Forget The Scale!

2 Sep


So…I have been going back and forth with posting about the dreaded scale. This is a very personal and touchy subject for me and it is hard to talk about. However, I know A LOT of people who struggle with the same feelings I do towards the scale.

When I started my Weight Watchers journey…I didn’t understand the impact that stepping on the scale once a week would have on my emotional health. When I joined Weight Watchers, I honestly felt like my life was falling apart. I had nothing to look forward to. I dreaded basically everything. I would cry before and after school everyday. Come home from school and literally eat an entire bag of potato chips and French onion dip.

The day I joined, stepping on the scale, and seeing it say 240 pounds killed me. It was embarrassing. I felt SO angry at myself and others. How did I let myself get that way?! It was a slap in the face. I was defeated. But, I knew that it was the start of my new life. I needed to lose the weight.

The first week of Weight Watchers was challenging, but fun! My mom and I discovered new recipes and yummy things to eat! The entire week I anticipated going back and stepping on the scale! I ended up losing 4 pounds my first week…Needless to say, I was thrilled! Little did I know that that scale would come to haunt me in the future.

Because I had no other joys in my life at the time, the scale became the only positive thing that I had. Every week I thought about how much I was going to lose. What I would weigh. What would happen if I gained. At the time though, I didn’t think anything of it. I looked forward to that weigh in and it kept me going and motivated. But, there were no other rewards. The scale was the only reward I had.

When I didn’t lose….it honestly felt like the end of the world. I would have good weeks and gain weight! It shocked me and really killed me inside. I managed to make sure I stayed on track…because I wanted to see that minus sign SO badly. I was determined and it paid off….I lost 105 pounds and changed my life…But, once I lost the weight…that’s when things began to get complicated.

It took me a year to lose the weight. I never missed a weigh in. So, I stepped on the scale once a week for a year. Then, I became a lifetime member. You are only required to weigh in once a month as a lifetime member, but I of course told myself I NEEDED to weigh in once a week. For 6 years… I was a prisoner of the scale. No one knew, except me, the impact of weighing in had on my mood, personality, and what I would do in my spare time. If I would have another loss, I would be SO HAPPY! Go out to eat, go shopping, call people to hang out. If I had a gain….No eating out. No shopping. I would be MISERABLE. Seeing that minus sign was honestly like a drug to me. I needed to get my fix once a week…and if I didn’t see a minus sign…I would punish myself and not enjoy my life.

It wasn’t until this January that I realized how bad it had gotten. I had started lifting weights. I used to only do cardio and light lifting. I really loved the weight lifting and I could see my body changing before my eyes! I felt great! But then, the scale wasn’t cooperating. I was slowly starting to see gains….Every week. Therefore, I made my diet stricter and lifted heavier. But..the scale kept going up and up. Finally, when I reached gaining 10 pounds…I had a nervous breakdown. My relationship with Robby was terrible. I never wanted to go out to dinner or get happy hour. Or, if we did go out to dinner, I would run to the bathroom after and check to see if my stomach was still flat and if I could see my abs. I was miserable at family functions because I wasn’t allowing myself the treats. I would spend HOURS looking at fitness girls on instagram wishing I looked like them and telling myself that they probably don’t gain weight or get bloated when they eat out. I was OBSESSING. I just wanted to keep losing weight. I was trapped. Through many fights and tears, Robby mentioned I should go talk to a counselor. At first I was embarrassed that he would mention something like that! I was fine! I didn’t need to talk to someone! But, the more I thought about it…I knew I needed to get help.

A good family friend of mine gave me the name of a women who she said was amazing and could really help me….. I finished up counseling in July…and I honestly felt free! From going and talking with her, I realized how much the scale ruined me. I learned that when I was losing weight, there should have been other rewards besides just seeing the minus sign on the scale. We should have had other weekly plans to look forward to so I wasn’t so focused on the scale. I also learned the importance of muscle. Little did I know that I was just gaining 10 pounds of muscle! I wasn’t gaining fat. A lot of fitness people look for weight gains as a sign of progress! (because they eat all of the correct food).

So…. The scale is important to track weight loss or even muscle gain. However, it CANNOT be the ONLY thing that you look at. Take measurements! You will see them shrinking even if the scale isn’t moving! Tell yourself it is just a number…because it is!! It doesn’t define you! It doesn’t make you who you are! DONT BECOME TRAPPED LIKE I DID! Your body fluctuates ALL day long! Girls…you will most likely gain on that dreaded week! Also, DO NOT KEEP A SCALE IN YOUR HOUSE! That is the worst thing you can do! If you have a week where you gain weight…accept it…move on…and realize that your body is just sometimes stubborn. It doesn’t want you to lose weight. Just keep eating healthy and working out and you WILL see the results! Also, make sure you have a hobby that you like to do while losing weight. I ONLY had weight watchers. I didn’t do ANYTHING else! I should have rode horses, scrapbooked, or went fishing to keep my mind off of it and to realize that THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN THE SCALE!

If you are into lifting weights, which I highly recommend, learn the difference between muscle and fat. It is a MYTH that muscle weighs more than fat. They weigh the SAME! One pound of muscle is the same as one pound of fat. HOWEVER, muscle is much more dense than fat! Meaning that it takes up less space! Also, muscle helps to burn fat, so the more muscle you have on you, the less fat you will have! SO, when I was gaining those 10 pounds, it was all muscle! I was still lean and I wasn’t going up in pant sizes. I was just toning up and getting rid of the excess fat I had! I know it was pure muscle gain because my diet was very good. All healthy foods and within my weight watcher points. Don’t assume that if you are lifting weights…but your diet is way off track that you are gaining muscle!!

So, what happened after counseling? I haven’t stepped on a scale since FEBRUARY!!! And I have never felt better! I keep track of my weight by how my clothes feel! If my jeans feel a little snug… I know I should probably tone it down on the treats for the weekend. If they feel a little loose…Well I know I can have an extra cookie! Once you are at a weight that is good with you, stay there. There is no need to experiment to try to be “smaller.” I know that my body is comfortable around 135-140 pounds. I am a size 6-8 depending on the store. I have big hips and a big butt and I don’t want to be any smaller now. I used to think…well, a lot of my friends are a size 4, so I want to be a size 4! Well guess what, when I got there….I couldn’t even eat one cookie! That is NO WAY to live. What are your priorities?? Mine isn’t to be a size 4. It was. And when it was I didn’t enjoy my life. I couldn’t have a piece of my moms famous pies. I couldn’t have a few beers with my boyfriend during Penguin games. Now, my priority is to ENJOY life. To be the healthiest and happiest version of myself. To have a great career. To get married and raise a family….and guess what….I am going to do all of those things WITHOUT a scale.

-PLEASE comment or reach out to me if you are struggling with this same problem!
-Live healthy and many blessings!
– XOXO M

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8 Responses to “Forget The Scale!”

  1. Loretta September 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    Your accomplishments continue to amaze me!!! You are an inspiration to me!

  2. South Hills Mom (@southhillsmom) September 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    I just started Weight Watchers again this week and I am ready to start losing this weight! I live in Whitehall and your stories really inspire me to keep going.

    • prettylittleloser22 September 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

      That is great! Do you go to South Park Shop Weight Watchers?? Saturday morning meetings are wonderful!

  3. Shannon Potts September 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    You are right on the money, Maria. The scale is only one measurement of success but not the only. I have been at goal for 20 months after losing 111 lbs and it has been harder finding a balance at maintaining then it was losing the weight. I also am a firm believer in that just because you reach goal your journey does not end, it just takes a differnt path with new bumps in the road.
    But, I think that everyday I am still learning something new. Thank you for posting this because it reminds all of us who are maintaining that we are not alone!

  4. Mich September 2, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Since I am just at the beggining of my WW journey and still far from my goal weight, I think the scale is an IMPORTANT tool for me RIGHT NOW. I completely agree with you though… we have to look at ALL the rewards of weight loss! Sure, I have lost 30 pounds… but I also ran my first 5k today, something I would’ve NEVER been able to do 5 months ago. I «had» (ok, also wanted to lol) to go shopping this summer because all my pants were too big!

    I think the scale keeps me on track during my weight loss… but as you said, if one week I gain 0.5 pounds it’s definitely not a reason to get down on myself… our bodies are so weird, and since weigh-ins are only once a week, it’s hard to tell what is happening in there! I keep telling myself that as long as the OVERALL number is going down, then I’m good! (the graph feature online is really good for that).

    Of course, I’m sure it’s a different journey/relationship with the scale when you’re on the path of maintaining your weight… but basically let’s be strong and healthy! All that matters! 🙂

    p.s. love your blog!

  5. Lori September 2, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    I just did a post on IG about this. I don’t weigh ever!!! Just at the doctor. I weigh 155 and according to the fashion industry, I’m plus size. Funny thing is, I am a size 4/6. The number on the scale is just that, a #. It doesn’t define who we are or how “fit” we are. Great post!!

  6. Julie Walls September 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I love the ending…you WILL have all those things!

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  1. Jumble Spoiler – 09/04/13 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog - September 5, 2013

    […] Forget The Scale! (prettylittleloser22.wordpress.com) […]

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