a left-eyed girl

living in a 2 dimensional world

It’s just a number

with 2 comments

Each and every morning I weigh myself on a scale that I bought about 4-5 years ago. It’s one of those semi-fancy scales that also measures your body fat based on your conductivity. "The experts" say that weighing yourself everyday doesn’t help you lose weight because it can be demoralizing and inaccurate. I know that when I see a number higher than yesterday’s number, I do get a little peeved at myself for letting the number go up. It’s completely irrational, but I can’t seem to help myself. It’s an automatic self-judgement.

Body weight fluctuates from day to day, based on a number of outside factors like hydration, the status of your bowels, when you last ate or worked out, etc. Over the years of daily weigh-ins, I know that my weight typically fluctuates within a range of 5 pounds. My weight probably ranges about 3-4 pounds in the course of a single day. After you add in the fluctuations due to the menstrual cycle, it’s pretty clear that the weight number isn’t very dependable.

On top of this, measuring body fat via conductivity is not exactly the most accurate method since it does not take hydration into account. The more hydrated you are, the more conductive you are, and this will decrease the body fat percent the scale tells you. If you could be similarly hydrated everyday, then this method might work well for you, but it’s hard to tell exactly how hydrated you are each day. This number obviously fluctuates.

So even knowing all of this, and understanding that what happens on the scale is (relatively) within my control, why does it still bother me to see my weight fluctuate to the top end of my acceptable limit? It doesn’t ruin my day, but I usually silently call myself fat and will sometimes withhold food from myself based solely on the day’s numbers.

Isn’t this such a "girl" thing to do?

But wait, athletes get obsessed with their weight and how much they workout and consume, don’t they? Back in the day (when I was heavier) I used to think they were so crazy. The wrestlers in my high school seemed to be more obsessed than any other athlete because your weight dictated which weight class you were allowed to fight in. I remember one guy weight one pound too much before his weigh-in, and he put on sweatpants and a heavy pullover and ran around the building in the heat until he’d sweated the pound off. Now that’s crazy.

I’m thankful that I’m not so crazy that the bathroom scale would bring me to tears. I try not to obsess about it, but sometimes when I’m in a crappy mood already, it does make me feel even crappier and I wish it wasn’t like that. Just a number, just a data point, right? It doesn’t make me less valuable if I’m up a pound from last week, and it doesn’t make me cooler/prettier/etc if I’m down a pound. But sometimes, it’s tough to tell myself that.

After all, it’s just a number, and it only has power over me if I let it.

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Written by Reese

September 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Posted in just life

2 Responses

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  1. This is why I don’t own a scale. 8^/

    I always associate that athlete weight obsession with horse racing, after reading many Dick Francis mysteries which all have something to do with that world.

    Bethany

    September 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    • Haha.. Even with the small hits to my self-esteem, I think that weighing everyday is a good way to maintain your weight. I used to hate doing it, but now I do look at it as sort of a game where I am trying to stay around the same weight that I’ve been maintaining for more than 2 years. It may not be the most flattering statistic to collect (I’d so much rather collect personal statistics on how many books I’ve read in the last year or how fast I can knit a pair of socks), but I still think it’s important to track something if you want to control it.

      Ha, yeah I imagine the jockeys are craaaazy about weight!!

      Reese

      September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm


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