Scale weight and keeping balance

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OK, I am now weighing the least I have weighed in something like 7 years. Today’s weigh-in was 194.4 pounds. I actually weighed even less the one time I was weighed at the gym about a week ago…190. But I kind of discounted that weigh-in because I suspect the scale there has seen a lot of abuse over the years…it’s an old-school doctor’s scale. The weigh-in that will count will be on the 12th, where I will weigh in at the clinic I go to for my health care. I will have fasted from midnight on, so quite likely it will be a very good assessment of where I am.

However, one must bear in mind one very important thing: scale weight is not everything. First off: muscle weighs more than fat. When you begin to exercise you will be putting on muscle, strengthening muscles that have likely shrunk over the years if you are as sedentary as most modern people are. In the beginning, it will actually seem as if you are GAINING, not losing. This will likely drive you nuts, so as difficult as it is, you might want to not weigh yourself in the beginning.

Eventually you will start to lose because you will stabilize muscle weight, unless you are specifically trying to gain muscle, and you will continue to burn fat. You have to hang with it for a while, especially if you are taking the slow-and-steady approach, but eventually you will see the needle going west.

As much as I really think Ali Vincent is awesome, the fact that they still make a big deal about her being the first woman to win The Biggest Loser is encouraging all the wrong things. The Biggest Loser actually encourages all the wrong things. Fetishizing scale weight is bad for getting healthy. I’ve never done an underwater weigh-in but I definitely want to, because knowing my true body fat percentage will probably be a lot more helpful. Other things that you need to pay attention to: how are your clothes hanging? Do you need a belt to keep your jeans up? What notch are you using? How strong do you feel? Are you walking longer distances, and are you feeling less winded walking distances that used to feel like more effort?

Slow and steady is the key to what I’m trying to do. The science suggests that there is only one thing worse than keeping excess weight on, and that’s “weight cycling.” The common turn of phrase for this is “Yo Yo Dieting.” I know that reading scientific literature is slow going and really dry, but this is a goodie: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/9 . The author of this study also wrote a far less dry book called Health At Every Size. The book has touched off a new movement I fully support.

You see, my mom was obsessed with her weight. Her weight determined her self-worth. She made many very negative choices about her health in the name of losing weight and keeping it off. And after I hit puberty, my mom took all her self-loathing and fat obsession and threw it on me. She was not the only family member with this problem: my maternal grandmother and one of my great aunts on my mom’s side would also get their licks in about how I was too zaftig. The pressure backfired: it made me rebel and not give a crap about my health for the longest time.

When I started on my own fitness journey, I got real about a lot of things. One is the fact that I will likely not be slim in my lifetime. Another is the fact that my most important priority on my fitness journey is HEALTH. Another is that I don’t want to be a feeble, frail old lady. I am working towards health for the rest of my life. I think that’s most important. If I look better, it’s a plus but it’s not my be-all, do-all and end-all. I want the second half of my life to be healthier than the first part of my life.

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3 thoughts on “Scale weight and keeping balance

  1. Oh I feel so bad for your poor mother, thinking her weight meant more than her soul. So sad. I know biggest looser is bad for me but I always feel motivated by the contestants. You have a very good journal going here, thank you for sharing its inspiring!

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