Anyone that knows me (or reads here) knows that I struggle with weight issues. I mean, I was born weighing over 10 pounds for crying out loud! As a Biggest Winner contestant my focus was the scale. We had an official weekly weigh-in and whatever number popped up on the scale was recorded in our medical file and was a major component over who would win the competition. The scale was my best friend and my worst enemy. It defined me. During the program I worked so hard to successfully lose 37 pounds, making it 57 pounds total gone from my highest weight ever. I will never forget the day I stepped on the scale and saw 199 and then proceeded to weigh myself close to a dozen times after to make sure it was accurate. Just a few days later it would read 195-my lowest ever. That number told me that I was successful, that I was valued, that I was full of worth. But it lied.
The day after the Biggest Winner was announced I went on a trip to Nashville and probably had one of the worst binges to date. I had reached what I deemed to be success and that was enough for me. I attained the magic number and that was all that mattered. In just a few short months I would pack on every pound again and be right back where I started. Then the cycle would begin again. I made the UT Rowing team and spent endless hours a week training and conditioning my body. Although I never really weighed myself that much when I was rowing, my body was stronger and smaller than it had ever been before and I didn’t have a care in the world about what the scale said. I was proud of having a 5k PR, I was proud of running 8 miles with no walk breaks and I was proud to have toned muscles. A number would not have made me feel any better.
What happened to that girl? I went from being scale obsessed to only being proud of my accomplishments back to scale obsessed. Every single time my friend Jess and I get together we talk about the scale. It is like the big elephant in the room that haunts us and never lets us forget about our weight and food issues.
I’ll be the first to admit to being a compulsive scale girl. It is the first thing I do in the morning. Get naked, weigh myself, use the bathroom, weigh myself, hate the result, hate myself. Mind you, I don’t do this every single day but most days that is the cycle I go through. But the number doesn’t represent how much muscle I’ve gained from my strength training workouts, it doesn’t reflect how much fiber I have added to my diet, and it doesn’t tell me that I’m a better person. It is just a number. A three digit number that happens to have a 2 in front of it. Who cares?! I shouldn’t but I do.
After reading Ashley’s blog and seeing her adventures with a scaleless summer, I reached out to her and asked if she would mind if I did a similar post documenting a summer without the scale. She was so encouraging and was totally okay with letting me do this! This summer will be her third year doing it and that to me is dedication.
Summer brings lots of things that may not normally happen during the other seasons. Cookouts are plentiful and s’mores make the best dessert. Vacations and road trips happen and sometimes “healthy eating” gets put on the back burner. A lot of people would argue that it is all about planning ahead and making sacrifices and I respect that. But for me personally, sustainability is key to a weight loss that has longevity and by giving up special things that normally only happen in the summer just won’t cut it. I will end up feeling deprived and making even worse food decisions as a result. Is that an excuse? Maybe, but I know my body and my habits. I would much rather give in to a s’more and feel great about it than not eat one and end up eating three Dairy Queen s’more blizzards on the way home.
A lot of people use the summer to maintain and not gain which I think is totally awesome. If I make it to the end of summer without weighing and still weigh the exact same then I will be super excited. If I happen to gain a few pounds, then that is okay, too. If I step on and see any loss then that will just be a bonus to me getting over my scale obsession. This summer is all about feeling good about myself, trying new things, and focusing on bettering myself and not about bettering a number.
So here’s the deal. I weighed myself on Sunday morning and the scale said 228.8. It has been a long time since I’ve been in the 220’s! The scale will be collecting dust until Labor Day. Sure, I have a goal number I’d like to see when I step on the scale again but I will be fine no matter what it says on September 2. The next two-ish months will give me time to build muscle, burn fat, work on my fitness, try new things, eat “summer” foods, and stepping outside the box. Can I do it? Yes I can.
If you struggle with scale obsession, then join me for a scaleless summer! If you can’t bear to make it the whole summer, then scale (pun intended) back to one day per week. This is going to be a fun summer!!