The Big Breakup

I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship for years, but this week, I found the courage to get out of it.

We’ve all been there. You try so hard to make things work, but time and time again, it’s the same thing. No matter how well your day or week is going, the cold indifference can deflate you in a minute. It can even lead to giving up on yourself all together. The fickleness is maddening and nonsensical. You feel as light as a feather one morning, but the next day, you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Yes, I broke up with my scales. scale

I’ve had a great six weeks. I ate well. I worked out early and often. My face looked thinner. My jeans fit looser. I stepped on the scales expecting to see a fairly good loss. But in six weeks, I’d only lost three pounds. I quickly made excuses for any progress I’d seen – I must just be imagining it, I said – and sunk into a bad place.

Isn’t it just insane how one weigh-in can wreck your day?

I’ve had issues with the scales for a long time. There have been days, especially when I first started at Doctors Wellness Center, that I’d weigh every day — sometimes several times a day. I’ve about gotten it down to once a week, but with this last weigh in, I decided I needed to do something different.

I’ve taken the scales to the basement and placed them on a shelf in our overcrowded office/spare bedroom. No more spur of the moment weigh ins for me. Right now, we’re using it for storage, and the scale shelf isn’t as easy to access as the bathroom or my bedroom. If I get the scales and weigh, it’s going to take some thought and effort.

Just-a-NumberScales aren’t necessarily evil, but relying on them for feedback isn’t the best thing. Weight can fluctuate by several pounds from day to day (or over the course of a single day) without reflecting any actual loss or gain of fat or muscle tissue for many reasons:

  • Hormones. They can add two to six pounds over a three- to seven-day period.
  • Meds. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen as well as steroids may cause fluid retention.
  • Sleep or Lack Thereof. Not getting enough sleep may slow down your body’s ability to burn carbohydrates thus making more glucose available for fat storage and increasing your appetite through rising cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
  • Weather. An overcast or stormy day can actually add several pounds to the scale. Low pressure holds water in your tissues and since our bodies are mostly water, an overcast day can make us gain weight (or fluid).
  • Sodium. Just three shakes of salt, or ½ teaspoon, can add one pound of body weight since one gram of sodium can hold onto 16 ounces (or 1 pound) of water.
  • Digestion.  If your body is still digesting food, you’re gonna weigh more until you go.

I MAY weigh on April 1 – though a weigh-in on April Fool’s Day could be disheartening – and perhaps a monthly basis thereafter, but overall, I’m going to focus more on those non-scale victories. By giving up judgment by scales, I’m hoping that I’ll be more grounded and levelheaded in efforts to be healthier, and yes, lose a little more weight.

Have you ever broken  up with your scales? How often do you weigh? Does a change in the scales – up or down – impact your mood?


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