Have you seen my scale??

Have you seen my scale??

I have a confession: I have a bit of an obsession with my scale.  I weigh myself daily, often multiple times a day, whether I’m working to lose weight or not.  I like to observe how my weight fluctuates throughout the day depending on the time of day, dietary intake and quantity, digestion and elimination, and fluid retention due to dehydration, sodium intake, and menstruation.  I know that any one weigh-in does not give an accurate view of my overall weight, so I weigh myself often, and gage the average.  At least, that’s my rationalization.

I started seeing a dietician over a month ago, and she turned my world up-side-down!  She asked me to stop weighing myself, explaining that fluctuations on the scale could lead to disappointment and frustration.  After retorting with my explanations above, I conceded that it probably was not healthy for me to weigh myself as frequently, and reluctantly agreed to lay off.  So I put my scale at home out of sight, and resisted for all of 3 days.  It was painful!  I started to think that I might have a serious problem.

I returned to the dietician a few weeks later, and happily reported all my progress with eating more intuitively, getting more consistent with physical activity, building emotional support to avoid overeating and binging, and my overall weight loss.  Then, I shamefully reported on my unsuccessful attempt at not weighing myself (as if that was all that mattered).  I was concerned she would see this as a failure, as I did.  Instead, she simply suggested another approach.  “What if your husband put away the scale?”  Seemed like a good idea, so I ran with it.

That night, after I had gone to bed, my husband put away the scale in a super secret location.  We agreed that he would set it out for me every Tuesday so that I could weigh myself weekly — fair enough.  The next few days were annoying as I was curious of the damage I’d done from the previous weekend after eating out a bunch.  I knew I was bloated, but wanted to see that reflected on the scale.  He refused to get the scale, so I let it go – no biggie.  As the days went by, I started to really think about why I was so obsessed with my weight, and what I could be focusing on instead.  And then, it all made sense!

I don’t need to focus on my weight — EVER!

I realized that my weight is nothing but an external measurement of my body.  It removes ME from the equation altogether.  Instead, I realized that I can trust myself to judge how healthy I FEEL.  I had already been working on body awareness, and could now rely on a wide range of internal cues to measure my progress.  I would no longer have to be a slave to the scale!

Here are some of the ways I’ve been able to measure my progress over time:

  1. Slimmer face, neck, shoulder, arms, and stomach.
  2. Less cravings for sugary or processed foods.
  3. More explosive energy (to run up stairs, to hula hoop faster, or to jump — at all).
  4. Improved balance (when standing on one leg to put on socks, let’s say).
  5. No sign of cold/flu symptoms in well over a year. (Knock on wood!!)
  6. Shortened menstrual cycle. (Very unexpected!)
  7. Less acne, and fewer breakouts.
  8. More regularity, and less stomach issues.
  9. Stronger urges to get outdoors and get moving.
  10. Improved general outlook, less desire for isolation, and more stable mood.

I also realized that not only could I use my body’s cues to track progress, but I could also use it to keep me balanced and centered around overall health.  My body knows when I’m not eating cleanly, when I’m not moving enough, or when I need some soul searching.  I could use the cues from my mind, body and soul as a system of checks and balances to continuously return my focus back to my health.

Here are some of the cues in my body that raise a red flag (and how I might react):

  1. Bloating, cramping, or nausea after eating a specific food.  (Avoid eating it, duh!)
  2. Overeating or binging. (What emotion or activity am I avoiding? Confront it ASAP.)
  3. Headache, dry mouth, or salt cravings. (Drink water. Wait, did I take my vitamins?)
  4. Cravings for sweets. (Am I stressed? Hungry? Or do I really just want a cookie?)
  5. Mental fatigue. (Am I stressed, hungry, thirsty, tired, depressed? Monitor closely.)
  6. Physical fatigue. (Did I sleep well? Overexert my body? Am I bored? Did I eat?)
  7. Depressed mood or need for isolation. (Cry. Mope. Just be. This too shall pass.)
  8. Crankiness/grumpiness. (Am I tired? Stressed? When was the last time I ate??)
  9. Skin problems and yeast infection. (My hormones are wacky! Check all above.)
  10. Hyperactivity, silliness, or excessive talking. (Either get moving, or nap hard.)

***************************************************************************************************************** WARNING: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. I am merely observing my own body, and learning to react to it based on knowledge obtained through experience and many, many health articles and books.  If you notice any signs or symptoms outside of the norm for your body, please contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
*****************************************************************************************************************

Though this epiphany is only about a week old, I feel strongly that as I get more in tune with my mind, body, and soul, I can focus less on how much I weigh, and more on what my body can do, how I feel, and my ability to connect and interact with the world around me.  To me, this is true happiness.