Monday, December 27, 2010

The Scale: Friend or Foe?

The scale is a universal weight-loss tool, right?  Scale going up, bad; scale going down, good.  But what about when the scale doesn't move?  That's kind of subjective, isn't it?  If you feel like you've overindulged, a non-moving scale can be a good thing.  If you feel like you've worked hard, a non-moving scale can be very frustrating.  However, weight-loss is more than just numbers on a scale.

I remember meeting a trainer at the Y.  She was a petite, toned little thing.  I was floored when she showed me a photo that she carried around in her gym bag.  It was a photo of her when she was obese.  She was very encouraging to me because she was about my height, had been about the same size when she started losing that I was, and identified her thighs as her problem area just like me -- and you wouldn't have known it from looking at her now.

One thing she told me that was very encouraging to me was that she went through several months when the scale would not move.  However, she lost one or two (can't remember exactly now) pants sizes during the time that the scale was being stubborn.  See, even though the scale wasn't moving, her body was changing because she didn't quit eating right or working out.

I've been experiencing something similar.  Even though the numbers on the scale have stayed virtually the same since July, I've been noticing that my jeans are getting loser.  Even though I'd love to see the scale moving, knowing that my body is still changing and getting smaller is very encouraging.

I read in Believe It, Be It, by the first female Biggest Loser winner, Ali Vincent, that she tended to get very obsessed with the scale.  As a matter of fact, if I recall correctly, she didn't look at the scale from the time she left the Biggest Loser ranch as one of the final four contestants, until she stepped on the scale on national television during the live finale.

I know how easy it can be to rely on the scale as the sole indicator of weight-loss success, but it is not the be all, end all judge and jury.  Sometimes, it can even be a detriment.  I try to avoid stepping on the scale more than once a week, but sometimes it's so tempting to "just peek."  If you're finding the scale to be more of a hindrance than a help, it might be time to put it up for awhile.  If you're like me, that may mean putting it in a closet or having your spouse hid it from you so you're not tempted to peek.

Then, keep making the right choices -- eat healthily and keep moving and spend some time using other means to assess your progress, such as the fit of your clothes or your body measurements.

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