Sunday, September 14, 2008

Napa Sonoma Ride Redux, but first...A Scale Rant

Before I yap on and on about the goings on of my week I want to rant about something for a minute. The Scale. We all know The Scale can be a cruel and unusually mysterious creature. I've had my share of moments standing there naked, post-restroom, pre-breakfast, with both a boggled and angry look on my face. The Scale does not always make sense. And the reason it doesn't make sense is because The Scale only tells part of the story. I know I say this a lot but only because it's true.

Being pregnant, my relationship with the scale is changing. Oh, I still turn to the scale for information, but for some reason this different relationship has given me a new view of my old friend. And I'm not liking a lot of what I'm seeing.

I've tried to organize my thoughts into a list. Without further ado...Here are Five things about The Scale that drive me crazy

1. The Scale does not have all the answers. If I were to tell you, "I'm going to make a recipe and the ingredients are beef, brown gravy mix, dried Italian salad dressing mix, ranch dressing mix, and water and then asked, "What am I making?," would you know? Highly unlikely, right? Why? Because you don't know the amounts of ingredients, you don't know the preparation, the cooking instructions, etc. Would you be upset with yourself for not knowing? Would you be baffled as to why you don't know? Of course not. You'd say, "How could I know? I don't have enough information!" Well, to me, that's what we expect of ourselves when we hop on that scale, see a number we didn't expect and then get upset. So many things go into our weight - calories in, temperature, sodium in, waste out, time of day...the list goes on and on. The Scale does not have The really doesn't.

2. The Scale reveals minute changes in our weight.
We say things like, "I don't understand, I ate healthy, exercised...why am I up .4 pounds?" Point 4 pounds? Seriously? My scale gives my weight down to 1/10th. Most of the time I think that's a good thing. But sometimes it's not. We lose perspective. We seem to forget that at 164 pounds .4 is a .2% change in our body weight. Not even 1%, not even a 1/2 of a percent...but .2% people! Why are we reacting to this?

3. The Scale is a progress report on our goal of improved health.
As if they are one in the same. If I gain one pound this week (imagine I'm not pregnant but still trying to lose weight) you might hear me say something like, "I had a bad week." But whoa...what if I'd gone to the gym 5 days that week and reached a personal best on the treadmill? What if I resisted giving into a Taco Bell urge on my way home from work after a stressful day? What if I learned a new healthy recipe version of my favorite comfort food (that I actually like)? Those are all fabulous accomplishments that will serve me in my long term goal of weight loss and health. They are also signs that I am indeed living this new healthy lifestyle. They contradict my earlier conclusion that I had a bad week. Don't they?

4. The Scale tells us how to feel. Why do we let the scale effect our mood? Why is The Scale the one that tells us how to feel? What to think? What to do next? Well, partially, I think, because it gives us (in seconds) something concrete to focus on. Measuring ourselves takes time, and it might take weeks before we see a change. Weeks? Are you kidding me? Why wait weeks to get feedback on how I'm doing when I can hop on the scale in the morning, mid-morning, afternoon, late afternoon, evening, late evening...etc, etc. I've read more than one post in which the writer weighed herself and was up a tiny bit more than she wanted to be. She did some shenanigans (losing the clothes, using the restroom, etc) and hopped back on. Lo and behold that extra weight is gone and happiness ensues. Something is just not right with that picture. And yet I've been that person so many, many times.

5. Despite all of the above, The Scale does not go away. I've met those woman who never weigh themselves. They say honorable things like, "I let the fit of my clothes tell me if I need to start eating less." These people have somehow broken free from the cruelty of that little measuring device. I think it's great. I wish I could do it. Well, obviously I don't because I haven't. I'm as addicted to that instant feedback as the next girl. Even though it doesn't always make sense, it can put me in a bad mood, it lies (oh and don't think it doesn't, it will lie straight to your face without a second thought), it's unreliable and inconsistent...even though I swear it hates me, I won't get rid of it. And neither will you. And that's the worst of all.
So what inspired me to put together this list? You. As I was riding my bike today I started thinking about some of the anguish, the torture, the pain I've read lately in some blogs. Women truly, seriously frustrated, women confused, women depressed. And I've been that woman, I am that woman too. I wrote this list to try and break us free from the insanity. We need a new relationship with the scale. How to do that? Well, give me time, I haven't had that epiphany yet :) The good news is we weigh ourselves because we are driven, we want to get healthy. And we want to know how it's going. We weigh ourselves because we care. I think it's what we do with the number that gets a little screwy.

That's enough of that. Let me tell you how things have been going here. I went to my swim class on Wednesday evening and once again felt great when I left.  Too bad that didn't translate into any other exercise for the week.  Finally today, Sunday, Miguel and I went for a bike ride.  I decided to take him on the ride I did last week, the Napa to Sonoma and back 30-miler.

The weather was cooler than last weekend, which is nice. We had a very nice ride to Sonoma and once there we happened upon a celebration for Mexican Independence. There were dancers and singers and it was an awesome little surprise.

After watching the dancers for a while we went to a deli and purchased some food for an impromptu picnic.

I had some egg salad on lettuce with tomatoes, cucumber and carrots and we shared some salami, cheese and bread.  It was a great little lunch.  While we were eating the mariachi band was playing and it all felt so perfect.

On the ride back I really paced myself.  I remember how I pooped out last Sunday about 7 miles from the end.  I didn't want that to happen again, and it didn't.  I felt good the whole ride, save a little bit of a sore butt and legs now and again.  Here I am on our return leg.

What a picture perfect day, right?  

Well, that's about it for me.  It's late and I'm tired.  Off to enjoy some sleep.  Have a great week everyone!!

Oh, and by the way, the ingredients mentioned earlier are for "To Die for Crock Pot Roast"


  1. Oh Michelle,

    Wonderful post!

    I too am that woman!
    Mostly I try and keep the scales in their place but every so often they get a bit big for their boots and tell me how to feel.

    I have a love hate relationship with them though because I know that they are my "fat" watchdog and when I banish them from my life, that sneaky little fat comes back.

    I think this is one battle that blogging can definitely help with

    Its a place to remind yourself of the PB on the treadmill and the food victory's and it is so nice to meet other sensible, healthy women who are driven mental by the little flashing numbers. It means your not a total crackpot!

    We can win this battle

    Would love to hear the epiphany if and when you have it!

    Looking great on the bike by the way!

    Happy days

  2. Thank you for reminding us how wicked the scale can be. So many people have told me how good I look due to the 4 months of training for this upcoming Tri but I don't see it (and the scale certainly doesn't). My clothes aren't even fitting me different but people tell me I look good. That's really all that matters, right?

  3. I really really relate to the scale list, but I have to admit that I am one of the women you mentioned who now doesn't weigh myself. I have a little notebok with about 5 years of weekly weigh ins recorded - sad puppy!

    It took me a looong time to be rid of them, but in all honesty, it is the best thing I could have done. After Ironman I did go back to weighing myself for a time, but all the things in your list started happening. Negative sabotage!!!! The number wasn't good, so I would binge over it. Not the best reaction, so I went back to not doing it. MUCH BETTER!

  4. Thnaks for yet another great post on the scale. I actually deleted reading a few blogs that were so depressing about weighing upteen times DAILY on their scale and were so depressed about it. Just brought me down, and I decided as much as I tried, I couldn't help them!
    Sounds like you had a great weekend! It was hot on the east coast (PA) so I biked my miles inside yesterday and hope to get back out tomorrow. LOVE the pic near the vineyards. You look so happy! Enjoy your week!

  5. THANK YOU for keeping the scale in perspective. You really hit the nail on the head with all of your points.

    You look great on that bike. Glad that you were able to do the last 7 without feeling tired. Pregnancy is agreeing with you.

    Enjoy your class tonight.

    xox from NY

  6. What a great post - The scale was and is evil - It was a cruel invention. However it does keep us in check and there are days few and far between that we are friends. More than anything I just gauge my weight on how my clothes fit that is my true indicator. Once again great post

  7. I've made peace with the scale a while back, but I've been through everything you've talked about, too.

    As always, I loved your pictures! It has to be absolutely gorgeous riding through the vineyards.

  8. Great post! Perfect! I think this little 'break' from actually trying to make the scales go down is going to be a nice time of introspection for you. You'll be able to think reasonably about some of these little quirks that weight loss brings, but away from the everyday onslaught of the journey! And how wonderful for us, to be able to read your thoughts and discoveries through this!

  9. THis was exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. The scale really is only one piece of the puzzle.
    I am so jealous of your weather there. We had rain and weather in the mid 50s this weekend.

  10. Once again, you are so right, Michelle. Thanks for pointing it out that weight is only a part of the whole picture. I loved the part about the other good things done counting for something. I think those daily choices are the REAL progress. I just have to keep remembering that.

    Another wonderful weekend outing. Thanks for sharing it. You look absolutely fabulously healthy and fit!

  11. Right on the money with this! The scale...can't live with it, can't live without it!

    It sometimes seems like we have no control over the scale no matter how perfectly we follow the plan, but we DO have control over how we respond to the number we see each week (or each day!).

    If my weigh in does not go as expected, I quickly (and honestly) evaluate my week - what could I be doing better? More of? Less of? I go through the mental list of whatever factors could be influencing a gain or no change.

    If I think I did everything 'perfect', then I do my best to suck it up and keep moving!

  12. love the pics! and love the 5 things about the scale...I can totally relate right now, especially to your last point that despite it all, the scales still there!

  13. Hi Michelle, the scales have always been my daily problem in predicting my mood for the day.I need to only weight once a week and increase my exercise...

    The next time you feel bad about the numbers on the scale, remember that " Your body is busy performing a miracle"...My best wishes to you and your little one...
    Hugs, Baba

  14. I hate the scale. The scale is evil.

    This year, I have lost 1.5 inches off of each calf, 2 inches off each thigh, and gone from 36 inch trousers to 34 inch trousers (and 32 inch - as long as they're relax cut - jeans). My weight this past weekend is right where I left it at the beginning of the summer.

    While that scale number won't change within +/- 1 pound of where I started in April, resting heart rate, number of times I take the stairs at work, blood triglycerides, blood glucose, my running time and distances? Those all seem to have swung in my favor. :)

    Scales suck. I hate the scale. The scale is evil. The scale is dead to me. Dead, I say!

  15. I hate the scale too. For a while I got rid of ours. But that's just no good, so I had to buy another one. But I keep it in the kids bathroom on the opposite side of the house so that I don't obsess over it. I think I want to get one of those scales with the percentage fat indicator. Or not. It's so confusing.

  16. I divorced the scale years ago and have felt much lighter since then. You're so right -- the information on scales is only part of the story. Not to mention recent studies show skinny people are just as suspectible to health issues as overweight ones. I try to stay "in the middle."


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