All this talk of scaling got me thinking about the other scale in my life. This particular scale has ranged from a piece of equipment just calmly sitting in my bathroom gathering dog fur to the bane of my very existence with me cursing at it regularly to a tool that can supply some type of data on this journey to health.
In my (sordid) youth, the scale was generally a piece of equipment that calmly sat in my bathroom. I purchased one when I first moved out on my own because … well …. it seemed an adult thing to have in the bathroom. I would occasionally step on it, note the number for approximately 0.06 seconds and move on with my life. I don’t remember ever being concerned with the number. That number started to have meaning in ROTC because at that point, I was lifting weights and the Army told me that for my height (5’3.5″ – the half is important, but that is another story), I should weigh no more than 127 pounds. So the fact that I was muscular was somewhat concerning because my weight was going UP and when I hit 125, I really had to worry about what I had to eat or drink before going in for official weigh-in’s.
Fast forward a few years to marriage, kids, graduate school, new career and not exercising and the scale became the bane of my very existence. I stepped on it every morning and every night. If the number fluctuated (Hello! I’m a woman…of COURSE the number fluctuated), I would curse, scream, cry, cajole, and plead for the number to go down. Which it rarely did (cookies, ice cream and beer were not helping matters). The scale became the a$$hole in my bathroom who wasn’t my friend at all! In fact, I felt it was especially mean to me.
Enter P90X and more mindful eating. I started losing weight and the scale became my friend again, but only because it was doing what I wanted it to do, namely … go down. Enter plateau and CrossFit. I have finally come to the realization that the scale is a number. That number will go up and down, depending on the day, what I’ve eaten, my water intake etc etc. For me, that number can fluctuate 10+ pounds between any two given days. But being a data-driven, sciency geeky type, I have learned the value of paying attention to that number and the general trend it represents.
And I think there’s the rub that many people (women especially) don’t get. Your value isn’t that number. It’s just a number. A snapshot of one measure at one point time. One data point. Any scientist will tell you that one data point means nothing. Data requires a SET of points, and the larger the set, the better. Besides, it’s also just one type of data when it comes to health. One of the things that CrossFit has taught me is that how I feel about what I can do is far more important than this one particular type of data. Throw away the scale if you want to; but, for me, the scale is back to being this piece of equipment in the bathroom. I step on it occasionally, note the number for the general trend that is happening and move on with my life.
I’m no longer concerned with getting my body weight to 120 pounds, but getting my clean and jerk ABOVE 120 pounds!