I was looking at my scales in the bathroom today and I realized that they are covered with a fine layer of dust at the moment and it got me to thinking about their significance in my life and the lives of others.
At different times in my life those scales have been my motivator, my driving force to get up in the morning and my best friend, but equally they have been my downfall and my de-motivator and the reason I have fallen out of my lifestyle habits and into the chocolate stash I keep in my freezer.
I am at the stage where I choose to ignore them because I have discovered several curious things about weight:
Firstly, IT’S JUST A NUMBER. The weight that you are when you stand on the scales doesn’t accurately reflect whether or not your clothes are going to fit differently. I have been a larger 125 pounds of un-toned flesh that didn’t fit into any of my favorite jeans and I have been a smaller 130 pounds of pure muscle that had to buy smaller favorite jeans. And I truly believe it should really be about how you fit into your clothes than what number flashes up in front of you when you step on a flat electronic piece of metal or plastic.
[Quick fact: a pound of muscle takes up less space or bulk than a pound of fat]
Secondly, WEIGHT FLUCTUATES DRAMATICALLY FROM MOMENT TO MOMENT. Depending on when you step on the scales in a day will dramatically affect the number that you see in front of you. The simple fact that a liter of water weighs 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) and that the average person pees about 2 liters a day means that in one good sitting (yes I meant that), you can lose about 2.2 pounds and that’s just from peeing, not to mention any other bodily functions. You also know that you are putting stuff into your body that also has weight. (This “stuff” is essential for your body to function and also helps burn fat when you consume it so please don’t stop putting it in the other end in an effort to cut back on weight.)
Thirdly, WEIGHT CAN BE AFFECTED BY WATER RETENTION. And water retention can be caused by any number of factors from hormones (yes it is a valid excuse), medications, steroids, plane rides, certain salty foods and even the weather. But the thing about water retention is that you can wake up with it and after walking around for a little bit or simply getting on with your day, it can go away. So you may get lighter again after an hour or so but the depression from that number on the scale may last all day.
And fourthly, CLOTHING ADDS WEIGHT QUICKLY. Do you weigh yourself butt naked every time? A pair of runners can add a pound or two and my favorite Frye’s boots are definitely about 4 pounds in total. Belts, dense fabrics and layers can all add pounds that you aren’t actually carrying around within your body itself.
As a motivator, scales are great if you are looking to lose large amounts of weight. Don’t step on them every day but perhaps once a week see if you have made a change. This allows you to gain perspective over time rather than seeing small changes day to day.
If you are looking to lose a small amount of weight or perhaps just tone an area or two, stay away from the scales and rely on how your clothes look and feel. When I am working hard to tone up and stand on the scales to find I’m heavier in that moment, it can send me into a “why bother” spin that leads me to the nearest bag of potato chips and peanut butter m&m’s.
So don’t rely on a set of scales for your day-to-day happiness. Take it from someone who has tried it that way, I am much happier now when I use my clothes and my energy as a gauge.
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