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Me and the Hidden Scale

I put down a five mile run toady, and I am still singing a wicked version of “whoop there it is.” Yes, that is the farthest I have ventured since 70.3 Miami.  I am short on time to New Orleans, and now I think the groove is starting to roll.

Last night, I posted on Facebook that I was putting away my scale.  Much like the caffeine issue, some of you are very passionate about your scale.  Some of you said:  yes, put it away.  But then I received many comments and emails:  My scale keeps me on target. I need it. I have to have it. I must weight to know that I am staying at goal.  
I stopped and pondered, wondering if “hiding” the scale would really help or hurt me.  And I came to this conclusion: maybe scale necessity applies to those who don’t have 30 40 50 60 pounds to lose.   
For example, if I was already at my never-been-before-since-5th-grade weight of 120, then maybe I would drag out the scale and make sure I wasn’t gaining it back.  Maybe. But I have been tied to a scale for 21 years, and I’m still fighting it.
I am someone who needs (desperately) to see the number go down.  So, I’m not sure the scale is the best psychological tool for me, especially with training. When I would have a bad day week month, and I would get on the scale and see +10 +12 +16, the number did nothing but literally destroy me.  
After a bad weigh-in, the first thing that would come to mind:  you stupid idiot, how did you let this happen again, you are disgusting, look at you…

As I was packing up the scale last night, I felt a sense of freedom, and I knew I was doing the right thing.  
Here’s how I know.
During the final ramp up for Miami, I had completed a 40 mile bike ride, plus a 6 mile run.  I was in absolutely the best shape of my life (not saying much, but I was in good shape for me). I felt strong, I felt proud, and I had a great day.  The Expert and I went out to lunch afterwards.  I ate a mass of food, but healthy stuff: salad, hummus, black bean burger with only half of the bread.  
On the way home, I was elated, feeling that Miami was within reach.  But once home, as I turned on the water to get in the shower, I stripped off my salty clothes and stepped on the scale.   I was up 7 pounds from the morning.  Nevermind that I had just had the best workout of my life. Nevermind that I drank 6 bottles of water, ingested tons of electrolytes, and followed it up with a 3 pound meal.  Nevermind it all.  
The scale had spoken.  And I was crushed. And it was ridiculous.
My reaction was like giving birth to a beautiful, healthy baby and immediately cursing the loose skin, the weird boobs, and whatever nightmare is going on downstairs.  
Same analogy. On that training day, I had a body which gave me beautiful results.  I chose to ignore what wonderful things my body had accomplished for the day, and instead, I chose to focus on what my strong, capable body weighed.  
I chose to concentrate on the damn gravitational pull.
So, this morning when I woke up, there was no scale to decide how I was going to feel about myself today.  And you know what?  I felt great.  
I had a great run.  And when I sent Coach M my workout results, I said:  Game Face = Back On.  Which felt nice.  To which he responded:  “Excellent!!!!!” but with more exclamation points, if you can believe it. 
I can’t help but think… my entire day would have turned out differently, if I had started with a self-curse of “you are disgusting.”  My training will turn out differently if I keep that attitude up.

Whether you love your scale or hate it… think about that.  Are you allowing your scale to shape your day? Your life?  Your self-worth?  I was.  But I’m not anymore.   
Hope you have a great week friends. 

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15 Comments

  • Anonymous

    January 3, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I could not agree more with your entire rationale/philosophy regarding the scale. I recently posted a note on my facebook about the damage that number on the scale has done to me over the years, not just as a woman, but as a leader in the Army. I am currently on a once-a-week policy with my scale, only because the Army mandates that my weight be below a certain number and being 8 weeks postpartum, I need desperately for that number to go DOWN. But I have to keep myself in check. Left to my own devices, I would check that number daily, hell maybe hourly to verbally bash myself for every calorie which crosses my lips. For now, I'll stick to once weekly (and once monthly at Curves). I vow NOT to weigh myself on the day of my next event: the Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon in Nashville on 28 April. Thank you for your blog. It echoes so many of my own thoughts and feelings. If I worked in your building, I'd totally stalk you. 😛

    -Deb

    Reply
  • Trish

    January 3, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Wow. I'm not sure how you did it, but I swear you looked into my soul. I have tears running down my cheeks as I am typing. I am literally seconds away from giving it all away. Seconds away from becoming a yogi instead of a triathlete (not that there is anything wrong with yogis, it's just I want(ed) more). I had decided to concentrate on yoga because it calms me and because I can be fat and still do yoga (well, mostly).

    After reading your words, I've realized that I can't give up that easily!! I can't. I'm worth way more than that!! I'm stronger than that!! Thank you. Thank you.

    ~would you mind if I quoted you on my blog?

    Again, thank you. I'm off to hide my scale!!!

    Reply
  • Swim Bike Mom

    January 3, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Deb – I love stalkers!! Thanks for the awesome comment…

    Trish – yes ma'am, quote away! And I am so glad that you are hiding your scale too. We can be scale-hiding buddies. Keep me posted on you – email me anytime… 🙂

    Reply
  • Kathy R

    January 3, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Lose the scale. I go by how my clothes fit. If it all feels the same then leave it be. If I'm feeling snug then I drag it out to assess he damage. And if I'm feeling loose I check and then run to Dairy Queen to celebrate … just try to stop me!!

    Reply
  • enthusiasticrunner.com

    January 3, 2012 at 1:53 am

    I have not been on a scale since 2005…only the doctors know my weight. And its amazing!! I honestly just live my life now!! A number doesn't define me.

    Reply
  • Kim H.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Ok…but was it hard (to put it away)?? I have such a horrible relationship with my scale. I always do the whole, I'm going to get rid of it, and I last maybe 2-3 days before I get it back out. I do want to focus on my fitness and health, blah,blah,…but I also want to weigh less. I try to tell myself that MANY people who weigh less than me can't or don't do the many things that I do (swim, bike, run…run some more, etc). but, it doesn't stop me from wanting to weigh less. I'd like to just barely be an athena! 🙂 That's not asking for too much, right??
    Ok..sorry for the rant. Your blog continues to be such an inspration to me.

    Reply
  • Louise Rothwell

    January 3, 2012 at 3:26 am

    You make me laugh everyday!
    I have decided to only weigh myself once a week,maybe!
    I ran 21 miles on Saturday,how many people can say that?! I am hoping to do a 4 hr marathoning in Feb and I not a size 0-4 !

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    January 3, 2012 at 5:16 am

    I stopped weighing myself for a year and I have never lived the body that I live in more. Congrats on taking such a brave step and focusing on health and athletic performance instead of a number (that jumps around a lot!). … After a year I started weighing myself again once a week. I'm stronger and happier than I've ever been. Oh yeah, 3 years after I put the scale away I'm also down 50 pounds 🙂 enjoy the freedom!

    Reply
  • TX Runner Mom

    January 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Wat to go on getting rid of the scale! I only weight myself once every few weeks and for years (like 10), I didn't even own a scale. I agree that it's not about the number…it took me a long, long time to realize it.

    Reply
  • Fitness Cheerleader

    January 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Great idea!

    I gave up my scale a year ago. I took the battery out, and hubby, thinking it was broken threw it out. I've never been happier, or smaller! I am far more mindful of my eating – I KNOW how many calories are in junk, so I don't eat it anymore. I no longer use the scale to say to me that the cookies I ate are ok because look – you didn't gain anything, so you can have 5 more. I do step on my Wii Fit every month or so, but because I have 3 daughters who I don't want to even see me weigh myself, or be aware of weight, finding a time when they aren't around is difficult. I can't seem to completely let my scale obsession go, but I'm far better than I used to be.

    Reply
  • mostlyfitmom

    January 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Totally sounds like you made the right decision for you. I don't get too worked up over the number that pops up, and prefer to think of it as a reminder of where I am and where I want to be – roughly. I "somehow" (okay, I know exactly how) have gained almost 10 pounds since the beginning of October. If I relied on my jeans and my own self-assessment to keep me honest, I might seriously continue to hoover back the Christmas cookies and chocolate. I'm not currently happy when I look at the number on the scale, but then I'm not feeling right in my skin these days either. I'm just not sure I would have noticed much without the scale (probably says something about my lack of body awareness). Eh, try it out and see if it works for you.

    Reply
  • Duckie

    January 7, 2012 at 1:53 am

    The first thing DW did was lay me off for my injury and the second (one breath later) was bar me from the scale. I am so glad he did because I have been able to let go of that number and focus on performance results. The rest is following. I really love the part where you talked about how your body gave you beautiful results. That is a mind set that I am struggling to internalize. I just keep telling myself "beauty is as beauty does". YOU ROCK!!

    Reply

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