Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kill Your Scale

Do you have one of those friends that makes you think too much? Someone who puts a wrench in your perfectly constructed ideas about the world? I do, and her name is Janie. When she posts I always resist clicking because that link is going to probably lead me to a place where I question everything... and I have laundry and dishes to do... I don't have time to question everything.

But if you know me... you know I click.

Janie is a believer in Health At Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating (IE) and I don't get it. It doesn't fit in my brain. Basically you just accept yourself as is, and for some people that will be fat, and they think they are healthy. Because my fat is symptom of my PCOS, to me fat is bad, always. Fat is messing with my hormones, my hormones are making me fatter and it's all going to kill me so I spend a lot of time fighting the cycle. So to have someone posting links to bloggers who are fat, and not trying to lose weight, and claim they are healthy... AND happy... it blows. my. mind.

I don't find IE shocking. Diets whose purpose is to help you drop weight fast are barely on my radar... like South Beach, Atkins, crazy stuff like the Cabbage Soup Diet (that soup is totally good though)... when I meet someone doing The Zone or anything like that I'm like "OMG... you guys still exist? Please... let me show you to the museum where you belong." We know that crap does not work long term... it'll make you  miserable and sick. But I do believe in finding what kind of diet, lifestyle... whatever... works for you and going with it. Listen to your body. Don't choose a pattern of eating because so and so got skinny doing it... do it because it's what appeals to you and makes you feel good.

But this HAES business... I really don't understand being fat and comfortable or fat and healthy. I want to believe those people (some of the blogs I've read are Dances With FatBody Love Wellness, and Shapely Prose, maybe half a dozen posts from each) are liars trying to fool themselves into feeling good about giving up. That's how much this doesn't fit in my head, that that's the best way I can justify their perspective. And what... I'm healthier for what I'm doing right?

So what am I doing?

I'm eating what I love, lots of roasted veggies, fresh fruit, sweet potatoes, yogurt, beans and quinoa until I feel satisfied.

Working out 6 days a week. Running, yoga, and lifting... heavy. I'm not going to be afraid of muscles. I want to be strong.

I want to lose 40 pounds. I'm weighing myself every morning... and then after I work out... and sometimes after I pee... and then again before bed... and a visualize what I want the scale to be the next day.

yeah... wait for it... I'll get there...

I read this post today and it was a definite tap... tap... face punch moment. Body Love Wellness blogger Golda Poretsky interviewed Biggest Loser season 3 finalist Kai Hibbard on what it's really like on the ranch. It hit me kinda hard because there are times when I step on the scale and think "I'm working so hard, why can't I pull those numbers, or ever half that," referring to the ridiculous losses the Biggest Loser contestants experience. I know it's a show, but I want to believe it's real the way I know my husband want's to believe WWE wrestling is real. But just as my husband argues you can't fake some things those wrestlers do, the contestants can't be faking those results right?

I didn't expect this though:
I didn’t learn how to dehydrate until I got on the ranch. It was every week.  Every single week, this is what a weigh-in would look like: the real weigh-ins were at 10 o’clock in the morning and they were on a cattle scale at the ranch and they weren’t filmed... Most, if not everybody, had cut their water about 24 hours beforehand, if not 24 hours then at least by 5 o’clock the afternoon before.  And then, you would drink coffee if you had anything the night before, because (a) it would clean your system out and (b) it would dehydrate you. 
So after you did the 2 hours of working out in full sweat, sweating off as much as you can, you would go back to the house, shower, blow dry your hair, and strip down to the lightest clothing you could find, which was usually spandex shorts and a sports bra.  Then you’d go downstairs and you’d weigh yourself in and the second you got off that scale you would chug water because you were so dehydrated.
... it was [trainer] Kim [Lyons]‘s first season, and I remember Kim having a conversation with [trainer] Bob [Harper] where she said, and she said it to her team, ‘You know, look, let’s do this the right way this season — no dehydrating, let’s just do it the healthy way.’  And Bob completely agreed to it.  Then, right before our very first weigh in, Kim came over to us and she said, ‘Guys, I’m really, really, really sorry.  I know that Bob and I agreed not to dehydrate our teams, but I’m watching Bob, and if you look right now, he’s dehydrating his team.  And if you guys don’t dehydrate, you don’t stand a chance.  You’re going to get picked off one by one and have to leave.  And that’s when it started.
There's a lot more like this too, I highly recommend you read the posts: part 1part 2, and part 3.

My Biggest Loser envy stopped cold. Bob... reeaaaaally? Bob?!? But all I had to do was remember my trainers that I worked with (as a client then a colleague) years ago. They were really, really nice people, but they admitted to following and recommending starvation diets (less than 1000 calories) and suggested I look into liposuction when I was concerned about my weight jeopardizing my future as a fitness professional. They weren't evil, they just believed the means always justified the ends. Anything was healthier than being fat.
So what... did I become a HAES convert today? No, not yet... because I'm still not convinced that excess weight does not lead to more health issues. And I don't think I'll ever stop pursuing "my healthy weight." I'm listening though.

Kai's closed with this:
"Kill your scale.  It’s ridiculous to measure your worth based on a number in a little box that you get on in the morning.  It’s absolutely ridiculous. "
While I don't measure my self worth with a scale, I do measure my success. I know it's wrong, I know you gain muscle... etc etc... but you aren't going to stay at 200lbs and really change your body composition that much. So I weigh myself to see that I'm doing things right. Compulsively. If I get a high number, I get sad. Food doesn't make me sad, a missed work out doesn't make me sad... but that number does. So I'm not going to weigh myself for a month. The world is probably going to end, and I'll probably have some kind of anxiety over it... but maybe I'll reach some kind of enlightenment... without starving under a tree...


  1. It is such a process isn't it? I only heard of HAES a little over a year ago, & it's taken many months for me to absorb & synthesize all the info I've read & start to form some conclusions on the topic.

    If you haven't already heard of/read it & if you enjoy/have time for reading, I would highly recommend 'The Obesity Myth' by Paul Campos. It's very informative & scientifically rigorous, as well as being very interesting, easy to understand & hard to put down!

    So great to hear about your desire to know & learn & I hope you continue to enjoy knowing more about this topic. Btw, that stuff on The Biggest Loser is amazingly terrifying, & needs to be read by more people. It shows how distorted those shows are, & as a consequence it distorts people's thinking.

  2. Sweetie, I'm 230 built like a brick shit house, training for a marathon-and kicking ass at it,I will add- and I love myself and this hot fat body, madly. I hope you can find the same joy I have, with HAES and IE too. XOXO

  3. I think the bridge between health and happiness is working towards resisting self-destructive behaviors and debunking self-destructive thoughts. Easier said than done I know...

  4. Love=
    Accidentally deleted my big long response! LAME!
    I hope you give yourself a little break though mama. You just had a baby. I find it impossible to lose weight in the first six weeks.

  5. Laeli - two years ago I was running a half marathon and a girl much heavier than me passed me up... on the hill... I was so mad! I had been running a lot time and thought I'd get better as I got thinner, and didn't realize I'd get better as I learned how to run better! Good luck on your marathon!

    Carmelita - Too true.

    Sarah - That's the worst. I've tried breaks... didn't like them.