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!
YEAH IT'S REALLY EASY TO SAY THESE THINGS WHEN IT IS SOMEONE ELSE'S WATER RETENTION!!
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).