietitian and friend) about my concerns and what I was doing to try to stop the climbing numbers…

The look on her face grew increasingly concerned as I described my habits.

  • I was weighing daily. Up to three times a day.
  • I had hidden my scale from myself. Un-hide it, step on it, hide it again. In my own house.
  • I felt anxious.  Constantly.

Here’s the part I didn’t tell Taryn in exact detail…

One day the scale was higher than it should have been, by an unreasonable amount. I felt ANXIOUS. Like I was going to cry or throw up. I felt totally out of control. My heart felt like it was exploding out of my chest.

I KNEW it was a ridiculous physical response. I wear a heart rate monitor for running. Out of curiosity I put on my HR monitor to see if I was imagining all of this…

In a resting or non-active state the numbers for me should be anywhere from 45-80ish.  When I am running easy and comfortable and can chat with my friends  it ranges in the 125-140’s.

As I was panicking about the STUPID number on the scale it was at 132.

My heart was working as if I was running, but I was STANDING perfectly still in the middle of my bedroom.

I needed help.  And lucky for me; that’s right when Taryn staged an intervention. She didn’t realize how perfect her timing was.

She told me to stuff the scale in a bag, put it in the trunk of the car and hand it over.

‘Do NOT weigh anymore.’

I of course stepped on it the night before and the morning of — in total defiance. My last two little data-points on this roller coaster.

But I hauled it to work.  Handed it over.

image1-6 copyTaryn has given me good advice on ways to collect feedback and judge progress that don’t rely on a scale.

I am focused on learning how to accept those as legit pieces of feedback on my weight stability.

  • Are my pants fitting tight?
  • How do I feel when I run?
  • Am I being honest in writing down all I eat?
  • How many calories/quality of calories am I eating consistently?
  • How do I FEEL?

She has been talking to me about this stuff all along.  But now?  Now I am a motivated listener. 🙂  (Sorry Taryn!)

Taryn is in possession of my scale. I will weigh in with her bi-weekly. (We agreed; I won’t look at the number. She just tells me if I am within the range.)

You wanted the ugly stuff.

Welcome to my fight with the scale.

BUT I intend to win this time. What does winning look like in this case?

  • I weigh once a month to make sure I’m in range.
  • I eat healthy and whole and clean.
  • I stay active.
  • I make a smart food choice and eat when I am hungry.
  • If my favorite pair of pants gets snug; I will go back to the eating plan that helped me lose weight in the first place until my pants fit comfy again.

That’s what freedom from the scale looks like to me.

That’s my goal for 2015.

I will believe the words I wrote above at some point on this journey. 🙂

You wanted honesty and the ugly side of this whole battle…  Here it is.

Anyone else struggle with their scale?  Please tell me I am not alone…


6 thoughts on “Step on the scale. (Said the spider to the fly…)

  1. Betsy,
    I think it was fate that I just decided to scroll Facebook considering I just pulled the scale out of my closet. It’s been up there for a while since we slight fell off the wagon over the holidays. I have been back at it for the past two weeks now and I thought maybe…just maybe…so I went into the closet feeling outrageously guilty (Joe put it up in the back so I would stop weighing myself everyday) and stepped on it. Of course it was the worst thing to do as I just started back working on those pounds I probably gained over break and I weighed in 2 pounds heavier. I felt guilty and sluggish and just plain bad about myself and then I happen to stumble upon your blog post. You really helped me today and you didn’t even know it. Miss ya Bets!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOVE YOU DOM! And make Joe hide that scale again. 🙂 Do NOT get discouraged. Just keep doing what you know works. And don’t let the scale dictate a darn thing about how fabulous and fully you live your life. 🙂


  2. Yep, that’s me, fighting with the scale. Back to WW but not following the program or tracking or walking. So I know the fault lies with me. I know what to do, I just have to get motivated to do it. It was easier when I had Audra here to encourage me and attend the meetings with me. I know she is encouraging me from the other side but it’s not the same. And it’s so easy just to slip back into the emotional eating habit. I too am pushing that upper limit that I have set for myself. So an attitude adjustment is in order and getting back on program a priority.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley…. You suffered the loss — unexpected in large part — of your best friend. You have to be kind to yourself… Do what’s right for your body, but do NOT be critical or judgmental or hard on yourself. Grieving is hard work. Gaining is frustrating and compounds life issues. I get that. But you’re juggling a LOT right now — and I just hope you’ll be kind to yourself in this process. You can pick up the pieces when you’re ready.


    1. Just leave it off the shopping list Karen. 🙂 No good can come from that little data point of a number. Do what feels good and right – and be consistent and you (me too… I need to listen to what I’m writing you!) won’t need a scale to tell us we’re doing whats right to be healthy!


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