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Weighing-in on January

Two weeks ago, reader Christine asked me “I’m just wondering how it’s going not weighing yourself every day?” Well, Christine, I’d be happy to tell you if I’d actually stuck to it. Yes, I totally cheated. I’m a cheater. I also used to hide notes in the source code of programs on my TI-82 calculator back in high school math class too, so I’ve been a cheater for years now.

I did hold out for a week and a half. I was really tempted to hop on the scale after I had food poisoning because I’m sure the dehydration sucked off several pounds, even if they weren’t “real.” But I kept my ass on the couch. And when I saw my little kitty looking so slender in the kitchen, I was tempted to weigh myself and then weigh myself while I was holding him to determine his weight in the difference. But I resisted that urge to and got my mother to do it when we went out to lunch that weekend. Every time I opened the front closet door to throw out some trash, I stared down the scaled and thought, “Nope, not going to weigh myself. No, siree.”

Then one day I just hopped on the scale for no real reason. I was curious. Then I did at again several days later. I’d guess I’ve weighed myself 6 or 7 times this month. And every time I did, I looked at the number, thought about what I’d been eating and how much I’d been exercising and said, “Yeah, that seems about right.” There was only one day I was surprised, and it was because I weighed less than I thought I should. I’m at a point now where I know whether I’ve been treating my body well or not. I know when I’ve come home, felt tired, and eaten half my kitchen. And I know when I’ve come home, changed into my gym clothes and gone to a Boot Camp class. That’s really what I want to concentrate on, not the number on the scale, but how good I feel and how well I’ve been treating myself. That’s my main motivation for taking time off from the scale. Because there are some days when I’ve treated my body well and the number goes up, and other days when the numbers go down even though I’ve neglected proper care and feeding. It’s been nice to get away from checking in with the numbers every day. It feels like a mental weight has been lifted, if not a physical one.

My weight this month is 180, which is up two pounds from the weigh-in at the end of December, but actually down a couple pounds from my highest post-holiday weight. So, I’m heading in the right direction. More importantly, my life has settled down a bit and I’m getting back into a daily routine, though I’m still spicing things up by going to classes at the Y. I’ve decided I’m going to weigh myself at least once a week, more if I feel like it, but I’m only going to report on it once a month. Because I do feel a little psycho having to justify one or two pound gains every week, but I also don’t want to totally lose accountability and gain back 20 pounds. I’ll write again at the beginning of March to let you know how it’s going.

I see it as a reflection of what this blog is about these days. When I started out it was all about losing weight. These days, I don’t care so much about the weight loss as long as I’m taking care of myself and leading a healthy, fit lifestyle. My weight still matters, but it’s not the most important thing. I want to keep my weight within normal operating parameters, but I’m more concerned with being able to finish my half-marathon in May. Speaking of which, I have to go change now and run in 26 degree weather with my training group. Twenty-six degrees! That’s damn near tropical compared to last time.

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17 Comments

Anonymous Boxer • February 2, 2008 at 11:09 am

I think the healthier you (we) get, the more we need to remind ourselves that balancing everything out is the key to long term peace with all of us. Well said.

And, that temp you’re running in?

Impressive.

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Mary • February 2, 2008 at 11:10 am

I also used to hide notes in my calculator, a TI-81! I forgot that until I read your post! But for me…I did it in Physics.

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Sally Parrott Ashbrook • February 2, 2008 at 11:13 am

Go PQ! I’m so impressed you are running in any temperature below freezing.

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BrightAngel • February 2, 2008 at 11:17 am

Speaking from a maintenance perspective,

I think reporting your weight once a month is good,

as long as you privately weigh yourself at least once a week.

Even after 2 years of maintenance after reaching my Goal, I weigh myself daily,

and I’ve recently read research that says

people who weigh themselves every day are better at maintaining their weight loss.

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Kate H • February 2, 2008 at 12:11 pm

So does this mean we will probably never see new progress pictures, since losing the last 20 pounds isn’t as important anymore? Eventhough you haven’t had an official progress picture up since June, I still held out hope, but, oh well. That kinda makes me sad.

PQ – I’d never say never. If I do lose another 10 pounds I’ll do progress photos. And if I attend another event where I dress up all pretty-like I might do another photo.

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Janice • February 2, 2008 at 2:07 pm

What a great attitude! It is amazing how the number on the scale messes with my head. Have fun running today!

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K • February 2, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I think weighing more frequently than reporting is fine. I too get sick of saying “Well, it’s the same/up one/down one compared to last week”.

Is there something magical/cursed about 180, though? You’re the third blogger I can think of apart from myself who has been hovering around that particular number for a while. (Or maybe I just think you have because you haven’t been reporting!)

PQ – Maybe 180 is the magical point at which you can still pig out from time to time, but maintain your weight with moderate exercise?

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Janice Bridge • February 3, 2008 at 1:01 am

Excellent realizations, PQ . . and and Spring is just around the corner!

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lowcarbandlosingit • February 3, 2008 at 2:12 am

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Cindy • February 3, 2008 at 9:36 am

Hi PQ,

Hope you had a good run. Your entry was very helpful and well-timed, as usual. I am coming up to an anniversary, of sorts. It has been nearly a year since I have lost any real weight. I keep gaining and losing the same 5 pounds. I don’t want to feel done, but I can’t keep “trying” to lose without success, either. Otherwise, it seems like failure, and maintenance sounds so much more positive. I can’t give up the daily weigh-ins, at least not yet. Just like I can’t stop the food journal (when I do, there are dire consequences). Or the measuring. I just finished counting out my whole wheat pasta into eight equal piles (73 fusillis, this time, if you were wondering!). I simply don’t trust myself to judge portions accurately. And I might never get there and that will have to be okay. I am safe with single servings in little baggies, just waiting to be cooked and consumed. It is the same with crackers (wax bags of four to six, depending if it is snack or lunch). If I open the box, I eat way more than I should. If I portion it, I do okay (and never return for a second bag—it is a mystery to me, but I am glad it works!).

We all do what we have to do to manage this whole food business. I hope to keep learning little tricks from fellow journeyers like yourself. Thanks for sharing so much of your story.

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Rah • February 3, 2008 at 11:08 am

It’s so nice to see the shift in your thinking and how the relative importance of the weight number has been surpassed by the importance of your health in a holistic sense. May I just say, well, rah! Hoorah!

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Nikki • February 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

Yeah, I know what you mean about just wanting to lead a healty/fit lifestyle. I, myself, have lost almost 80 pounds. I want so badly to reach that 100 pound loss mark but as long as I know I am healthy then that is mostly what matters to me now. Enjoy the run.

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Red • February 3, 2008 at 2:14 pm

I think you’ve just found your comfortable body weight. You feel great, you look great, you can do all the things that you want to do without thinking “I’m too heavy for that”, and most importantly you’re healthy. Maybe 160lbs is the “ideal” number some BMI scientist that has and will never meet you has announced as your “perfect” weight, but ultimately, it’s up to you to know what feels right on your body.

Personally, I think you look fantastic, and judging by your progress photos, if you lose 20 more lbs you might disappear ;-)

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Serena Casey • February 3, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I think your point about focusing more on your health than on the weight loss numbers is very important. I would say that’s a sign that your lifestyle changes have really “taken” and your success will continue, even if you cheat with the scale now and then! :)

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Mel • February 4, 2008 at 1:48 am

I totally understand . . . I’ve been “stuck” at the same weight for about a year. I’m 20 pounds from my goal and can’t seem to get it to budge. It gets embarrassing for me to weigh in week after week on my blog without showing much progress. Sigh. (I’ve lost 55-60 pounds.)

Anyway, your strategy seems reasonable to me. Best wishes!

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ann • February 4, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Excellent plan!

I remember the last ten pounds took me SIX MONTHS to lose. (And I’ve been struggling to get back to my goal since Christmas – a knee injury has slowed my running down a bit). It would have driven me stark raving mad during those months if I had to report my weight loss every week, even though I was also weighing myself every week. I think your new plan for weighing and reporting is perfect.

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FDR • February 4, 2008 at 3:47 pm

I was never able to lose the “final” 10 pds. Until I stopped trying. I started focusing on working out effectively (not excessively), eating healthfully (not dieting) and being nice to myself. I did all of those things, but usually far too much of everything until I got too burnt out to work out, or so hungry that all of the things I knew were good for me, just weren’t enough.

Then I learnt to still like myself on days when I just wanted to eat chocolate and not to worry about it every second of every day. At first I gained a bit of weight bc I fed a starving body. But when it was full I also stopped eating (wo trying)bc I knew that when I was hungry…well there’d be more food.

I hit a work out regiment that is bringing me to bathing suit body heights (3 days of weights, 2 days of cardio. No more than 1 hr of each a day).

Point of all this…focus on the things you already do well and how you can do them better and more efficiently. Focus on the positive…not an arbitrary number that means nothing, and that should not have the power to grip you with fear every day. This isn’t directed at PQ specifically, but all the women who’s blogs I read who are struggling with this issue. As long as your mind is with the scale and the number it shows, you’ll never allow yourself to make the growth it takes to leave behind your old habits.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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