House of Paula

Weighing in on the Scale

Posted on: June 10, 2007

If I were to go by the numbers on my scale, my weight loss journey would be considered a failure by some. If you look at a show like the Biggest Loser – you see people lose a lot of pounds in one week according to the scale. But in my case, you have to look at the pictures and the measurements to gain a true appreciation of how much my body has changed. I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight according to the scale, but I have lost inches.

There seems to be this pervading and perpetuated idea that somehow pounds lost equals success. Yet, in my case, and the case of many others, success can be seen in inches lost. Which brings me to the questions that have been rolling around in my mind. How useful is the scale in keeping people motivated to lose weight?? And by defining successful weight loss in terms of pounds lost instead of inches lost, are we perpetuating a vicious cycle of people who give up on their diet and exercise plans because the scale doesn’t budge?

If I look at my weigh-in numbers in Fitday over the last 5.5 months, I’ve been losing just over half a pound a week for a grand total of 15.4 lbs. The only trend I see is that I have a big drop, my weight comes back up a bit over the course of a few weeks, and then I have another drop. This cycle has been pretty consistent since the start of the year and honestly I doubt I would have seen it if I weren’t being so anal about everything and tracking it in Fitday. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even notice the cycle until a few weeks back when I decided to take the numbers out of my notebook and put them into the program.

For me, the ultimate measurement of my success has been the tape measure and progress pictures – especially since in the beginning, I was replacing fat with muscle mass. While my weight seemed to stay fairly steady, there were drastic changes in my measurements (current loss as of 6/1/07 is 25.875 inches) that were backed up by changes in my progress pictures. If I had not started taking progress pictures, I don’t think I would have stuck with working out because I wasn’t seeing any changes in my weight. For me at least measurements were and are a far better tool to see my progress and that progress is what keeps me going.

My friends on the fitness boards have a saying “Scales are ass.” and in my case they really are. Give me a picture and a tape measure to gauge my progress.

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