When I travel, my relationship with the scale is forced to take a healthy step back. At home, our scale sits prominently in our bathroom. Yo...

The Scale & Listening to Your Body

When I travel, my relationship with the scale is forced to take a healthy step back. At home, our scale sits prominently in our bathroom. You don't even have to tap it--just step on and seconds later it registers your weight, precise to 0.2 pounds.

But what is it really telling me that I don't already know? My hydration status? How well I ate yesterday? That my jeans fit me more tightly this week than last? I definitely think weighing myself has been helpful for staying in control of my weight, but perhaps I have overdone it.

When I step on the scale in the morning, I listen to the numbers instead of my body as cues for eating. A low number pops up, and I take that as permission to eat more even when I'm not hungry. A high number, and I start to steer clear of the peanut butter jar. And yet, the number on the scale is not the result of one day of eating, but rather weeks and months of eating.

This week, I've hardly stepped on the scale. I am out of my usual context, and therefore have very little gauge for how much I normally eat. Instead, I am relying on my body to tell me when to eat. When I start to dig into the jar of peanut butter with reckless abandon, I listen by finding something healthy and more balanced to nosh on. And when I'm not hungry at dinner time, I make myself a salad, leaving the leftovers to munch as hunger arises.

Of course, it's a bit of a risk. I do have several weigh-ins next week for racing. I will probably spend some more time on the scale in the coming days. Although my weight is comfortably at the limit, I also know I have to weigh in wearing a relatively heavy unisuit. I'm also expecting an early morning weigh-in, so opportunities for sweating are relatively limited. I had hoped to be enough under the limit that I could avoid the scale, but then again, I think I'd have to be pretty light for it to not be on my mind at all.

Still, my jeans are fitting comfortably (perhaps even slightly looser), and I haven't felt over-fueled. My food choices, with the exception of the entire jar of peanut butter, have all been great. (You can't exactly binge on chocolate when there isn't any.) I'm still getting a bit hungry between meals, which is generally a sign that I'm on track to maintain or even lose some weight.

And, perhaps most importantly, my training has been great. I've felt ready to go for all of my workouts and still had energy by the end. My body has definitely been sore, but between sleep and good eating, I've successfully completed all of the practices. (Ok, I got a bit grumpy at the end of one practice, after nearly 5K of direct, strong headwind.)

The true test will likely come when I step on the scale sometime late this weekend. Hopefully my meals next week aren't all salads and low calorie soups...

How often do you weigh yourself? How do you know what the "right" amount to eat is?

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