Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Lifestyle Changes: Day 12 – The Weight is Over

on January 24, 2012

I know, I know, the whole pun thing, I can’t seem to stop it. Or is that considered a double entendre? I have no idea, but it sounded clever. In my feeble mind.

I was reading a facebook post yesterday from a friend’s brother and thought it would make a good post for us today, since I really haven’t talked about it. Are you sitting down? Take a deep breath because I’m going to say it. Are you ready? Scales. And I don’t mean the kind you get in your bathroom tile from hard water. I’m referring to the kind you step on and then throw out the window in a fit of rage when you see the number staring you in the face. Or the one you step on, see the number, and then turn the little dial so it’s 20-30-50lbs lighter. That scale.

I will tell you up front, I do not own one. I get on the scale once a year at my doctor’s office. Rather than using a scale to judge my weight, I use the fit of my clothes. In particular, my favorite jeans that make my butt look like gravity hasn’t begun to take effect. Even though I totally blame the dryer trolls for turning up the heat and shrinking my clothes, there’s a little voice in my head telling me I really shouldn’t have had that second slice of supreme Chicago-style pizza. Boo. But it tasted sooooo good. Great, now my mouth is watering.

If you own a scale, this is what you should do. Don’t chuck it out the window, or turn the little dial. Use it as a tool, but don’t obsess over it. Your weight can vary by up to 3 lbs from day to day, simply from water, what you’ve eaten, etc. So you’ve been working hard, eating well, getting more exercise, and step on the scale only to see you’re a pound or three higher than yesterday, or even the same. What could possibly be more discouraging? Or misleading?

This is how to use your scale in your efforts to lose weight: Weigh yourself at the same time of day, the same day of the week, wearing the same clothes (your birthday suit will help you remember). And only do it on that day, say Friday. That will give you a more consistent view of what your weight is. You’re doing it this way for a couple of reasons. If you do it the same day every week, it will be easier to remember. And if your brain is like mine, I’ll take all the help I can get in that department. If you do it at the same time of day, your body will be in the same state of hormone production, etc. because your weight can fluctuate throughout the day.

Take your weight and use it as a baseline, a guideline, so you know where you are starting from and can better plan where you’re going. Seriously, don’t obsess over it. Oh, I just remembered something else, when first getting on the scale, make sure it’s balanced, meaning the little line straight on the ‘0’. My bestie, Lisa, nearly had a heart attack last week when she got on a scale for the first time in a long time. She was shocked and really disappointed in the number staring back at her. Later that day, her boy who’s nearly 11, got on the scale and said, ‘Mom? I think there’s something wrong.’ It was weighing him at almost 120lbs. Um, yeah, he’s maybe 80lbs. That was when she checked and found the error in the scale. Whew. that was a quick way to lose 50lbs, but not good for the nerves!

Remember a few more things. Like my friend’s brother said, he had been working hard, eating well and getting exercise and was discouraged to see he’d only dropped 2lbs. I’d take that any ole day. Here’s the thing, you didn’t gain it all at once and you can’t possibly lose it all at once, 1-2lbs a week is a realistic goal to make it go away and stay away for good. When you drop significant amounts quickly, you are setting yourself up for the yo-yo ride. Your brain has to reset itself to your new weight. Meaning, your body has something almost like a thermostat with a set point. have you been hovering around the same weight for a long time? It’s because of that set point. when you lose weight, your body is going to try to get back to that set point, which is why losing it slowly works better. You have to stay at a weight for a period of time to reset that switch in your brain. Be patient with yourself, and just keep it up.

Oh, and one more thing. If you’ve been diligent about your exercise and eating habits, your clothes are fitting you better, but you get on the scale and it doesn’t show any loss, don’t give up. Muscle tissue is heavier and more dense than fat tissue. What the scale is telling you is that you’ve been building muscle which is a good thing and what we’re going for. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. that is one time when the scale will really deceive you and you have to take all things into consideration, don’t simply go by what the scale is telling you.

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