There are enough theories on how one should weigh themselves when they’re in the process of trying to shed unwanted poundage that a multi-Billion Dollar industry could be formed in the USA alone. Oh, wait, that has happened!
I’ve never really watched my weight too much. I know when I get down to my last belt hole that I’ve got some work to do – or say mid-winter when my suits are fitting a little bit snug. Either way, when you’re putting in between 5,000 and 8,000 miles a year on a bicycle (or four), weight doesn’t really have much of a chance to get away from you. However, I have an ideal cycling weight and I used to think that was about 165 pounds… then my wife bought me a new scale and I was instantly almost ten pounds heavier. Imagine my horror. I went from 172 to 181 overnight.
I wrote nothing about this on the blog, I just went to work. I know the culprits to cut out. I know where to trim calories and I know what else works:
Over the next two months I set about dropping the weight on the new scale back to 172, and let me tell you, I had to be hungry to do it – this was right in the heart of the summer… Cycling season where I’m averaging about 950 miles a month. I would weigh myself before I got in the shower, and during cycling season I’m taking two showers, maybe even three, a day (they’re exceptionally short, just enough to knock the stink off of me, three to five minutes). That meant I was weighing myself a couple of times, even three times, a day. I noticed a pattern develop over the summer.
I was heaviest in the morning, and I’m going to simply assume you can figure out why. By the time the afternoon rolled around I was three pounds lighter (let’s say one’s body starts working well with a lot of exercise). After a ride, another two lighter (that was sweat). I knew the right weight – the one in the middle.
There was one day in particular that I threw watching what I ate to the curb and pigged out – just one in those months, and the next afternoon I weighed the same 172 pounds, my target weight. The next day I went up to 173 and the following I was up to 175. It wasn’t a fluke either. The day after that I was up to 176… It took three days for that pig-out to hit the scale and two weeks to get it back down.
If I hadn’t been hitting the scale on a twice-daily schedule, say once a week, I could have missed the pig-out hitting my once well-toned posterior. This is a flaw in the “weigh yourself once a week” theory. Say I have an eating problem (I don’t have a problem, I love food) and my weigh-in day is on Saturday. I pig out on Friday, call it a “weekly cheat day” and hit the scale on Saturday. My weight’s going to show up normal. Now, what’s the average overweight person going to think? “Awesome! No harm, no foul!”
The next Friday rolls around and it’s “cheat day” again. Nom, nom, nom… I hit the scale and I’ve only gained three pounds – but I haven’t. I’m six back because I’ve got some reserve fuel in the tank, three pounds worth. The next Saturday I’m six pounds (nine actual) and the dejection begins. From there I could definitely imagine a morbid sense of failure and a relapse into old behavior… because that’s exactly how it worked when I got drunk, yet again.
I’d swear off alcohol for good, yet again (before meetings and a program were a “thing” in my life). A week later something would pop up and I’d think, “Oh, I’ve been good all week, certainly I can have a few beers at my cousin’s wedding. All will be fine“. A couple of weeks later and I’m doing shots in the morning again to keep the shakes at bay and I don’t know how I got there or how I’ll dig myself out of the hole again.
Recovery and weight loss aren’t much different in that respect – and the only thing that I’ve found that works on my weight are a bicycle and the light of day, or honesty. Pure, unpolluted, unadulterated honesty. Choosing to only look at the scale once a week is a way for me to hide from reality the other six. That is honest.
It may not be your honest, but it’s a good idea to shed the light of day on it before you decide how to proceed. Just sayin’.