Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Scale. . .I'm Breaking Up With You

Dear Scale,

We've been spending a little bit too much time together lately, and I can't help but feeling that I need to take a break.  It's not you; it's me. Well. . .maybe it is you.  I can't handle the ups and downs in our relationship. I know you're just being honest, but you don't know the whole story.  All you can think about is numbers, and your negativity is starting to get to me.  That's why I need to break up with you.  I hope we can still be friends.

-Amanda

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As I said in my post a few days ago, my weight has been bouncing up and down a lot over the last week and a half.  Thursday was the lowest, at 210.4.  This morning when I stepped on the scale it was 213.6.  My first feeling was extreme frustration. Then I calmed down and thought about things for a minute.

I know this wasn't the best weekend for my diet (due to several get-togethers I attended where food was plentiful), but I didn't think I was bad enough to gain over three pounds! In fact, the more I thought about it, I realized it was impossible.  I know how many calories I burn per day (based on height, weight, gender, age, and activity level), and I know that you have to eat 3500 calories more than you burn to gain a pound.  That means, in order for me to have gained 3 lb of fat, I would have had to eat about 21,000 calories in four days.  And that's just disgusting. I know I didn't eat that badly.

So then why did my weight go up? Most people who are trying to lose weight ask this question at some point.  What you've got to remember is that our weight can fluctuate up to about 5 lbs at any given time of day. That's why the experts say to weigh yourself at the same time every day (preferably in the morning.) But if you're doing that, and still have sudden weight gain, it can be confusing. I've done a lot of searching on nutrition websites (and sometimes I watch The Doctors). . .and these are some of the things I've learned:

1-You might be retaining water. (This one is probably what happened to me this weekend.)
     Possible Causes:  Too much salt, not enough water, that time of the month
     Possible Solutions:  Drink more water  (Try adding a little lemon juice.  Supposedly it helps  you get rid of the excess water faster.)

2- You might not be regular.  If you stand on a scale and hold a couple of apples, the number on the scale is going to go up. If you eat the apples, their weight doesn't just magically disappear.  It takes a while to digest them.  After a while, waste can build up in your digestive tract, which is why there are so many "colon cleanse" diets out there. (Yes, you can lose a lot of weight quickly, but it's not fat, and you won't look any different.) This one is easy to solve.  Eat more fiber.  Fruits and veggies are full of it!

3- Muscle weighs more than fat.  Some people insist this is true.  Others say it's a myth.  The truth is, both arguments are right.  The problem is the wording, not the idea.  Yes, a pound of muscle and a pound of fat both weigh the same amount: a pound!  BUT. . .if you had two identical containers, and filled one with fat and the other with muscle, the muscle would weigh more.  This is because a SPECIFIC VOLUME of muscle weighs more than THAT VOLUME of fat. In other words, a pound of fat takes up more space.  So. . .I could lose 5 lbs of fat and gain 6 lbs of muscle. I would look thinner and feel healthier, but the scale would only tell me I had gained a pound.  And then I would feel frustrated.

4- You really did eat too much.
     Solution:  Don't freak out about it too much. That will only frustrate you.  Every day is a new beginning. Just forget about it and give yourself a fresh start.  :)

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As I thought about these things this morning (especially the first three), I decided I need to take a break from my scale for a while.  I'm putting it away, and I'm going to focus on how I look and feel, and only check the numbers once a week.  After all, numbers are only half of the story.

1 comment:

  1. Manda, I'm with you! We have two scales so we can double the anguish every morning. I read your message and took both scales out and left them in the garage, where, by the way, three other unreliable scales sit. We're taking a one week break from them. Thank you! Marilyn

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