Internal Dilemma

Posted: February 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

When the kiddos’ naptime (aka my post-writing time) rolled around I stared at my screen with this dilemma:


The response came in for me on Twitter and Facebook (shameless plug to follow if you don’t already). Verdict = share what’s on my mind. Who am I to deny the answers social media provides? 

I have been facing an internal dilemma.What exactly? The scale. Dun dun dun!!!!

When maintaining my weight or gaining weight for conception and pregnancy I had absolutely no desire to use a scale. It did not matter to me in the least. Now I suddenly feel myself wishing I could have it available to me. Why? Well, I am trying to lose weight. Its necessary to get back to that place I personally feel my best. I sort of miss having a concrete way to know how those efforts pan out. I feel like I am approaching my goals blindly.

Although harder, its still possible to eat enough healthy food calories to inhibit weight loss. I also don’t want to lose too quickly, which can be detrimental to milk supply. And I have no clue if I’m doing either of those things. I fear that I will reach a point where I feel I’m not making progress and will then make unnecessary changes. It’s interesting…I gave up the scale to not have mental games, yet now it seems to be causing even more of those games.

I tell myself the following: I feel confident in my relationship with my body. I believe I could use a scale without getting caught up in the number. I trust that I would use it as a tool and nothing more – simply as a more regular gauge in addition to my clothes and progress pictures, which both take longer to show noticeable progress. I would still do my thing, with minor tweaks when needed and not because I think its time as I may without a scale. I would not focus on reaching a particular number and would never do anything drastic in the name of achieving a number. I would keep the balanced approach I have strived to achieve.

Then, there’s the other side. I know I don’t need a scale to tell me I’m making good choices for my health…and health matters most. I have stated here my belief in getting back in shape scale-free. I would feel like I was letting FFF, and its readers, down. I also feel like I would lose credibility personally. I have other ways I can track progress and focus on. I know that, while I weighed myself weekly after Makenzie, my body naturally returned to its happy place. Although I used the scale to reach my goals, I didn’t depend on it either.

I still don’t know where I end up with this internal dilemma. I want to be true to myself, my beliefs on health and balance, this blog and what it represents above all else. Can the two coexist?

Question of the Evening – What’s your relationship with the scale? Or any thoughts?

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92 Comments to “Internal Dilemma”
  1. It can totally co-exist Tina! You will not let anyone down OR lose credibility. The reason why your readers love you is because you are so honest, and tell it like it is, in a very thoughtful way. Scale or no scale it doesn’t matter to me, I’m here to read about your journey!

  2. Tina,
    I think you have to do what you feel in your heart is best for you. You know what you need, and if you need a scale to gauge things then do it! I do not believe you would be letting any of your readers down (not me if that counts) and the facts that you are being honest and open about it says more then you know. All things are good in balance and if you aren’t obsessing over it then its a good things and can motivate and inspire you. I have a scale and I use it..I like to know my weight and its fluctuations. I think the key is not worrying over it, but using it as one of the many tools to a wholesome balanced life 🙂

  3. Life changes, and so do our needs and desires, and even something seemingly so silly as having a scale to track your progress… if it will give you peace of mind, go for it! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. 🙂

  4. I don’t think you would use credibility, especially for the reasons WHY you are using it. You aren’t going to allow the number to get you worked up, but rather use it as a tool. I say go for it, if it’s going to make you happy and put you at a little more peace of mind. Just my two cents. 😉

  5. I have learned to use the scale in a good way. I still weigh myself once a week. And yes, it helps that I don’t “need” to see the numbers decrease anymore (50# ago I did). But now I use it to determine if I am gaining muscle. If inches are lost, and the scale stays the same, or increases even, then I am gaining muscle. Ps. You wouldn’t lose any credibility with me, if you use the scale. Just so you use it as a tool and not a measurement of your lifestyle.

  6. I think it makes sense to use the scale as a tool. And I don’t think that makes you lose any credibility! I use mine once a week, and it’s really a tool to check in with myself–to get real with myself about the work I’m doing or not doing.

  7. since there are bigger things involved than just losing weight, you should do what is best for you, and not worry about it. it sounds like your attitude about it will leave room for them to absolutely coexist!!

    you will not be letting anyone down or lose credibility!

    I have a scale, but only because Jason “brought it with him” oh so many years ago! 🙂 I rarely use it, because I am totally comfortable, except recently when I gained A LOT from a treatment my doc put me on.

  8. I don’t own a scale and haven’t been on one in quite a while. Really the only time that I get weighed is at the doctors office. I kind of like not knowing, because if I know then I tend to obsess about it. I try hard to not thing about my weight per se but to focus more on making healthy choices daily that create a healthy lifestyle. This is just me and the way things work for me. I know lots of people who weigh themselves daily and do not have obsessive thoughts about losing weight if they gain a pound or two. However, in the past I’ve really struggled with restrictive eating and then binges, and oftentimes if I would step on a scale and see that I’d gained a pound I would go into a restrictive/binge phase. It sounds that you are really confident that you will use it as a tool though, and I think if you feel that confident then it shouldn’t be a problem :).

  9. Kari Moore says:

    I’m with you! Just had a baby in October 2010 and am working out to get back to my pre-pregnancy body.

    Your self-worth doesn’t rely on the number you see on the scale. It’s simply a reference point!

  10. Do what’s best for YOU! I know for me, a scale doesn’t bother me and I use one a couple of times a week, but I stress myself out if I track my eating like at – always trying to make sure I don’t go above my calories…even if I’ve been working out extra hard or if my body is calling for the extra fuel. I’ve stopped using those sites, but I know they’re great tools for thousands of other people. Bottom line – you know your mind and body best. Use whatever tools are helpful to you and you definitely won’t have any judgment from this girl! 🙂

  11. Therese says:

    I think you really will know if you’re losing weight too quickly given that you feed your sweet boy 8+ times a day and the pediatrician monitors HIS weight gain and knows if he’s getting enough (as if a newborn won’t tell you he’s hungry sooner)! You were really committed to not using the scale, but it does sound like you are in a better place now…

    If you’re looking for a compromise between your promises to yourself and your desire to have a concrete measure, you could either go my hip, waist, arm, and leg circumferences, or you could have your husband or a trusted friend make note of your weight tomorrow morning, and just watch you get on the scale once every week or two and tell you if your weight has gone up or down.

    This is such a personal topic, and only you will know if your heart will sink when you step on the scale, no matter what the number.

  12. I have done both and I think since I stayed away for a while, my relationship is not reliant on what the number is, but more of a guide. It is a tool and you should feel confident using it as such. I have a range, not a number that I want to stay at. That is part of being healthy. An exact number is definitely a mind game. Weight ranges normally. Do what you feel comfortable doing!

    • Tina says:

      I know if I did use the scale I would not use it with a specific number in mind. I would just use it to see if progress is still happening. Then, when it stops and I would have to do anything crazy to get “further” I would know my body is at a good place and I don’t need to push it.

  13. Heather says:

    I have a horrible time facing the scale. I’ve actually been wanting to post on this for awhile now. I know it’s just a number, but it’s still a number. However, the scale keeps me accountable. Everybody is different, though, so you have to do what’s best for you. I hope you find out what works for you – good luck!

  14. I think you have to do what is right for you, and what you feel will help you the most. Personally, scales mess with my mind- so I am inclined to tell you to try your best without one. But we are all different, and if you trust yourself to use one, you could always make yourself stop/throw away the scale if it is getting to be too much. I think it would be nice to see you achieve your goals, but you wouldn’t AT ALL lose credibility or respect in my book. 🙂

  15. Cynthia says:

    Personally, I have given up using the scale. I did that mainly because I got too obsessed with the numbers. I do try to count my calories when I can to make sure I’m not eating too much or too little. I do this because I am trying to lose weight also. I decided to use other tools to measure my progress (such as how my clothes feel). That being said, I certainly don’t judge anyone who chooses to use the scale to measure my progress. I don’t think it would take away from your healthy living lifestyle to use the scale.

    • Tina says:

      See, that’s my other thing. I could see myself trying to focus on calories and what I think I should be eating to lose weight. I could become way more easily obsessive with that. We each have our things I guess.

  16. Tina, I do not at all think that you will lose any credibility with your readers if you do decide to use the scale. That being said, I broke up with my scale because I couldn’t see myself for anything other than the number that I saw. I think you have to walk a fine line, but it sounds like you have a firm grasp on your feelings towards it. I think only YOU can know what the right thing is. Pray about it, see what you feel like the Lord is saying, and then go with it. You’ll be blessed for your obedience (scale free or not).

  17. Caree says:

    I totally have had a relationship with the scale in the past. However, as I am learning to eat more of the right foods and have been consistently working out.. I now go off by how I feel. Girl, no matter what you will b losing weight bf, eating healthy, and working out. I would just listen to your body–if you are hungry then u should eat something healthy for baby b.

  18. I may not be the best person to give input on this subject because I weigh myself every morning. I know it is not a healthy behavior! But, I definitely think the two can co-exist because I can tell you have a healthy mindset about it. I don’t think you would be letting anyone down!

  19. You know my relationship with the scale:

    However, that’s just MY relationship with it, not everyone’s. I think you should trust. I think it’s your word for the year (if I remember correctly). You treat your body right and do all the right things you should be doing as a new mommy. I know you’ll get down to that happy weight no matter what, with the scale or not. However, you need to do what’s best for you!

    • Tina says:

      That’s where I’m torn. Is using the scale meaning I don’t trust my body and I’m trying to seek control? Or is my gut that is telling me I’m honestly at a place I can use it without issue and that it will be helpful as a tool right? GAH!

  20. We have a scale, but I don’t know where it is to be totally honest. I know, for myself, if I weighed myself everyday or even once a week, it would be very bad. I occasionally check at the gym, but I really try to just exercise and eat for health and energy.

    That being said, I’ve also never had a baby, so I can’t even begin to say what I would do in that case. That being said, do what’s right for YOU.

  21. i think you can use a scale without losing credibility! personally, i use a scale because it motivates me to see it go down. but i still focus on health and celebrate other improvements too, like being able to run faster or father or life heavier weights, etc.

    do what works for you. no one would think less of you!

    • Tina says:

      That’s how I’m feeling. I think I’m at a place where it won’t control how I feel about myself but could give the benefits of extra motivation, accountability to check in with myself, etc. I won’t lose sight of other things though either. That’s so important.

  22. I used to be scale obsessed so I can understand why you wouldn’t want to get to that point.

    But your reasons for wanting to use it aren’t bad and I don’t think will lead to unhealthy habits.

    The two can coexist and your desire to get back to your happy place healthily is fantastic. You won’t lose credibility at all.

  23. Lauren says:

    I don’t think you would lose credibility. I weigh myself occasionally, but whenever I notice my thoughts revolving around the scale, I switch to other methods and focus on my health.

  24. lindsay says:

    I don’t think you lose credability at all! I don’t own a scale but I will check it at the gym ever so often. I think if you use it as a check up, its all okay.

  25. Lee says:

    I think using a scale is fine. As long as the number doesn’t dictate your mood, a scale is a great tool for weight loss. I don’t think you will lose credibility. There is nothing unhealthy about measuring your weight.

  26. i personally dislike the scale, but i do get on it every once and a while just to make sure i’m on track. i don’t think there’s any reason why you can’t use the scale. you seem to have thought through all the pros and cons and have a good sense that you’ll be able to use it with control. and who cares if you said before that you wouldn’t use it. things change. i say do what’s best for you. don’t worry about letting other people down. what’s the point in having a blog and being brutally honest with readers, like you are, if you’re going to sit back and wish you were doing something you’re not? your readers will support you no matter what 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Thank you for the part about what’s the point in being honest if I’m doing something differently than what feels right to me at the time. I appreciate it greatly.

  27. Heather I. says:

    You wouldn’t lose any credibility in my mind if you used a scale. You know yourself best! If you ever start feeling like a slave to the scale, then put it away for a time. It sounds like you won’t have that problem, but it’s always nice to have a mental back-up plan just in case 🙂

  28. I weigh myself weekly and have been for years. It’s only a tool I use to ensure I am maintaining my weight. I don’t think anything else of it and I don’t base my happiness on it. It’s just a tool…that’s it!

    Knowing you, I think you can use one in smart way and not get caught up in it.

  29. Melie says:

    Oh my! It looks like I am the last person on the face of the earth (at least on the face of the blogs) to be still using a scale. So, I don’t feel that using a scale is by definition bad, as long as it doesn’t scale to obsessive behaviors. You made a decision some time ago about not using the scale after baby B is born but things changed and you re-evaluated. I don’t think you lose credibility, if for no other reason than the single thing that you are being open and honest in your track of thought and your decision or change thereof. What matters is that you are happy and healthy! That’s my opinion at least! 🙂

  30. Kirsten says:

    Just tossing it out there… a friend of mine has a scale but when she finds that she is focusing on it too much or that it is affecting her mood, she sends it away with her hubby. He will lock it in the truck of his car until she asks for it to come back in.

    You could always try something like that. I understand why having one would be beneficial to you right now. If you find that you’re slipping into old feelings or routines, you can banish it out of the house.

    • Tina says:

      That’s what I’m thinking about doing. I would not keep it around if I felt any semblance of old behaviors coming back.

  31. Helen says:

    I feel that if you decide to use the scale you will not lose your credibility. All of your readers know you and the honesty you bring with you to your blog. I think you should do what you feel is the right thing and the best thing for you. As long as you are not letting the scale control you, all should be fine 🙂

  32. There was a time that I was obsessed with the scale. I’d get to excited about a .5 pound weight loss that I’d skip around my room. So I gave it up cold turkey. Now that I feel like I’m in a better place, I do weigh myself. It’s pretty much just a curiosity check and I don’t get hung up on it. Even when its more than what I expect or want. Somehow, it just doesn’t bother me. Sounds like you are in the same place as well, so I say, just bring it out and see how you feel about it when you starting using it 🙂

  33. I think using multiple tools to gauge your weight loss is fine. I think I primarily use how my clothes are fitting to gauge how I am doing, but I also use the scale. I normally weigh myself once a week or once every two weeks. But I am only trying to maintain my weight. I think I would probably weigh myself more often if I was trying to lose weight. You don’t lose credibility if you decide to use your scale. You are honest, sincere, and a girl has the right to change her mind!!

  34. I used to be obsessive about weighing myself and would step on the scale probably 3-4 times a week. I would wake up feeling great and skinny and I would step on the scale looking for confirmation that I was allowed to feel skinny. More often than not, the scale would show I was up a pound or two, therefore, I wasn’t supposed to feel skinny.

    When I came back from vacation at the beginning of January, I found out that the batteries had died in my bathroom scale. I totally freaked because I knew that I had put on weight over Christmas and I knew that I wanted it to come off. How was I supposed to know how bad the damage was without my scale? I made the decision not to replace the batteries and take a break from my relationship with my scale.

    I decided that by not evaluating myself by a number, I would learn to look to other cues like how I feel and how things fit. It’s hard because there are periods where my eating isn’t great for a few days, and I want to weigh myself to see how bad it really was. Or there’s the opposite where I eat and exercise great, and I want to see the number reward for being so good.

    I understand you dilemma is hard because you’re dealing with pregnancy weight and also have to worry about keeping up your milk supply. I think you have great instincts and will get to your goal weight in your own way and on your own schedule. However, if you do decide to let the scale back into your life, I think you should create a limit of how often you weigh yourself. If you do it say every 2-4 weeks, you can keep your focus on long term goals rather than become obsessive of how your weight my fluctuate on a daily basis. Good luck!

    P.S. This is definitely the longest comment I’ve ever left on any blog!

    • Tina says:

      And thank you for leaving it! It really helps hearing someone’s perspective who has faced the same thing. I know for sure that the most often I would weigh would be once a week. But we’ll see what even happens. I am seriously so torn.

  35. Becca says:

    I have to agree with pretty much everybody else who’s already commented: do what’s right for you, and if you use a scale, it’s a reference point. As long as you aren’t allowing it to control you, I think you’ll be fine!

    Remember, scales measure weight, not worth. 🙂

    I personally don’t use scales much. The last time I stepped on a scale was probably last week or the week before. This is partly due to the fact that until last month, I’d been using the basement bathroom, which doesn’t contain a scale. But it’s also the fact that I just don’t really care. And when I do start to care about my weight, I remind myself that I’m at a normal range and don’t need a scale to tell me that. Sure, I could stand a little toning and probably some strengthening (though lifting boxes at work helps), but I’m not going to fixate on the numbers.
    I guess for me personally, it’s kind of like my makeup thing—I don’t want to become too dependant on it for self-worth and stuff.

  36. I really think that as long as you don’t get caught up in the numbers (and you seem sensible enough that I know you won’t) a scale is a really valuable tool in losing and even maintaining weight. But maybe if you don’t want to use a scale, you could take measurements with tape around key areas: thighs, tummy, arms, etc and gauge your weight loss that way?

  37. Michelle says:

    I don’t own a scale – pretty much for the reasons you have listed. At one point in my life I was obsessed with weight and would not eat/eat based on what it said.

    Since my first pregnancy I stopped worrying about what the scale says (for the most part) because I know that it doesn’t always tell the REAL story.

    I DO weigh myself, but it’s usually once or twice a month and it’s in a public place (either the gym or at Publix). Why public? So I can’t stand there and over analyze. You never know who’s looking over your shoulder! I’m sure this seems nuts to people who see me weighing myself, but it keeps me from playing games. I do loose A LOT of weight when I first start nursing, so this all started because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t loosing too much.Now that I’ve gained it all back (and I’m at a very healthy weight), I check to make sure I’m not going overboard on the eating. I can generally TELL because of how my clothes fit – but running definitely increases your appetite and it’s very easy to gain (unnecessary) weight. If anything, now when I weigh myself and I’m surprised/not happy with the number it reminds me that I need to make better choices when eating. This was not always the case, so I’m glad I have a much better relationship with the scale! It’s definitely NOT where my happiness lies.

    PS – I do think that it’s something that you should occasionally check though — like blood pressure, cholesterol etc. It can be a indicator of a bigger problem that you are unaware of!

  38. I use a scale as one of the tools to measure progress- but try to focus on how my clothes fit, how I feel, and the amount of effort I’ve been putting in. I have chosen not to own a scale so I can avoid getting obsessed, but I use the ones at the gym as I feel necessary.

    If you decide to include the scale as one of your gauges I think you’d definitely represent it positively and not an obsession.

  39. Hallie says:

    Well…I didn’t read through comments (sorry, you have a zillion commenters! I’m a tad jealous HAHA) but I think if you promised yourself you’d only weigh once a week until you reached your goal, you could use it without making yourself crazy. I mean, the weight should come off pretty steadily, at least at first right (keep in mind I have no idea what I’m talking about, really)? So then the scale would be affirmation of what you already know you’re doing right. I’m weighing about 2x a week now, and I don’t love it but I also know I do better with some sort of accountability to the scale as I do have real weight to lose, and while the scale frustrates me most of the time, not getting on it is probably worse…

    • Tina says:

      If I did it would certainly be no more than once a week for the accountability factor.

      And I never read through comments either…on other’s sites. Definitely do on my own. LOL But yea – on others I can’t. There’s barely time to read the blogs!

  40. Leianna says:

    I’m going to be completely honest here which is hard but struggling with disordered eating for the last 8-9 years and just having a baby 4.5 months ago I look at the scale more than most people would want to know or count a day!!!!
    I’m 100% dependent on that number several times a day and use it in a bad way but everytime I try to stay away from it I gain weight.
    It keeps me healthy and on track with weight but it also makes me lose my mind!
    Either way you have to chose upfront what you really want out of that number on the scale?

  41. I used the scale often when losing weight, use it only now and again to check in!

  42. Allie says:

    Thanks again for your honesty :o) Great post! If you feel like you want a scale maybe try using one at your gym? No one likes to let their worth be determined by a number and I know you are a big advocate of that but if you want to check your progress I believe that is only human and go ahead! It IS your body and YOUR weight loss plan 🙂 No matter what, I know you are going to make the right choices. I don’t use a scale unless I am trying to gain weight haha :p

  43. Heavy topic….I think you should do what feels right. I stopped weighing myself long ago-it just wasn’t worth the irrational angst it caused. You birthed a gorgeous baby not long ago–maybe be gentle with your body and give yourself some more time?

  44. I need some measure of progress. Whether it’s the scale, measurement tapes, photos, etc… I need something to “prove” that what I’m doing is effective. I have a hard time going at it blindly! I don’t think you’ll lose credibility. It’s what works for you.

  45. Jess says:

    I agree with everyone who has posted thus far – you know your body, Tina. You know your beliefs. You know how to maintain balance without going off the deep end (numbers wise). Trust yourself. If it’s telling you that the scale will help you near-term to make sure you’re doing the right things for your body, then by all means, use it. Doesn’t mean you have to use a scale forever, just for a little while to make sure your body is getting back to its happy place. Who knows, once you get going, you might realize you don’t need it afterall but the near-term reassurance of the scale may be just what you need.

    While I am one who avoids the scale because of the mental havoc it wreaks for me, I’m not sure how I’d handle post-pregnancy weight loss. I might need the scale too, just to make sure things are going in the right direction, too.

    • Tina says:

      Thanks, Jess! I like how you bring up it can always change…I can see how it goes using it and if I need it now, its just for now. Not forever.

  46. Do what is best for YOU. If concrete goals help, get on that scale. If you can achieve your fitness goals without, then don’t use it. I think a lot of times “heath” bloggers get so caught up in being “PC” with weight management (for lack of a better term) that they aren’t true to their actual beliefs.

    For me… my scale ran out of batteries and it took me MONTHS to replace it (special sized battery = laziness going to whole new heights 🙂 ). I did replace the battery last week (finally)… and I discovered – for me – the scale is like a habit I grew out of. I’ve only been on the thing one time.

    It just doesn’t affect my health-related choices/how I feel about myself.

  47. I haven’t used my scale in a month. I know I’m at a healthy weight but could be a few pounds heavier than I’d like to be. I only weigh myself when I’m feeling good about myself and feel good in my clothes.

    The way I think about it is if I feel good in my clothes then a number on a scale doesn’t matter! 🙂

  48. I think the scale is good to see where you stand — but it does not define you. I think you have a good attitude about it, but to me, it does come down to the scale, since (for me at least) that progress usually shows more quickly than inches lost, etc.

    I do weigh myself once per week, just to see where I’m at. But I’m also experimenting a bit with my diet so I want to see when I gain, when I lose, when I maintain, etc.

    • Tina says:

      Yep. Scale always shows me progress quicker than others. That’s why I think it could be helpful in addition to the other things I plan on doing.

  49. Mellissa says:

    I weigh myself every few weeks at the gym, I don’t own a scale at home. I just go by how my clothes are fitting and how I feel.

  50. I weight weekly and only weekly. I weight first thing in the am, after I pee and nekkid. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down and sometimes its the same. I also take measurements weekly (for most times than not when the scale doesnt move, the inches do!).

    I do use the scale as a tool to see if i need to MOVE more or eat LESS

    Other than those two, the darn thing can stay at the bottom of the linen closet.

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