#57 - The bathroom scale!

I think we all have a phobia of our bathroom scale. Will all my hard work of diet and exercise be reflected on the bathroom scale? Did I lose any weight after that 3 mile run? Will I gain ten pounds from that box of doughnuts I ate yesterday? How many times have you weighed yourself twice in one day, three times, four, ten, more? We all play the bathroom scale dance, repeatedly weighing ourselves and moving the scale around our homes. If I move the scale to the far side of the bathroom, will I weigh less? Or if I put the scale in the hallway, will I see a lower number? Why do we do this to ourselves? Do we really think it's possible to lose weight every single day? It's not!

Aside from this "normal" scale craziness, I have another fear of the scale. Will my bathroom scale hold me? Am I over the limit of my scale? I think for a lot of people 300+ this is a real issue. Most bathroom scales have a weight limit around 300 pounds. When I started this weight loss endeavor I had a really hard time finding a bathroom scale to hold me because I topped the scales at 315 pounds (at least I think it was about 315, but I really didn't have a good scale). I went on a hunt through Target and WalMart, Bed Bath and Beyond and Linens 'n Things. Most of the scales I found had a 300 pound capacity. I finally found a non-digital, traditional dial faced scale that held 330 pounds. I bought it, but I really didn't like the scale. The accuracy sucked! Lean a little to the left, gain 12 pounds. Lean forward, lose 30 pounds. Lean back, and boy o boy, I weighed 180 pounds! Every time I would weigh myself, even if I tried to stand straight and tall and in the same position every time, I would get a different number, usually in a ten pound range. I knew I wasn't gaining and losing ten pounds in a single day, so I knew the scale sucked. I wondered if I was pushing the scales to its limits. The capacity was 330, but I weighed 315 (I think), was my weight really too much for the scale? Or was it inaccurate just because I was at the high end of the weight limit? Or God forbid, was I over 330? I don't know, what I do know is that I was having a really hard time tracking my weight loss. It's really discouraging to cut calories all week only to see your scale tell you you gained five pounds. Argh! I know there are really nice heavy duty scales out there, but they usually cost a pretty penny. I'm on a SUPER tight budget, so a new scale would have to be cheap. But cheap scales suck.

One way I knew I was losing weight was from visits to the doctor's office (getting weighed at the doctor is a whole other story). At least they had a relatively accurate scale, and sure enough, according to that scale I was losing. Then one day I tried one of my old bathroom scales, one that said "ERR" when I used to get on it because I was over the limit. Oh my God, the scale read 298. I was under 300 pounds! Then I compared my weight on this scale to my doctor's scale. Based on how much the doctor showed I had lost I was able to determine that my 'before' weight was about 315 (I think). What a huge hassle to try to keep track of your weight loss!!! Now I'm using my old scale, very happily seeing the numbers go down and down (and under 300 pounds!!!!). I'm pleased with it's current reading of 287. I know it's still a lot, but at least the numbers are now going in the right direction! Down!

This whole scale fiasco made me realize yet another thing I really hated about being fat. I hated my bathroom scale! And I hated that when I was at my heaviest I needed a special scale. I'm not condoning that bathroom scale manufacturers of the world start making bathroom scales hold up to 500 pounds as their standard or anything. I think I'm just angry with myself that I let my weight get this out of control, to the point where I couldn't even weigh myself accurately. But really, did I need a scale to tell me how fat I was? Nope, I think my tight clothes were indication enough that I was fat and getting fatter. When my weight really started getting out of hand, I stopped weighing myself. Denial? Yep! Maybe if I had been weighing myself regularly and been more accountable for my weight, maybe that would have helped me. Nah, probably not. I mean, I knew what I weighed at 200 or 250 or even as I approached 300 and that didn't stop me.

But anyway, now that I can weigh myself relatively accurately again, do I still play all those bathroom scale games? You bet I do! I probably will no matter what weight I am. I just don't know why I think that weighing myself three times in a row will help me lose weight. Third time's the charm? I guess that's my reasoning, however crazy! Do I still hate my bathroom scale? I think hate is too a strong word to describe my relationship with my scale now. Loathe? Despise? Abhor? Fear? Tolerate? Maybe sometimes. But some days I think I like or even love the scale. You know those days! We're so wrapped up in numbers , like clothing size and weight. But really in the end, weight is just a number. Weight doesn't always reflect how hard we've worked. Weight can't reflect how we feel about ourselves. I hope that someday I can put away the scale and just be happy with my healthy self. I really want this journey to be about health and not some elusive number. But for now weight is one physical way I can measure my success.


Teresa Osborne said...

Some days I love my scale, other days I hate it too.
I loved it when I bought it and suddenly I was 2 pounds lighter than I was on my old scale.
But I hate how I can go up or down 2-3 pounds overnight. How could I be 215 one morning, and 212 the next, only to be 216 the next day? I weigh myself the same time, wearing the same thing every day.
I do the same thing as you. Weight myself three times and take the lowest to be right. We have to have some victories don't we?

Kat E said...

I'm currently in scale-avoidance mode...which means I haven't been making much of an (ok, ANY) effort to eat right or really exercise. So I am deathly afraid of my scale. My clothes are all too tight--I don't need the scale to tell me that something has to be done!


I used to hate my bathroom scale, to the point that I threw it away, but now that I'm trying to eat right and exercise to lose weight I've become friends with my scale. I get excited each morning to hop on and see what my number is. Even if I've gone up a little I don't sweat it because I know I will probably weigh less the next morning. It's pretty awesome.

Kimkins Chick said...

I don't obsess over the scale as much as I think too much about and place too much importance on dress sizes. A weight number isn't as important to me as fitting into a certain size...and to the point where I might look good at a bigger size but no, I have to get down into my goal size no matter what...so I understand obsessions with the numbers, whatever they are!

BookishRN said...

I've written some scale laments in recent days, too, and enjoyed your very similar expression of feelings regarding the scale.

Best wishes on your efforts.


MM said...

Just came across you blog and I have to say I find it very entertaining :)
I, Nurse M, also hate my bathroom scale.
I especially hate it after days of absolultely pigging out. I know I shouldn't get on it... I shouldn't even look. It isn't the real number and I will only be disappointed, but what do I do?

Loved this post!

Anonymous said...

I hate my scale, too. I'm in a different weight range from you, but my feelings about my weight are the same as yours. I hate my scale and I hate what it tells me. Why haven't the numbers gone down? Doesn't it know how long it's been since I've had butter or chocolate? I've been counting calories all week! What's wrong with that stupid device! It lies! It lies!

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