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That Numbers Game...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

WELL it was bound to happen eventually! 26th weigh-in, and for the first time since the beginning of January, I have recorded a "gain" on the scale.

I guess I am human after all! I have to say, I was really starting to wonder when the Scale Day of Reckoning was going to arrive - 25 consecutive weeks of loss does seem somewhat miraculous (no matter how hard I worked for it - other people work just as hard as I do, yet fight regularly with The Scale - oh, Scale, you are so fickle with your attention, so cruel!)

And here it is - my first "gain." Now, I KNOW it isn't an actual gain of FAT. That would be impossible. Since my last weigh-in, I've eaten at "maintenance" levels for 4 days (1800-2000) and "reduction" levels for 3 days (1300-1500). No fat stores have been created. Some may have been depleted. Yet the stable-to-loss status of my underlying body mass has been masked by Normal Fluctuations in Water Weight.

Yep, summer hit, it got hot, and I puffed up like a water balloon held too long over the tap, my body swelling in preparation to defend against drought and dehydration. My fingers, hands, ankles are visibly puffy. I can FEEL the swelling when I clench a fist. I have felt like this ever since last Monday.

Mid-week, I felt curious about what havoc this was going to wreak on the scale. And against my "once a week, first thing Saturday morning" rule, I stepped on, on a hot Wednesday night. At the peak of my sweaty wishing-my-house-had-aircon misery, after gulping down yet another cup of water. At that point, the scale said ONE NINE NINE. I leapt off as fast as I'd stepped on, and wished I hadn't succumbed to my need to know where things stood between the scale and I. Rationalizations immediately followed. "You just drank a 12-ounce glass of water - that's 3/4 of a pound right there!" "It's evening, whereas you always weigh in the morning - probably explains another couple pounds right there!" "I bet you ate sodium! I bet you did! And I know you drank an alcoholic beverage! No wonder you're so puffy, serves you right!" So, much chagrined, I turned my back on the scale and waited for the weekend to come.

Thursday - still hot. Still puffy. Uh oh. This water retention nonsense might not be over by the weekend...

Friday - a gracious break in the weather, more tolerable temperatures - but still puffed up like a marshmallow over a campfire. Plus Friday night out, a restaurant dinner and wine. Oh dear... 12 hours to weigh in, this is not going to be pretty. Quick, how to fight water retention? Oh, of course, better hydration! *Guzzles copious amounts of water before bed; not the best idea if one is looking for an uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep, but, I digress*

Saturday. Sigh. I feel more "normal" than I had on Wednesday, but... well fine, let's just get this over with. Yep, as suspected, "up 2 pounds from last weigh in."

- Oh no! This means i've only lost a net 2# over the last 4 weeks!
- Oh no! This means I've reversed the losses of the past 2 weeks completely, and then some!
- Oh no! This puts me totally off-target for my Sept 1st goal!
- Oh no! Does this herald A Plateau?!
- Oh no! Maybe I shouldn't have had those "maintenance level" days!
- Oh no! Maybe I should question how accurate my counting has been! What If I've been underestimating by a hundred calories or so, per day!
- Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!!!!!

Alright - I KNOW THIS IS CRAZY-TALK. I know it's unfounded, reactionary, and just plain stupid. I know it does me zero good, to think this way. I KNOW how "normal changes in water retention" affect The Scale - I've pointed it out to countless other panicked "gainers" in the forums, time and time again, there-there, it's just water! There-there, it will resolve on its own in a week or two! There-there, based on what you ate, you'll have experienced actual fat loss, it's only temporarily masked! There-there, sodium, alcohol, hormones, heat! Worry not!


At the end of the day, though, I just have to laugh at myself and my crazy-talk and celebrate the fact that I am "normal" with successes and challenges and good days and bad days and motivational thoughts and silly thoughts just like anyone else. I have to laugh at myself and my reaction to The Numbers and my immediate need to start playing with those numbers, rationalizing those numbers, as if Numbers were the be-all and end-all, as if nothing else meant anything, as if Winning at the Numbers Game were my actual goal. It isn't. I know that. So why such an internal drama? Who knows. I will laugh until the anxiety passes, and then I will laugh some more.

And next week I will slay that scale! (I mean... *cough*... what I meant to say was... if the number on the scale mattered, I would... but it doesn't... so... what will be, will be).

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This made me smile........Thanks for putting into perspective. emoticon The heat & humidity has me all screwy. puffy then I drink water depuff and it seems an hour later I'm all puffy
    2514 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Sounds like You have Water Weight Gain. Stay on Track and When your Hands, Feet and Legs goes back to normal the Water Weight will go too. I would Laugh about it the whole thing too. God Blessings to You and Everyone. Have a Wonderful Lord's Day. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2517 days ago
    I feel your pain! the hard thing I think, is just that you need to get into the mindset that this is a lifestyle, not a diet, and you have the rest of your life to get through this - you'll make that progress and if it takes you a couple weeks past your 'goal date', it shouldn't be a big deal. Easy for me to say, but not so easy for me to do either ;) Love the way you articulated what we all feel at one time or another!!
    2518 days ago
    keep up with your healthy habits, watch the danger foods, stay hydrated , stay cool and rejoice knowing that the numbers go up and the numbers go down and you have taken control of the things that you can. your feet will lose their affinity for hoarded water once the temperatures stabilize
    2518 days ago
    It's funny how it totally doesn't matter what our intellect says --- there is still an instant emotional reaction to that little set of numbers between our toes.

    Sorry to hear that the heat got you, but it's reassuring to know that even Superwoman has her human moments!

    Enjoy the laughter, and the rest of the weekend!
    2518 days ago
    How much salty foods did you eat .If your swelling dose not go down check it out by a doctor water should not make you retain water,
    2518 days ago
  • no profile photo SHARONCAPPS
    Don't worry about it. Summer water retention is normal and you know you are still doing good. If you are eating right and doing your exercise then all is well. Don't over think it.
    2518 days ago
    emoticon don't worry about a little weight gain.
    2518 days ago
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