February 27, 2013

Weight fluctuations

Everyone has been talking for days about the big storm we were going to have last night. At school, the teachers even sent home extra homework because school was sure to be canceled from the nine inches of snow that we were predicted to get. I could hear it raining all night long, and then this morning, it was quiet. So I looked outside to see the mountains of snow we'd gotten...
Needless to say, the kids were disappointed that they did, in fact, have school today ;)

Yesterday, I was so tempted to run on the treadmill because I was dying to watch some more of Sons of Anarchy, but since the weather was supposed to get bad, I ran outside instead while I was still able to. I felt good, and went farther than I'd planned so that I could be a little closer to my 100 miles/month goal. I was happy I went a couple miles extra, so that Thursday will be a sure-thing to get in my 100th mile.
I was excited to check my ActiveLink and see how many activity PP I'd earned. At that point, I'd already earned 6 PP, and it was only 9:30 in the morning. So the rest of the day, I kept moving as much as possible--cleaning the house, doing laundry, taking extra trips while putting laundry away, etc. Last night, I plugged it in again and saw this:
That extra activity made a huge difference! For the whole day, I earned 12 PP (reaching 204% of my activity goal). Before ActiveLink, I would have counted that run as 6 PP and that would be it for the day. So I'm interested to see how all these extra PP are going to affect my weight. I'm going to eat them and see what happens.

Speaking of weight, today is Wednesday Weigh-in. I was happy to see 131 on the scale this morning...
That's up 0.5 from last week, but I'm not worried about that at all since 131 seems to be my body's "happy weight" that it keeps going back to. On Monday, the scale was up to 134.5(!)--no doubt from all the salty food I ate during the two days before. It was that olive tapenade, I'm sure of it. It's not unusual for my weight to fluctuate a couple of pounds like that after a salty meal.

This brings me to a question I got from a reader in an e-mail last night, and I thought it would be perfect to write about today. She asked, "I'd love to hear your thoughts on fluctuations in your weight now that you're maintaining.  Do you weight yourself daily?  How does that affect how/what you eat?  What weight 'counts' each week, etc."

My mindset over weighing in has changed quite a bit over the past couple of months of maintenance. I've always been a daily weigher, and that hasn't changed. I know weighing every day is not for everyone, but I like to see how certain foods affect my weight (like the tapenade, for example). I know that small fluctuations are normal, and I don't get bothered if I see the scale go up a pound overnight. 

Since reaching maintenance, I still weigh every day, but I only "count" the weight that I am on Wednesday mornings. (I picked Wednesday just because it was the day that I started losing weight back in 2009). Throughout the past couple of months, I've seen numbers as low as 129 and as high as 134.5, but if it's not on a Wednesday, then I don't pay much attention to it.

I don't let the number on the scale affect my eating habits at all (assuming that I'm staying on plan, and not binge eating!). Since I'm doing WW, I just follow the program and trust that my weight will stay pretty steady on a weekly basis. I tend to use my weekly PP in large chunks at a time, so my weight might go up by two pounds overnight, but then I don't have a lot of weekly PP left to do that every day, so my weight naturally goes back down a little.

But I don't look at the scale one day and see, for example, 134, and think, "Oh no! I'd better eat a little less today" or "I'd better cut back on sodium" or something. I just follow the program and trust that my weight will stay fairly steady on a weekly basis.

Here is a graph of my daily weight for the entire month of February... see how it fluctuates each day?
But my Wednesday Weigh-in numbers were much more consistent: 131, 132, 130.5, and 131. 

Maintenance has made me much more relaxed about what the scale says. When I was losing weight, I always used to focus on my Wednesday Weigh-in being lower than it was the previous week. Now, I just follow the program, and my weight is what it is on Wednesday, and I don't stress about it. If it's up a little, I know that's normal. 

Because this is the first time in my life that I'm not actually trying to lose weight, I feel a huge sense of relief. Until December 12, 2012 (the day I reached goal weight), I was always either actively trying to lose weight, or wishing I was losing, or angry with myself for not losing--it was stressful and unnecessary, and I wasted a lot of time thinking about that stuff. Now that I'm not trying to lose, I feel a sense of freedom from all those negative thoughts, and I'm much happier with myself.

It's all kind of hard to explain, but if you've struggled with your weight for your entire life like I have, then you probably understand. I just wish I had been able to reach this place of being happy with my weight before I actually hit goal! But I guess the struggle is what makes it so rewarding to be here now.

If there is one bit of wisdom I can share from all this, it's not to put too much focus on the scale--if you're doing everything right, and the scale isn't showing what you'd like, just trust the process and don't give up! I could easily see 134 and think, "I'm up 3 pounds! This is ridiculous. I might as well just eat ____" (sounds dumb, but that's how I used to think back in the day!) Instead, I just think, "Holy tapenade!" and keep on doing what I've been doing, and trust that my weight will go back to normal ;)


  1. The snow was all west of you! I was on my way to running group last night and ended up stopping and running in a small town I pass though on my way over there because the snow was getting deep! The school district I live in was closed today. We lost power for a few hours early this morning. You got lucky!!

  2. I'm so glad to see that your weight jumps up and down like mine! Makes me feel a little more "normal". :)

  3. This was a really nice post to read. I can relate in that my weight is always flucuating. (Heck, I even dedicated a post to it!) I used to weight all the time before I realized that it's gonna go up and down, and there's no point in getting bent out of shape about it. Thanks girl!

  4. Very inspiring post and a great eye opener for those of us still on the weight loss leg of the journey. It isn't all about the scale. It is about staying the course, the quality of life and our own outlook on it. Thank you for such a great post.

  5. Great post today! I can totally relate to the last part you spoke of. I had been doing great for two weeks, I was trusting the process and not the scale. I weighed at the end of the first week and loved what I saw. Week two was great until I weighed and lost a small amount of weight. Mentally I said "well I might as well just eat! " So that's what I did today. Your post has inspired me to not make this binge last a week or two. I will start fresh in the morning and continue my journey, trust in the process. I may also stay off the scales for a while, it really plays with my head. - Lauren

  6. I love your insight Katie. I'm consistently trying to get my mindset to that same place where I don't give the scale any more power than it deserves. I know that when I eat well and move lots my weight drops. Just trying to keep trusting the process and allow the scale to follow along :)

  7. I am really close to maintenance right now so reading your blog is very helpful to me. When you wrote "I'm up 3 pounds! This is ridiculous. I might as well just eat ____". That is exactly how I feel when I gain. Some weeks i'm so frustrated if I gain that I tell myself "I screwed up might as well just blow it and eat everything in sight!". I weigh myself daily as well but only count Sundays as official. In a way I want to stop the daily weigh in's because I beat myself up if I think I'm gaining. Right now I keep fluctuating between the high 140's and low 150's but I would really like to get to 140. Do you have any suggestions for someone like who gets weak at night and binges on sugary things?

    1. I'm the same way--I love to eat sweets at night! When I first started losing weight, I tried to fight the urge, but quickly realized that didn't work. So I started working a dessert into my diet every single day to eat at night. Not sugar-free Jello, or crap like that, but REAL dessert--a single serving brownie, or large cookie, or a candy bar, etc. Whatever sounded good to me! I could work the calories into my day from the very beginning, so I had the treat to look forward to all day! Now, I do the same thing, but it's been wine and chocolate lately. I have a glass of wine and a Dove Promise every single night, and that's my treat that I look forward to :)

  8. I still wish I had my beginning measurements! That's a great suggestion to make for people just starting out. It's a much better indication of your progress than the scale, where a bit of salty snack indulgence can set someone in a tizzy over some retained water.

  9. I have the same app for tracking my weight every day. It really does help me identify patterns and calm down.

  10. Another thing to keep in mind is that bathroom scales, even the electronic kind, are not particularly precise. That is, if you get on the scale multiple times weighing exactly the same you will get a wide range of numbers. This can play into the "fluctuations" (exaggerating the natural fluctuations which are present even with equivalent net calorie intake) as you don't know in which direction the imprecision is going to be for any one measurement -- but as you've shown, over time you can "factor out" the issue and be more confident you weigh what you see.

  11. Thanks for this post. I totally fell off the wagon last night and weighed myself at the gym this morning to find I was up 3 lbs. I consumed a ton of sodium and just kept to clean eating today, so I'm hoping tomorrow will be back to normal. It's important to be reminded that it is just a number and to keep the goal in perspective, but sometimes I need a blog post as my kick in the butt!

  12. This is so inspiring. There are weight watcher meeting across the street from my house. I am joining Thursday then training for a half in October and a tri in June :)


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