January 5, 2008 at 8:45 am
The more observant (or obsessive) readers among you may have noticed something. I have not posted my weight today. No, this is not because I’ve removed my scale’s batteries in fear. It’s actually secret step four in PastaQueen’s Super Cool Strategies to Get Her Groove Back! I’m changing to monthly weigh-ins.
There are many different philosophies on how frequently you should weigh yourself: monthly, weekly, daily, or not at all. Now that I’m switching to monthly, I’ll have tried them all. My philosophy? Choose what is best for you at the time. Different approaches work for different people depending on your situation and your state of mind.
Not weighing myself at all led me to gain 200 pounds. I do not recommend this method.
When I started losing weight three years ago, I weighed myself weekly. This worked well for about a year and a half. My body was so huge that it burned a lot of calories. I could easily lose 3 or 4 pounds a week and do a happy dance every Saturday as I stepped off the scale. The numbers almost always went down, I was positively reinforced, and my fresh and vulnerable little psyche didn’t have to freak out every day over small weight changes.
But as I got smaller, my weight loss slowed down. I reached a point where the number every Saturday was not a reliable indicator of weight loss. Weight fluctuates over the week and during the course of the day due to silly little things like how much water you’re retaining or what part of the menstrual cycle you’re at. It was possible that I’d lost fat, but my weight was the same. At that point I started to weigh myself daily and looked at the average over the past 7-10 days. My weight would bob up and down by a couple pounds day to day, but I understood why. I was confident in my abilities to lose weight so I wasn’t freaking out over the daily fluctuations and gauging the process on a daily basis gave me a better sense of where I was than the weekly weighing had.
Right now I’ve reached a point where my biggest barrier is mental. As long as I know I weigh under 180, I find it more permissible to eat an extra cookie or have another cup of yogurt in the evenings. Once I go over 180, my warning bells start ringing and I go back into weight-loss mode. I become more careful about what I eat and I’m more diligent about exercise. But once I start seeing 176 or 175 show up on the scale, I start slacking again. Some people in the comments theorized that I’d hit my body’s most comfortable weight, but I believe I’ve really hit my mind’s most comfortable weight. So, I have to mess with my mind if I’m going to make any more progress. I was talking to my brother about this problem and we tried coming up with solutions.
“I could try screwing with the scale so it weighs me 10 pounds heavier than I am. But even if I could figure out how to do that without breaking a $60.00 piece of electronic equipment, I’d still know the reading was fake and just mentally deduct it in my head.” I told him.
“Why don’t you get a bag of something that you don’t know the weight of and hold that when you weigh in?” He suggested.
“Hmmm, that might work. But after awhile I’ll be able to compare day to day and know that I’ve lost x amount of pounds and then I’ll just subtract that from my last known weight.” Damn my math skills!
Then it occurred to me that the answer was completely obvious and I was too stupid to see it. I could just stop weighing myself. It’s a somewhat dangerous idea because it could completely backfire. If I start gaining weight, I won’t have that feedback from the scale to know I need to adjust. However, I will have other feedback, like the fit of my clothes. I can take my measurements too. And best yet, I won’t be able to tell myself I can have another fudge pop because I weigh under 180 since I’ll have no idea how much I actually weigh.
So, January shall now be known as the month without weigh-ins. I’ve known other bloggers who have done this and none of them exploded into the Stay Puft Marshmallow man in just a month. On February 1st we’ll see how it goes. Until then, the sidebar shall remain as silent and no beeps shall emit from my scale.