When The Scales Lie & Why We Should Ditch Them

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Today I am sharing a healthy people post and talking about scales. Not the gorgeous vintage kitchen scales I have on my benchtop. No, not those. The square, glassy ones that live on your bedroom floor. The ones that drive me to climb on them every day, even though I know that is not good for your mental health, and perhaps they drive you to do that too. I am talking in particular about what it is like when the scales lie, and why I think we should ditch them.

how to manage weight loss at Christmas

Me when I was at one of my heaviest times a few years ago now

I have struggled with weight all of my life. I wrote about it here, and with complex health conditions of type 1 diabetes, asthma, arthritis and a range of gut issues, it is even harder to manage my weight. I basically have to live on air and exercise every day to even stay steady with my weight. Many foods are off the menu in any case, due to my health conditions, and food is not anywhere near as enjoyable for me as it used to be. I exercise 6 out of 7 days each week. I don’t drink alcohol and am a stickler for not eating junk food and avoid all biscuits, cakes, pastries, chips etc

Late last year I got very very sick with a virus, which led to a 4 month cough and wheeze, which eventually ended in oral steroids. I also wrote about that here. One of the side effects of this is weight gain, and I put on 4 kilos during the 6 weeks I ended up on them. That was on top of the 5 kilos I had been trying to lose for a while. I say “trying” loosely, I had been telling the scales every morning that I did not like their number and would be working on that, for a while now. I totally have conversations with the scales, it’s a thing.

So here I was now wanting to lose 8 – 10 kilos, again, and the mountain seemed high. Enter Easter. And a post chocolate and bacon and egg infused night of gastro…the jury is out on whether it was a bug or just my chronic gut condition playing up from all that fat – but the end result was the same – it was hell, and I decided to go on a very restricted diet for a month to let my gut heal. Lo and behold, this also resulted in less calories and some small weight loss. So it inspired me to get my fitness pal app out again and monitor my calories every day. Over the past 6 weeks my weight slowly trended downwards, sometimes stabilising, sometimes heading up a tad, but overall trending down. At the start of last week it was 5 kilos down and I was feeling GOOD baby! I could SEE the weight loss in my face and stomach, I felt like I was on my way. I was inspired! I started to think maybe I could have a more positive relationship with my scales (and myself) again.

But oh how those scales can tease and trick..Mr Recycled came in that night and told me the scales were playing up, that he had been 4 kilos lighter and didn’t believe it and moved the scales to another spot and he was the correct weight. Just take note here that he can eat whatever he wants, binge even, and does not really put on weight – don’t you HATE that! Anyway, of course I hopped on the next day and was suddenly RIGHT BACK WHERE I STARTED!  What the hell???? How could I have stacked on 5 kilos overnight…it made no sense. I moved the scales to another spot but it made no difference. I hopped on and off, I sucked in my stomach (no idea what that would do to my weight), I even went to the toilet and had a shower (perhaps loss of internal fluid and the washing off of dirt would make me lighter) – but nope, the same. So, I decided the scales were faulty and marched off to buy some new ones.
I eagerly brought them home and got them out, nice shiny black glass ones, and undressed (coz every gram matters). I hopped on and bingo – I was lighter, albeit not 5 kilos, but 2 kilos. I hopped on the old scales, they were 2 kilos heavier than these new shiny ones. I shifted them both around – tried them both again – now they were both 2 kilos lighter than the original weight. The plot thickened (like my waistline).

The conclusion I reached from all of this scale hopping was that I could be even lighter when I checked the next morning, as fluid always makes me heavier in the afternoon. So the next morning I hopped on both, hopeful – yes! I was another kilo lighter, but definitely not 5….does this sound like the behaviour of a sane person? WHY am I so worried about all of this? What drives me to be so focused on my weight? Why does that define me? These little changes can be part of normal body chemistry and we can all fluctuate a few kilos from day to day, and in any case, it does not change who I am…

So here’s the thing – either the scales were LYING to me all the time about that 5 kilo loss (you prick), OR I am carrying fluid which I tend to do, and tomorrow will be different. However the nagging thing in my head was this – all of a sudden I FELT fatter again, I could see it in my tummy, I heard that voice in my head saying what’s the point, eat the peanut butter, it is all too hard anyway you LOSER….the number on that damn set of scales is directly connected to my wellbeing and mental health. And that my friends, totally sucks and is the reason why we should ban the scales. I am working on it. I am not ready to give up this relationship. But who knows, perhaps tomorrow, depending on what they say to me, I will be sending them on their way and working on loving myself for who I am, rather than what I weigh. It’s a battle many of us fight and our attitudes towards body size and ageing need to change.
If you want to weigh in on the conversation, drop me a comment below (see what I did there?) 🙂
xx
Helen

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