February 16, 2015

How to Make the Scale Your Friend

I often see on posts on the Trim, Healthy Mama facebook main board  about avoiding the scale.  Some ladies have made pacts where they go without weighing for months so that they don't become fixated with a number.  Some have a fear of the numbers on the scale or a fear of failure and a lifetime of being bound by a number.

I'm not against avoiding the scale if you feel that seeing a number is bringing you down, but I have to admit that I love weighing in.  Just like food isn't good or bad in the THM mindset, I don't choose to see a scale as good or bad.  I see it as the tool that it should be.

I am a numbers obsessed person, but I like to think that it is because I prefer to stick with things that are known and concrete.  I have a page to help you determine your percentage of body fat and establish a realistic weight goal.  You see, I find these numbers helpful.  I like to have a real set point of where I'm going and how far till I get there.  It is like having a map on a long car trip to me.  Each pound lost is like checking the mileposts to see how far I've come on my journey and direction to my final destination.

I will admit that I weigh each morning and each early evening.  I actually have documented my morning weights for almost 10 years and can track highs and lows.  I keep them along with a log of my exercise.  My meal types for each day on THM before I started a lifestyle of freestyling are also there so that I can see what worked for me in the past.

This morning weight shows me my progress.  It keeps me accountable.  I can look at that number and evaluate what I've eaten over the last few days and see if it is causing bloat, distention, or if I've just over-done it in general.  I find that the last 2 days tend to make up my weights, and not just the last meal I've had.  It helps me to see the big picture of diet, exercise, and lifestyle overall.
I make sure to maintain consistency in my time and attire on the scale so that the numbers I am trending are relevant to each other.

The early evening number helps me to see where I've been for most of the day.  I usually notice an increase of 2-3 pounds in the evening number from my morning one.
Water weighs 2.2 pounds per liter.  Food also has a mass.  If I am not up from my morning weight, I start to question if I have drank enough water or if I have eaten enough for my day.  Did I overdo exercise without compensating with food and fluids?  Has the weather changed and am I sweating off more?  Have I taken my body's needs for the day into real consideration?
If I am above 3-4 pounds, then I start to look at my food choices and see if they were on plan or if I crossed over too often.
I personally find I don't do well with heavy evening meals and need to start decreasing my food amounts in the afternoon.  This evening weigh-in helps me with this.
I use this number as a tool to help decide if and what my evening snack will be, and I still have time to get the extra fluids in as well.

The scale can show you so much and help you to learn about how your body specifically processes the different food choices that you have made.
Did that on-plan bread cause you bloat?  Did eating out on plan lead to swelling and gains?
Was there GI inflammation or hidden salt that your body reacted to?  Are you having too many S meals or a hidden crossover that you missed?
I've found that as my body has healed and I've grown and changed, my tolerance for some foods has changed.  I can see the reaction in the number on the scale often times.
The scale can be used, along with how you feel and your measurements, to determine if you are finding the right formula specific for you needs on THM.

I have mentioned that how I do THM looks very different now than it did when I started.  Using the scale helped me to determine what meals were working for me and what wasn't and needed re-evaluation.  It helps me to see if my combination of meals is working for me.   If the number is starting to slowly trend upwards, I know that I need to maybe look at how much I'm eating, if I'm getting enough non-starchies, or fewer Crossovers.
We often talk about making THM your own and finding what works best for you, and the scale is just one of the tools that I use to know that I'm on track.

The point is, that the scale isn't a villain to be avoided.  The scale is a tool.  Just like you monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol or other labs, use your weight as a tool for improvement.
If it is truly a hindrance to you, then limit it (but do not completely avoid it).  If not, embrace it for what it is.
To me, having information and facts in an empowering thing.  I don't want to live life anymore thinking that my weight will never change and I'm cursed to being overweight.
The scale is a tool for success, don't allow it to rule your life, but use it for what it is.

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