Monday, July 18, 2011
Let's Break Some Rules!
Deer Mountain Trail - Rocky Mountain National Park
June 13, 2011
Back in February, when I was spending WAY too much time in the waiting area of doctor's offices, I came across an article in Family Circle Magazine called 6 Diet Rules To Break. I found the article extremely interesting and decided that I wanted to write a post on each of these "rules" in the hopes of getting some spirited discussion underway. I was sorely tempted to "borrow" the magazine especially knowing that I was going to be frequenting this doctor's office for awhile, but I didn't and hoped I'd be able to find the article online. I was successful and as of today, it is still posted online if you want to jump ahead and spoil the anticipation. LOL! I loved the way the article stated the "old" rule, their justification for breaking it and a revised plan. I'll add my two cents worth to each, but it is my hope that you'll chime in with your opinion and rationale behind it. So here we go with Diet Rule #1 To Break.
Words in italics and red print are copied directly from the Family Circle Magazine article (2/11)
Old Rule: Stay off the scale. Don't focus on numbers—instead, zero in on how you feel and how your clothes fit.
Break It: Regularly stepping on the scale is actually linked to better results, according to findings from the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), the largest investigation of successful, long-term losers. Among people who dropped at least 30 pounds and kept them off for a year or more, those who weighed themselves most frequently had the lowest Body Mass Index (BMI). People who slacked off on weigh-ins were more likely to regain their lost pounds—and report a greater loss of control around food—than those who kept up with them. Researchers say getting on a scale regularly is crucial because you can catch (and rein in) a small slipup before it becomes a big problem.
Revised Plan: Step on the scale first thing every morning. But here's the catch: "Use the number only to find out if what you're doing is working," says NWCR researcher J. Graham Thomas, PhD. "Don't let the number determine how you're going to feel about yourself that day." If you're up 2 pounds from last week, scale back on after-dinner snacking or pack your lunch instead of grabbing takeout. Down a pound? Stay the course and keep up with your healthy habits.
Sharon's take on this one: I am in total agreement with this although I know many are of the "throw the scale away" school of thought. And maybe there is some merit to going by how your clothes feel, but for every one I know who doesn't bother with the scale, I can name two who tried that approach and it failed them miserably. It was a nice reinforcement for me to see the statistics from the NWCR backing up the theory that it's better to use the scale as a tool.
The part of this "rule" that I think must become very individualized is how often to use the scale. Like any other tool, the scale can be abused and then become a negative reinforcement rather than simply a tool for measuring progress. I think there is even some wiggle room in the "revised" plan. Maybe you don't need to weight every morning. Maybe a weekly weigh-in at your WW meeting is what works for you. I think the common thread here is finding a regularity that works for you, a method for recording it, a mindset that lets you process the information before letting it go, and then sticking to the routine you've established.
I have a simple EXCEL spreadsheet that I have used since October 1, 2006. I weigh every morning and record the weight on the spreadsheet. At the end of each week, the seven days are automatically averaged and that weight appears in big, bold, red letters. The column beside the average weight is set to tell me if that is a gain or a loss from the prior week. That's what I focus on for a moment as a tool to determine what I might need to do differently the next week. It works for me and has been working now for almost five years. And just in case you wondered, there are NO blank spaces. I weigh every morning no matter how painful it might be!!!
In other news............................. Much was accomplished last week towards getting the work completed in our den, but much remains to be done. At least we were able to cover up the construction work enough for us to use the den this weekend although we'll have to tear it apart again tonight.
Out of somewhere came a brief reprieve in our weather including lower temps and humidity. Yesterday, the sun never made an appearance which was wonderful! Never thought I'd hear myself say that, but the cloudy skies allowed folks to spend a little time outside. Mr. B had an all day board meeting, so I took MIL with me to the farmer's market and we had a great time.
Mr. B finishes teaching his summer school class in less than two weeks and we have another adventure planned for some of the days between the end of his class and the time faculty reports back for the fall semester. Ah, now there's a word I'm loving to say. FALL - can't wait!!! As for the adventure, you'll hear all about it!
The eating is going so great. How can it be so easy one week and so difficult the next? And what is it that changes or flips the switch in our heads that sends us spiraling from days/weeks of effortless healthy eating and the good feeling it generates into what feels like a death spiral of thinking molded bread sounds good slathered with curdled butter? Geez! At any rate, I'm happy to say right now I'm in the pattern of "effortless" and I sure hope it stays that way. No significant challenges this week that I'm aware of and that's the way I like to face a new week!
What are your thoughts on breaking Rule #1? Do you agree with the NWCR that the scale can help keep us accountable in several different ways? What are your "scale" habits?
Look for Diet Rule to Break #2 later this week.