During stressful times, like a break-up, some people lose weight. Not me. I gain.
In 2007 after my ex-douchebag-boyfriend got another girl pregnant behind my back, I fell into a spiral of drinking way too much, smoking way too much and working out not at all. Ultimately, it was this break-up that was the catalyst for getting into running and triathlon. It had been a few years since I had been to the gym; my work-outs consisted mostly of out-drinking my friends and eating as much as I wanted. I was always athletic and had a high metabolism so even though I ate, drank and didn’t work out, I also rarely gained weight. Until this time. During the course of my unhealthy relationship and the subsequent break-up, I had put on quite a few pounds.
Fast forward to last year.
I once again put on weight during the over-the-top-drawn-out-for-too-long-dramatic breakup with R2. The difference between 2007 and 2012 is that although I had let myself go between the broken foot and broken heart, was that I luckily had not lost all my fitness. Oddly enough, when I decided to get my butt back in gear this past December, I weighed the same amount as I did when I started my journey in 2007. The same exact weight.
Although I hate both of these photos, I posted so you can see how in both of these photos that I am heavier, but it is also noticeable that even just looking at my face, that I look fitter in 2012. The scale read the same number but you can easily see how different I looked. And that is just judging on my face. (Trust me, it was hard enough to post these photos…no full body shots!)
Now, I am going to post a photo of me currently. I have been working my tail off since December to get back in shape. I have been on a nutrition plan and in addition to running and swimming, I have been taking barre and ballet classes. I knew that I wanted to lose weight and get fit before Mexico, so I really buckled down.
In this photo, taken only a few weeks ago, I am only six pounds less than in both of those photos above.
All my hard work and I have lost only six pounds. But look at the difference in my face. (I really tried to pick three photos with the same head tilt.) I am clearly more fit in this current photo. And that is great, but the biggest difference of all? In the two photos above, I was not happy. In the recent photo, I am. That is a happy girl. I am two sizes smaller than 2007 and a size smaller than just 3 months ago. So while the number on the scale doesn’t reflect necessarily where I want to be weight wise, I know the number doesn’t matter. When I look in the mirror, I see muscle. I see toned abs. I see a body that is being worked hard for. I see confidence. I see all the things a scale cannot show me.
More important than all the superficial aspects, is that the scale does not measure my health. The number tells me little to nothing about what is going on with my relationship with food or my digestive health. The scale is also no indication of my recovery from activity, my stress level or my sleeping patterns. If I don’t get enough sleep, it is not reflected on the scale but rather, I know by the way I feel. These are the factors that impact my health far more directly than my body weight. Individual weight is personalized and unique. There is not a one sized fits all number that people should weigh.
With all that said, I will admit, I still weigh myself. Currently, once a week and only on my own scale. I do not weigh myself on any other scale, ever. At the doctor, I get weighed backward. By weighing only on my own scale, I do not have to question or obsess. My scale is consistent to what I know my weight to be. And sometimes, the number does frustrate me. I am still a work in progress. There will be confident days and not confident days. Of course, there will be days I look at myself and say “you go girl!” and days where I think “what am I doing wrong?” but it will be based on how I feel when I look in the mirror, not based on how I feel when I step on the scale. I will not let the number on the scale determine whether I have a good day or bad day. I will continue to weigh myself as a way to monitor my weight in general. Not as a way to determine my worth.
Do you weigh yourself?
Do you hyper-focus on the number or are you able to see past it?
Quick aside: Yay! I’m able to comment again!
I agree with everything you said. I have been weighing myself recently but I try to focus more on how I feel and how my clothes are fitting than the actual number. I definitely don’t let the number on the scale dictate my mood. If it goes up, I just try to refocus my efforts on eating well and working out.
Interesting that you only weigh yourself on your own scale and never look at the doctor’s office. I’ve never thought to stand backwards at the doctor before. I do agree that I can only really compare weights from one scale though because I have no idea if they are calibrated the same.
LOVE this post. You have put in to words something I have wanted to say for years, but can’t get out. I have been putting myself in a yo-yo cycle of gaining and losing for a long time, but always staying active. So while I got heavier again, I fit in to the same clothes. And when I got lighter, even thought it was a same weight I had been at before, I looked different. So that proved to me too, that weight barely means anything. It is about how you feel, and what you see when you look in the mirror, or just inward 🙂
I still do weigh myself every morning though. I am trying to eat healthier, and lose some weight, because I AM overweight, and it helps me stay on track.
P.S. I respond to stress by overeating/self-damaging behavior too. What has helped you stop that? 🙂
I haven’t stopped! Well, not entirely. I think what has helped most is that I allow myself to have a bad day. But I take the time to determine if it really is a bad day or if I can overcome it. Do I want a glass of wine because it goes well with dinner and I know I’ll enjoy it? Or do I want a glass of wine because I had a bad day? It’s all about decisions. I am also trying to find healthier comfort foods. A blue box of Kraft mac and cheese is not acceptable dinner for three weeks in a row, haha! But I can definitely justify a chocolate chip granola bar!
At the end of the day, we are all a work in progress. Life is hard. All we can ask of ourselves is to be the best we can be as often as possible. (At least that is what I tell myself!)
Thanks for replying! This helps. It makes me think I am on the right track. My biggest struggle has been not letting bad days become bad weeks/periods, as I have before! I am definitely still struggling, but feel like I am making progress.
I don’t get on the scale as often as I should. Wait. Let me rephrase. As often as I think I should. It’s mostly a fear thing. For me, though, it’s because I’m at a higher weight as a result of more strength training and, if anything, I’m moving up a size in pants because of my things. While I hate the number sometimes, I have to remind myself that it doesn’t count because I’m stronger and fitter than when I was at my lowest.
I loved this post! Thank you so much for doing it! I seriously am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I am eating healthier, walking much more, and still not dropping weight (only 3lbs) but like you dropped a size. Thank you again!
I do weight myself, although probably not enough (just enough to cringe every once in awhile). We have to keep the number in perspective because at the end of the day, the number only explains something if you are aware.
This is a great post!! I struggle with weight and numbers every day! I made the decision to not weigh myself for the month of February, it was hard at first, but I survived!! I’ve been measuring myself since January, and I see more of a difference there than from the scale.
Weight is just a number, I try to focus on how I feel. And that usually works most of the time.
I go back and forth with the whole weighing thing. I am trying to make weigh myself once a week. If I skip I have been eating junk. This is the first week I’ve missed this year. Oops.
I started weighing daily because I packed on holiday weight and wigged out. Now I’m weighing weekly. My inches and body fat lost have been more significant than my weightloss. I am a habitual sweet eater. Once I start I do not stop.
I stopped weighing because I was wigging out! I eat a lot of sugar too..in fact, way too much, unfortunately. Definitely my down fall!
I know it’s not considered “healthy” but I weigh myself every morning. I have to – it keeps me accountable. It’s taken me such a long time to get to my happy weight/size/body shape and, frankly, I’m terrified of putting the pounds back on. Daily weigh-ins give me an idea of where I stand for the day. If I’m at the lower end of my range, I’ll let myself indulge in a heavier dinner that night or treat myself to Oreos for dessert, but if the scale is showing a bit higher than I like, I’ll have a healthier meal and skip dessert. It’s all about finding what works for you. And I figure since I’ve managed to keep the 40 lbs off for almost two years now, I’ll stick with it! 🙂
I stopped weighing myself when I didn’t like what I saw. Now I just keep an eye on my clothes: as long as they fit, I’m fine.
I practice HAES. I never weigh myself. I do the backwards thing on the scale at the doctor’s too. I’m fat, and extremely healthy. The healthiest and strongest I’ve ever been. I’m also the happiest because I’m not hating myself anymore for something so stupid as the number on the scale. It doesn’t define my worth in this world, my actions do. It breaks my heart to see women hating on themselves and others for their body size.
I love your attitude!
When I was in college playing field hockey – my first season I gained 10 pounds, but my body was smaller – we were doing lots of strength training, which was something I’d never done before.
You’d think that I would get my act together and add more strength training – and I plan to get going on that this week, because it changes the shape of your body regardless of the number on the scale.
BTW, you look beautiful!
And thanks for the compliment 🙂