The End of Scaleless Summer

Well, Labor Day has passed.  Does this mean summer is officially over?  I hope not since it is still in the 90’s here in East Tennessee but summer is coming to a close.  Back at the end of June, I wrote a post about giving up the scale for the remainder of summer.  Sound familiar?  Basically I just decided to stop weighing myself until Labor Day in an effort to enjoy summer activities and summer foods without feeling guilty about it thanks to a silly number on a scale.

It was actually pretty fantastic and I loved not having guilt associated with my food choices and not having the shame that comes along with a not so great weigh-in.  Did I go all nuts and eat the farm?  No, but I certainly didn’t say no to a s’more or a hamburger at a cookout.  Balance, ya dig?

While my heaviest at the beginning of summer was around 235, I did a final weigh-in before saying goodbye to the scale and it had me at 228.  Starting with a new decade was a perfect kick off to a scaleless summer.  I mentioned that I had no definitive goal for the summer other than to maintain and not gain.  I probably could have done a lot more during the months of July and August but I worked out when I could and didn’t go completely overboard on eating.  There was no guilt revolving around numbers or food choices and that alone was very liberating.  Doing a scaleless summer was probably one of the best decisions I have made.

You are probably wanting to know the results, right?  Well I weighed in the morning of Labor Day and lo and behold the scale had another new decade.  Hello 218!!!!  Ecstatic might be an understatement.  I lost exactly 10 pounds during the time I did a scaleless summer and 17 pounds since the real beginning of summer.  That’s a success!   Yes, the number on the scale makes me so happy and I’m so thankful to have shed some pounds this summer even though the main goal was to maintain but I’m even more happy that I attained successful weight loss by simply being me and not depriving myself and not feeling guilty and ashamed.  That was the main purpose of ditching the scale.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While I continue to focus on weight loss I will definitely be weighing myself from time to time to keep tabs and chase my never-ending goal of having a weight that begins with the number one but I will no longer be fixated on the idea of weighing myself and running to the scale to validate myself.  The scale just isn’t a priority anymore.  So, that’s what scaleless summer did for me and I will for sure be doing this again next summer.

Have you ever given up the scale?   Ever lost weight due to giving up the scale?  How do you deal with numbers and scale obsession?

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A Scaleless Summer

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.

sad that it doesn't say the number I wanted.

sad that it doesn’t say the number I wanted.

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.

it shouldn't be either.

it shouldn’t be either.

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.   scale.

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!!