Sunday, April 18, 2010

(More Thoughts) On Weighing Oneself

One of the blogs I follow is justjuliebean's "Smoke Yourself Thin". Her approach is quite different than my current one, but not too dissimilar from the successful approach I took during my college days. You can read her blog to find out the details, but the general approach is to eat healthily, avoid overtly unhealthy treats, and to exercise with regularity and diligence. She doesn't count calories, as I did not when I was in college.

One point on which we differ is about weighing ourselves. I don't weigh myself now, and I actually did not back in college either. My sense is that weighing yourself, particularly everyday, carries a strong risk of placing yourself emotionally at the mercy of the scale. That being said, I realize that such a concern is not shared by all. Some people, like justjuliebean, are not emotionally enslaved to the read-out on their scales. It helps them feel in touch with their weight and remain aware and accountable.

Recently, after reading one of justjuliebeans recent posts, I realized one of the reasons why I don't feel I need to weigh myself and perhaps she and others do. I didn't reach this conclusion due to anything she said overtly, but mainly in her summary of her expected path for the immediate future. I don't need to weigh myself because I count calories. Counting calories is not too dissimilar from weighing oneself in that it provides concrete feedback. I have the utmost confidence that my behavior will yield results because I know precisely what my behavior is. If I weren't counting calories, I'd probably desire more concrete feedback about whether or not my actions were having the desired effect.

To me, this is an interesting situation because I think different approaches work for different people, and I'm always curious about why and how various features of a particular weight loss/lifestyle plan appeal to people based on their characters. I think calorie counting tends to be the equivalent of baking a cake and using precise measurements every time to yield exactly the same result and general lifestyle changes and exercise are more of a "toss it all together and hope it all turns out as you hope" style of preparing a cake. One approach almost guarantees the same result every time. The other approach is more creative, but may actually yield a more brilliant result or may simply be a more satisfying approach. In the latter approach, not weighing yourself is a bit like making the cake and never tasting it to see if what you did worked well.

Of course, many people both count calories and weigh themselves, and many of them drive themselves crazy with the scales ups and downs. In the end, I'm guessing it's all about control and whether or not you place it inside of yourself (which I believe I do and people like justjuliebean does) or outside of yourself (as people who compulsively weigh themselves and ride an emotional roller coaster based on scale results are doing).

No comments: