Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scaling Down. Or Not

Forced myself to go to the gym yesterday. It was not easy.

I love working out. Really I do. But it's amazing how quickly that deadly feeling of lethargy and laziness can take over. A couple of days off, a few emotional traumas, and I'm ready to wrap myself up in a blanket on the couch and go on permanent vacation.

Instead, I marched my little feet the 1.5 blocks to the gym. Actually I rode my bike.

And once there, I did some physical torture on this lovely device:

Then I lifted some weights (ow inner thighs), then took a bike ride around Central Park. My left knee began to protest at some point, the one with the torn meniscus. I stopped to fuel up in the gorgeous north section, where the park's at its most wild.

Then it was off to Whole Foods to get the week's meals. I was glad I had eaten something before going inside, as it's temptation laden. I scurried past the prepared desserts and foods and lost myself in the produce section. Still managed to exit with a piece of carrot cake and a pre-packaged chicken curry dinner. Ate them at home.

But I put back the spaghetti and meatball packet I really wanted -- I made myself look at the serving size and calorie count. The whole thing was well over 1,000 cals, and you know I'd have eaten it all. I got the slice of carrot cake and much lower cal Indian dinner instead.

Before I did all that, however, I screwed my courage up and got on the scale at the gym. As much as I tell myself not to focus too much on the scale, etc etc...I'd be lying if I said I don't suffer some angst every time the little needle goes up and not down.

After my wine and cheese binge this weekend, I feared an uptick. But no! I was spared this time. I really held steady -- perhaps even a .5 loss, although I'm not going to insist on that.

I did not gain, and for that I am sooooooo grateful. I am glad that I got on the scale. What I was thinking of at that moment was something that Kim Benson wrote in her book Finally Thin. She said that often in her life she would shy away from a Weight Watchers meeting just when she needed it most -- right after a rough patch in her eating. After a few loose days, it can be helpful to get a sense of where you are.

But you have to silence those screaming demons that are always ready to cry "Failure! Failure!" I admit it -- had I seen a weight gain, I'd have been fighting those voices in my head. I got lucky this time, but my real goal here is to keep pushing to see the scale as just another weight loss/management tool. It doesn't measure my success or failure in anyway -- it just gives me useful information about my journey. And that's all.

I'm also a fan of what Cindy Sadler refers to on her blog as Scale Amnesty. Sometimes I take a break from it because I know I'm not going to like what I see. Usually that's when I've had a vacation or something and I just want to give myself a week to get back in the groove before I step on the scale again.

I guess the real key is how I'm feeling emotionally. If I've had a few days away from food plan but am still feeling strong and in control, I'm ok skipping the scale until I've worked my way back into the strike zone, so to speak.

But when I'm teetering on the brink of a real slip up, a real break in my new behaviors, that's when I need to get on the scale asap. If nothing else, it's a reminder of how much I've LOST. And that often is enough to snap me out of my funk.


  1. I don't know, dieting just sounds so much more GLAMOROUS over there. Bet your grass is greener too (tee hee hee)!


  2. Haha, that's funny, because I'm usually reading your blog and all the other English-based blogs (a sense of scale, fat(free) me) and getting jealous about how cool it sounds to live over there. Great shopping, hills and dales to walk on, and great bike lanes for getting to work!