I have a love-hate relationship with our bathroom scale.
Ok, let’s be honest, it’s more of a “how much do I hate you today?” relationship, with periodic moments of love sprinkled in just to keep things interesting. But I seriously think sometimes that the dratted thing is sentient and just likes to toy with me; this weekend, for instance, I went to weigh in, and it said I’d lost 3 pounds. Hooray! I hopped back on to confirm it (I don’t entirely trust the thing, so I tend to double-check), and the readout went up by 2 pounds, for a new net loss of 1 pound. Boooo. Left the room and grumbled to Moon Man about it; he went and weighed and showed a loss, so I went back in and the readout told me that apparently I’d lost a half-pound during the time it took me to grouch to MM. So according to the scale, my hard work last week netted me somewhere between a 1- and 3-pound loss, unless you count the time I weighed in midweek, when I’d evidently gained 2 pounds.
So, y’know, pooh on the scale. It is either inaccurate, capricious, or an outright liar, and regardless of which of those is the truth, at the very least it means that all its “information” should be taken with a grain of salt (but not right before weighing in, because then it gets all confused by water weight).
The other suggested method of tracking results is via measurements–just grab a tape measure and go to town. But here’s the problem with that plan: the last time we tried it, we realized that things like thighs are not particularly conducive to consistent measuring. They are long, and certainly not stick-straight, so where exactly do you measure? And perhaps more importantly, how do you remember where you measured last time, so you can check the same place next week? We tried the “measure up X inches from the knee for your starting point, and measure circumference there” approach, but that just made the entire process long and boring; we tried the “aim roughly for the same spot” method, but we could never seem to hit the same spot twice, so we ended up doing a lot of re-measuring because occasionally we’d get a number that indicated we’d gained, like, six inches during the previous week. That’s no good. I was >this< close to drawing dotted lines on myself with Sharpies when we finally gave up on that plan altogether.
So this time around I’m telling all the tracking plans to go jump in a lake, at least for now.
Here’s why: I can see my feet. Not consistently, oho, absolutely not. I’m one of those folks who carries the bulk of my weight around the middle, in what would probably be called a “beer belly” on a man (I think the term for women is “apple-shaped”, which to me mostly sounds like I should be tempting all sorts of people out of Paradise), so I haven’t been able to look down and see my shoes in ages. But this weekend I was doing a naked vanity check in the mirror, and realized that not only am I starting to see some progress toward a more hourglass-related shape (a wide and very lumpy hourglass, to be sure, but an hourglass nonetheless), but I am suddenly able to suck in my gut, look down, and see my feet. Right there at the bottom of my legs, where I left ’em. As it turns out, the mirror counts as a measuring device too, as does the fit of, say, one’s pants; so I’m scrapping the others, because I can just look down and see the difference with my own two eyes, and that totally works for me.
And this is very exciting news, ‘Tracters. It means I’m making progress, regardless of what the scale may say about things. It means my efforts are paying off. It means I’m starting to see real results, and while I can’t speak for anyone else, I can say for myself that seeing results is the quickest way to motivate me to keep putting in effort. I have a hard time with the vague idle threats of the medical community, but I can absolutely get behind real, practical outcomes: come to me with something like “Excess weight makes you [random number]% more likely to die of [dire-sounding disease], but losing X pounds cuts that risk in half!” and I’ll stop listening before you finish your sentence, but tell me that “The weight you have lost enables you to see your shoes without a mirror, making you significantly less likely to leave the house looking like a crazy woman”, and we can do business.
So how does this fit into the title of today’s post?
Today, as you probably already know, is Mardi Gras, a day known for celebrations of excess and gluttony. Plus it’s just another Tuesday, which has been Splurge Day around here for ages (we ran into trouble when Splurge Day became an everyday occurrence, instead of once a week). So in theory, I should be spending the day eating everything I can think of, indulging every whim or craving, and generally pigging out.
But here’s the thing: I can see my feet. For the first time in a long time, I can verify, without use of mirrors or contortionism, that my feet do, in fact, exist.
So I doan wanna pig out. I doan wanna eat everything that comes within arm’s reach, and I doan wanna go to the store later specifically to buy as much junk food as I can fit into one cart. I’m sure I’ll have a little splurge later–I mean, c’mon, I’m not a saint here–but I doan wanna see if I can consume the caloric equivalent of the GNP of Spain in a single day.
Instead, I’m going to spend my Mardi Gras laissez-ing my new habits rouler. I made good choices for breakfast, and will make good choices for lunch, and will aim toward good choices for dinner. I will do my exercises, and get my Fitocracy points. Seeing my feet is bon temp enough for me, and I’d like to let that particular bon temp keep on rollin’ as long as it can.
So I think my Mardi Gras this year is going to involve splurging on some extra reps during my workout, and maybe standing in front of the mirror and playing the “suck it in, pooch it out” game a few more times.
…And then it will probably involve some ice cream. Let’s not lie to ourselves.