While on the Weight Watchers message boards this morning a fellow "boardie" asked the following question:
"When it comes to losing weight, do you base your WL success more on :
1.) the number on the scale
2.) how your clothes fit
3.) how you feel
4.) your energy level"
The question really hit home with me due to my recent obsession and love/hate relationship with my scale.
For me, I used to base my weight loss success solely on the number I saw when I stood on the scale. It didn't matter how I did during the week, what I ate how much I exercised. None of that mattered if I didn't see the number I wanted. I was focusing on being "skinny" not being "healthy".
After I started training for the marathon I realized that it was more important to me to focus on training, while still eating healthy, but not necessarily putting as much energy towards it. That slowly evolved into me not tracking at all and not paying any attention to what I was putting in my body. I was burning so many calories while I was training that I got into the mindset that I could eat whatever I wanted and believe me, I did.
At that time I still felt great. My clothes fit fairly well, but the number on the scale wouldn't move or would go up. It was frustrating because I was running so much that it should have outweighed the damage I was doing.
I realized at some point that the number on the scale is just that, a number. It doesn't define me as a person. It doesn't make me a good person. It doesn't mean that my wedding dress is not going to fit (I've recently tried it on and it's actually too big). It shouldn't define my happiness, and it doesn't mean anything, unless I allow it to. That number shouldn't mean anything when I can look in the mirror and have even the slightest bit of confidence, something that I rarely have.
When the marathon was over and my training schedule involved a lot less mileage my eating habits should have followed and changed as well. They did not. Excuse after excuse was used. I could come up with any excuse to not exercise and the line I used most often was that I would start over tomorrow.. Tomorrow turned into almost 3 months before I had had enough.
Now that I'm training for half-marathons I have a new mindset about how I eat. I am focusing on my calorie intake using MFP so that I can see how many calories I am eating, how many calories I am burning and visually seeing how many of those burned calories I should replace with food. I'm trying to be more educated about it by replacing these calories with protein and complex carbs instead of just food.
I am trying to lose weight again as well, while training. It's very frustrating and I wish that I could say I've had some success. From my weekly weigh-in's it's pretty clear that I'm doing something wrong, but from the way my clothes fit and from looking at progress pictures I'm doing something right.
I feel like I'm back to being dependent on what the scale says. I weigh myself every morning. I question why I see a gain. Sometimes it's clear (what I ate the night before, how much sodium I've had, how many meals included carbs, etc) but sometimes I can have a really good week and still see a gain.
I'd really like to get back to not caring about the number and caring about how I feel. I need to remember that when I gain a pound (or any amount for that matter) that it's not the end of the world and most likely other people can't/don't notice it the way I do. Same with losing. People are not going notice.
I know that I was happier when the number on the scale was just a number.