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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why weighing yourself is bad mojo

I was smart enough in high school to figure out that it's bad for your self-esteem to weigh yourself. That's why I made a rule sometime around 9th or 10th grade that I would not weigh myself or attempt to otherwise find out how much I weigh. At the doctor's office, I would stand on the scale, but look up at the wall as the nurse measured my weight and wrote it down in my chart. When I got my driver's license, I told the guy to put 150 lbs on my license. That was probably high at the time, but I really didn't know my weight, and so I was generous in my estimation.

After dealing with the regular struggles a teen faces in high school, I approached my senior year with a renewed sense of self and a great self-esteem, which I cultivated even stronger in college. I finished high school and college without once learning how much I weighed. And really, I didn't need to know the number to know when I was trimmer and when I was lumpier. Looking in the mirror and seeing how my clothes were fitting was good enough.

But then one post-college day in the doctor's office, my attempt at weight-ignorance was ruined by the nurse who measured my weight and then proudly announced it to the world. Oh man, I really was happier not knowing that information, you jerk, I thought to myself. It alarmed me that I was roughly 10-15 pounds higher than my license weight. I hadn't really felt unhappy with my body, but the knowledge of the number planted a little doubt in my self-esteem.

And since then, I've wanted to drop down to my license weight or 5 pounds lower, if possible. That's why I dabbled with the crazy failed snake oil (aka Shangri-La Diet) before and that's why I'm doing Ian's Healthy Eating Diet now. And in order to keep track of my progress, I have been weighing myself once a week. In short, I'm doing exactly what I shouldn't be doing if I want to start feeling better about my image.

Sunday affirmed my negative feelings about relying on the number. I usually weigh myself Monday mornings after I shower, but on Sunday evening, I decided I wanted to see what I might expect to see Monday morning, so I stepped on the scale... and reeled when I saw that I was 3 pounds higher than the week before -- making me one pound higher than my starting weight! That was very depressing, even though I know that weight regularly fluctuates within 2-3 pounds every day from eating and drinking. And then Monday morning, I stepped on the scale again only to find that my regular weight hadn't changed at all -- it was just those delicious bowls of Lucky Charms the night before (and probably part of everything else I had eaten that day)! I made myself obsess and worry over nothing, even though I knew better than to change the time of day that I weigh myself.

So now I'm left with this issue: I want to continue tracking my weight-loss progress on this blog, because for one thing it motivates me to keep trying. But on the other hand, I really think it's better to boycott the weighing, for the sake of reclaiming a positive self-esteem and better acceptance of my body.

It should be enough reward for me to know that I'm trying, and that I'm liking some of the new foods I've been eating, and that I'm enjoying the yoga I've started doing, and that I'm excited to reclaim the positive endorphins that I used to get when I used to bike regularly. (I'm planning to start going to the fieldhouse to bike soon. If I get my act together, I'll hopefully add that to my routine next week.)

So maybe what I'll do is start focusing these diet blogs more on what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, and how I feel I'm progressing, rather than on how much weight I've lost or gained. I really think that, as a woman, and probably even as a man, it's bad mojo to obsess over your numbers. I don't care what my number is, I just want to like how I feel about my body and how sexy I look in my clothings.

So that's the type of thing you can expect to see from now on.

And incidentally, I feel I'm doing pretty well for the holiday season.

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