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N(o) S(cale) V(ictory)!

Thu, May 26, 2011

MizFit Muzings

Please to read this post as merely my experiences and thoughts.

Im an avowed NON-WEIGHER (I encourage you to take a moment & skim that post if you havent before so you know where Im coming from).

It’s what works for me.

I weigh once a year, at the doctors, needed or not.

I do “say” I have a pair of jeans I use as a barometer (they should totally fit without my needing to be UBERactive or ANYkinda”dieting”)—-but to be completely candid I havent yanked those out of the closet in eons.

In fact Im not even sure I own them any more.

If Im honest with myself I know when Ive gained a few pounds and, as long as the weight-gain is in joy and not in feeding a feeling, Im pretty damn ok with that.

If Im feeling as though Im not ok with it (read: wanting to shed the excess el bees) I simply pay a little more attention to my PLAYouts & (*gasp*) perhaps add in a modicum of work/ratchet back the play a tad.

(that would be the plan anyway. These days at 41 & 10 months I’m just happy to be here & healthy.  I may be a little too filled with self-acceptance —flaws and all—but you’ll have that as you age or I hope you do, too.)

But I digress.

What I really wanted to share is this story:

A few weeks ago the Tornado & I went to visit a friend at her new house.

After a we played for a while the Tornado needed to pee pee potty use the restroom.

We went into the master bathroom and, after exploring my friend’s treasures for a bit, she spotted something on the floor.

“What’s that mama?” I heard her ask.  “Is that what you step on to get into the shower?”

I looked over to see what she was pointing to and saw that it was a bathroom scale.

In that moment it occurred to me (truly as a shock) she’d never ever seen one before!

She’s been weighed at the doctors office.  She’s been with me when Ive been weighed at my doctors office.

Neither of those scales look like the kind my friend had for (finger quote) home use (un FQ).

Thankfully, in her inimitable pre-schooler way, she was off and breaking stuff exploring my friend’s counter top-treasures before I could decide how to respond to her.

Should I tell her some people like to weigh themselves more than one time a year?

What reasons should I give and would she, too, want to own a scale for home?

You know what—–I just left it at that.

It seems these days that childhood is so ephemeral.

8 year olds read these books and talk about blowjobs sexual stuff when at least  this misfit thinks they should still be hula hooping & playing Harriet the Spy.

Im pretty confident she will figure out soon enough precisely what that was in my friends bathroom.

And, if until then, she believes  it’s a stepping stone to the shower stall (I love I love)—-this mamas all about encouraging that erroneous belief as well.

It’s the misfit way I roll.

And you?

I know our Healthy Living Tribe goes back and forth on the use of the scale for US.

What would you had said to the Tornado were she YOUR child?

Please to hit us all up in the comments below…

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56 Responses to “N(o) S(cale) V(ictory)!”

  1. Sarah says:

    I would explain that Doctors sometimes use the scale to decide how much medicine to give you but some people use it as a different measure.

    Then I would talk about how it only tells you a number, not your self worth. Some use the number as an indication of health, but it is really just one of many tools.

    • Kim says:

      I love this story!!!! And I think it is important to explain that the number has nothing to do with self worth too. I can remember days where I lost the spring in my step because I wasn’t pleased with the number on the scale. It can really cloud your self-image if you let it. For the most part I just get on the scale when I’m curious, I know when I’ve overindulged or haven’t expended enough energy, and sometimes I think getting on the scale after one of those days can be a form of self-punishment. I just try to make it a point to remember that everyday is a chance to start over and I don’t have to feel guilty about what I did or didn’t do the day before.

  2. Sarah says:

    Sorry, I put the wrong like to my blog.

  3. leslie says:

    My daughter is 27, and while there isn’t too much I regret regarding parenting (hubby and I have been remarkably simpatico in that realm, which helped), I do wish she had not witnessed (read heard and seen) my body UNacceptance and endless dieting - even while I told her she was beautiful and perfect “as is”.

    She ran XC in high school and went through a brief period of actually losing her period from running ALOT and lowering her intake - with many of her teammates.

    Thankfully the loss of the monthly visitor freaked her out and set her back on track - with no real consequences. Imagine learning an important lesson so easily. Where did she get that??

    Yep - the Tornado will learn plenty soon what that metal contraption on the BR floor is! Good job, Mom.

  4. Mollie says:

    I am a long term slave to the scale.
    I love this.

  5. Bea says:

    What a fantastic story, Miz.

    I can not even recall a day when I didn’t know exactly what I weighed and what a scale was.

  6. Helen says:

    I disagree, Miz.

    It is a sweet story, but isn’t our job as parents to arm our children with the tools they need?
    I would have smiled at her and then explained what a scale was and what kind of tool it is.

    • Miz says:

      it is such a challenge huh and decision which works for my/my family. the older I get and the more people I meet (hello FITBLOGGIN!) the more I begin to realize MY ability to never weigh may also be tied into my lack of love for numbers.

      The same reason I rarely check my blog analytics (ohNosheDIDnotSayTHAT! :) ).

      Many people adore the scale and can see it simply as on tool in their arsenal.

      one of many

  7. Natalia says:

    I think what you did or didn’t do, was fine. If she really wanted to know she would have pressed and then I think I would have let her believe it was a mini step stool! There’s gonna be tons of years, hopefully not, but maybe, that she will know what a scale is and worry about what it says….hopefully not, but maybe! So I say what’s the harm in letting her have some more childhood fun time play time! They grow up soooo fast!!!

  8. Nan says:

    My mom had me on the scale already by your daughters age (she is 5 right?).

    I already thought I was worthless and fat.

    I think you did the right thing since I am still on the scale every damn day :(

  9. Erica says:

    That is just purely awesome :) I love that she doesn’t know what an at home scale looks like. You are such a fabulous Mama. I agree- young girls get pushed wayyyy to fast into being “grownups”. An extended youth is a wonderful thing.

  10. Runner girl says:

    I enlarged the photo and looked at Tornado’s grin.

    I think she’s just fine :) without knowing what a scale it.

  11. Dana says:

    I remember this post. I love that she didn’t have a clue. She seems like such an outgoing litle girl that I have no doubt there will be sripple effect. I love what a firm foundation you are building. As the world gets a chance at her she will have a solid BELEIF system as a defence.

    Way to go Mom! Think about your ripple effect. Moms can be retrained. Not as easily of course. Thanks as always for always kind and supportive comments. I don’t know how you do it, but you have the ability to make motivate me. Trying to pay it forward in real life.

  12. Nettie says:

    This makes me want to toss my own scale before my 1 year old discovers my attachment to it.

    Maybe.

  13. Leslie Goldman says:

    I haven’t weighed myself since Nov 2009 and it is truly the most freeing feeling in the world. I used to scale-hop daily, even multiple times per day, and I lived and died by the #. It determined the fate of my day-it was eSsentially a mood ring in reverse: “Good” #? I’m happy/proud! “Bad” #? I feel like crap/not good enough. We don’t have kids yet but it’s a huge issue for me-what do I tell them? How can I empower them to love themselves for who they are? I like Sarah’s ideas above (answer #1)…Did u happen to see the Today Show segment a few days ago on plastic surgery for kids who are being bullied for their nose or ears?

  14. leslie goldman says:

    I haven’t weighed myself since Nov 2009 and it is truly the most freeing feeling in the world. I used to scale-hop daily, even multiple times per day, and I lived and died by the #. It determined the fate of my day-it was eSsentially a mood ring in reverse: “Good” #? I’m happy/proud! “Bad” #? I feel like crap/not good enough. We don’t have kids yet but it’s a huge issue for me-what do I tell them? How can I empower them to love themselves for who they are? I like Sarah’s ideas above (answer #1)…Sis u happen to see the Today Show segment a few days ago on plastic surgery for kids who are being bullied for their nose or ears?

  15. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    Well, you know from my post yesterday, I am a weigher & for me, it really helps. It does not set me back like some. I understand it is fickle but I also understand it is true if the weight keeps going up instead of coming back down & stabilizing. My jeans tell me too.

    For me, I have always had to fight hard to stay fit from way back when so I need all the different ways to check it. Age adds a whole other complexity as well.

    As for Tornado, I am NO expert for sure. I might have said that some people like to know how much they weigh but it is about for you, Tornado, it is about how you feel about yourself that is most important .. and Carla, you have already taught her to love herself.

    Amazing that she did not know what a scale was.. too bad you can’t keep her innocent forever…

  16. Wow. I don’t know what my boys think. Both know we have a scale in the bathroom because they’ve had to weigh themselves for some forms for some such thing or other over time. But I am not sure they think much of it. Partly because they are boys and partly because they have no weight or eating issues, I suspect. I’m not sure what I’d do with a daughter. Yours is lucky to not only have a great role model but to be growing up with healthy living as a part of everyday that she doesn’t even have to think about.

  17. Fab Kate says:

    Scales are tools. When you make them more than that, or start attaching emotional value, moral value, or self esteem to them … THAT’S when you get into trouble.

    What would I tell my child? I’d just say “That’s a scale. It measures weight” and left it at that. Would a child want to weigh? Maybe. Probably out of curiosity. But who cares? The issue isn’t what a scale says, it’s what a person feels about their body expectations. To a child like Tornado I wouldn’t be surprised if she saw the number as a subject of curiosity, not as a measure of her value.

    Scales have their place. I stand by (ok.. I stand ON) mine. Because for me the scale is often the first warning of a lupus flare, of thyroid instability, and of the failure of the change in diet the doctor recommends. Weight is one indicator of health… it’s the obsession over a few pounds that’s unhealthy.

  18. Irene says:

    My daughter knows what a scale is because her mother is obsessed with it. Also, I weigh her once every 2 months just to get her height and weight to put on the wall (she loves to see how much she has grown).

    However, Olivia doesn’t know or care about what the scale means. She doesn’t understand what weight is and I am happy about that. To her, they are just numbers.

    I don’t think children need to be worried about things like the scale. It’s a tool that many of us use, but its not necessary in reality. Like you said, if we are honest with ourselves, then we know when we have gained a few “el bees” (love that btw).

  19. Tom says:

    I may be skewed because I am a male, but I am a male who is working to shed weight.

    I think it is important to teach our children about everything.

    Including scales.

  20. Tom says:

    Congratulations on the Hungry Girl mention.

    My wife was impressed I “knew” you.

  21. fd says:

    Love this story! the more rational side of me tells me you should have told her what it was ‘a tool to measure weight’ but the more emotional side of me remembers seeing my mother weigh herself daily (naked, after she pee’d, first thing)and remembers exactly what I weighed for every major event in my life, including starting first grade. I was actually an overweight child, so I understand why there were efforts made to make me pay attention…but I wish I had something more meaningful to remember my 12th birthday and x vacation by than my weight, you know…
    I don’t have huge emotional attachment to the numbers, I don’t live and die by the scale by any means and can weigh daily or not weigh for months on end nowadays so its not a life sentence (like you MIZ I’m not a huge numbers and spreadsheets and data person).
    On balance, I think you were right to let her learn about scales some other day at some other age.

  22. I don’t weigh myself very much anymore (maybe 2 or 3 times per year), but like you I know very well when I’ve gained a little, and I “clean” things up a bit.

    For quite a time I weighed myself more often (about once a week or so) because I didn’t want things to get out of control (again.) I once had gained A LOT of weight “without realizing” it. Well, really, I wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t want to notice. I tried to fool myself by wearing only stretchy pants.

    Your post really made me think because we do have a scale in the bathroom, and the toddler loves stepping on it. He loves seeing the number light up even though he doesn’t know what it means. He can’t even recognize numbers in the 30s yet… Hmm. Wondering whether the scale should maybe move into the garage…

  23. Shelley B says:

    I think a simple explanation is fine - sometimes I sweated out thinking how to tell my kids about something when they asked, and I discovered that they were usually satisfied with the short answer. That said, my best friend does not keep a scale in her house on purpose, so her (now) 9 year old daughter doesn’t focus on it.

    Oh, and I lol’d at your not paying attention to blog analytics - after reading other bloggers write about their stats I tried to look at mine and quickly decided that when it comes to that many numbers, my brain just does not care enough to figure it out. :)

    • Miz says:

      For me it is about change too.

      I don’t look at the analytics as I’m not gonna change anything :)

      I think if I was about to massively change then I might look to know from when I started?

      Or not :)

  24. Lainie (Fit Fig) says:

    Like Karen above, I have boys. My oldest boys have been on the scale a few times, but mainly to check if they are big enough to move to a backless booster seat and that sort of thing. I am usually hoping they get higher numbers on the scale because they tend to be on the small size, but I don’t tell them that. I just say, “Wow, you’re getting so big and strong.” It is different with boys. I think if they aren’t just hugely fat, they aren’t going to be concerned with their weight (unless our culture’s obsession with image changes that even for boys). I’m afraid I have occasionally mentioned that “Mommy wants to get smaller” but I try to just talk about being strong and eating our veggies so we can grow strong and that sort of thing.

    It’s probably just as well I don’t have a daughter; I’d be a nervous wreck trying to help her have a better self-image than I’ve had. My mom never encouraged me to lose weight as a youngster but you wouldn’t believe how much she talks about it since I’ve become an adult. Plus I spent my whole childhood watching her battle her weight and try a gazillion diets.

  25. Not being a parent, I have no idea how I’d respond… It probably wouldn’t be helpful to describe it as a handtool of Satan, so I’d most likely opt for “some people like to keep track of how much they weigh”, but y’all don’t have to because the doctor already told you. But then she might insist that you have a scale at home so that she never had to go to the doctor again. This is why I don’t have children-they’re too astute. :)

  26. Eve says:

    I practically have a scale in every room ;(

  27. Angela @ MyPinkyToes says:

    Wow! It was such a simple question…but so powerful. I always wonder what I will do when I have a daughter (someday) and she asks me questions like that. How do you pass on the idea of a positive body image when kids are surrounded by so much bad media and whatnot?!
    Congrats on no scale!

  28. sharla aka 262milejourney says:

    I’m pretty open with my son about everything. I mean, I try to keep stuff at an age appropriate level, but I have an honesty policy… I’m big on emphasizing that different things work for different people. BUT. The societal implications a scale holds are different for little girls than little boys. I would have just said it was a scale, and only gone more in depth had there been a follow up question(s). Le sigh.

  29. Jana says:

    I am quite curious now if you weighed frequently when you were trying to lose weight?
    NICE before and after BTW

    • Miz says:

      great question and I think it also goes hand in hand with my response about to the notion of checking analytics.
      Im not a numbers person.
      I am a clothes person.
      I had a suit (interview suit) I needed to fit into (I.cheap.) and that was my barometer the whole time I worked to lose weight.
      I knew when I fit into THAT I was at goal.

  30. messymimi says:

    Most likely, i would have just called it a bathroom scale, and left it at that. Your way was better.

  31. Patty says:

    I LOVE LOVE this post!
    Especially since I am trying to break away from the daily weigh-in. After months of doing this I realize it doesn’t work for me. As a WW member, I’ll just take the number on their scale once a week. I want to get to the point where I weigh in and maybe not look at the number. Here’s hoping.

    I think I would have handled it just the same way. She’ll learn soon enough! :)

  32. Tammy says:

    That picture says it all.

  33. charlotte says:

    Oh this is a hard one! My kids have never asked me about the scale for some reason so I’ve never been in that situation. I supposed I’d say something like “That’s a scale, it tells us how heavy or light things are.” And then I might have shown them weighing a stuffed animal vs. weighing a large book. Teach them about the numbers as a tool rather than with emotions attached? Maybe??

  34. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    What feels good and right in your gut? I like the idea of a brief, honest answer: scales measure weight. The end. And for now, that’s a great answer. That answer may change in the next 10 years.

    I am not into some numbers (I don’t check my analytics or my weight) but I am into other numbers, like my BP, cholesterol, resting heart rate, etc. I also love knowing how many years I’ve been happily married and how old I will be on my next birthday.

    So I guess for me, it depends on the number!

  35. Joanna Sutter says:

    Ok, I’ll weigh in…(arr, arr)

    I’m with you, I rarely if ever weigh myself. I used to weigh myself on Monday’s so I’d keep myself on track over the weekend but that little number had way too much control over me. It dictated my mood for the week…if it was low, I was a happy camper. If it was not I was a grouch.

    Now I use it as a unit of measure when I’m feeling off just to know how off I REALLY am. And 9 times out of 10 I’m not as far off as I think I am. And I’m cool with that.

  36. Quix says:

    Hmmm, wow… I don’t think I would have thought until the words were out of my mouth “it’s a scale, you weigh yourself with”. But I’m not a mom. :)

    I weigh daily right now (well, most days). I am really working on keeping things in check, and I’ve thus ditched calorie counting, I need to have SOME measure and this is my compromise. When I do it most days, it just becomes a measure to me (I have another chance tomorrow). When I go to weekly or less, it becomes a BIG FREAKING DEAL what the number is. So I’ve learned that it’s something I need to do and treat just as a number, not as an emotion. Do I fail sometimes? Yeah. But for me, facing the reality helps.

  37. Kimberley says:

    I probably would have said “it’s a scale” and waited to see what the response was…my son would have been out of the room before I got to the “a” part of that sentence though.

    I don’t have a scale and was mighty surprised yesterday to find out how much I weigh. I will be doing all my weighing at the clinic though…no home scale for me.

  38. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I honestly don’t know what I would have told her. I am working on moving myself from a multiple time a day weigher to once a day maximum. I don’t want my children to inherit the problems I did.

    It made me smile at her question if it was something to use to step in the shower. If only we could all see it so innocently.

  39. Heather Eats Almond Butter says:

    Now that the Heablet is here, I want the scale out of the house. It causes too much drama for me, and I would never want her to see that. I’ve let go a lot since she arrived, and it’s been so good for me. Don’t need to go back to where I was.

    Stepping stone to shower. Love it. :)

  40. Pippa says:

    I would have totally handled it the same, Carla!

    That said, I *DO* have a bathroom scale. And I know I have to use it every couple of days or so, otherwise I veer off-course in the most terrible way. It keeps me grounded.

    What I *CANNOT* do, however, is count calories. I’ve tried, but the moment I start, I get super anxious, feel super trapped, and super obsessed … which all trigger over-eating. I have to approach the whole weight-happiness thing sideways, so my obsession radar doesn’t get switched on.

    (Love the photo, btw!)

  41. addy says:

    you handled it perfectly - no to the never-ending weighing in….

  42. MrsFatass says:

    I think you handled it just fine.

    I’m the opposite. I have a scale in my bathroom. When I got the one I have now, my son acquired my old one and put it in his bathroom. He loves to weigh things. Toys. Boxes. Piles of books. And himself. And my daughter. They never hear my husband and I say we’re dreading the scale, scared of the scale. They both know how much they weigh. They both know how much I weigh. And? They also know how much Thing One’s backpack filled with Wimpy Kid books weighs. It’s kind of a toy. No biggie.

    Two sides of the same coin I guess.

  43. Annelies says:

    There is a time and place for everything. Given that she moved on from it very quickly, that’s a pretty good indication it’s not on her radar, and you not making “a moment” of it actually dispels the power of it. Focusing on the play / move / active so early on might lead to the scale being an afterthought through the rest of her life.

  44. Geosomin says:

    I found I was obsessing over numbers…at a time when I really wasn’t even tryign to lose weight. Since I’ve started only weighing myself every month, lo and behod…I am the same give or take a pound or 2 (go figure). How I feel and how my clothes fit really works as far as maintaining weight. It’s hard to wrap your head around after years of using the scale as a guide of where I’m at, but it is very freeing not letting a number control me. :)

  45. Allyson says:

    I am still a slave to the number on the scale and want to wait to be a mom until I no longer am.

  46. Maria (RealFitMama) says:

    I have two daughters.

    We have a bathroom scale that they LOVE to play one!

    They have no idea what the number even means or that it has ANY meaning because they don’t see me (or my husband) weighing and then reacting.

    I’m no longer a slave to the scale like I once was. I do weigh myself, but maybe once or twice a month. Especially if my clothes are feeling a bit tight.

    There are still times when the number alters my mood, but that quickly passes and I move on with my day.

    My daughters NEVER see that reaction…

    You handled it wonderfully!! I say (and will always say) kids are pushed to grow up too fast in this day and age. If she thinks it’s a stepping stone to get into the shower, what’s the harm in that??

  47. Rebecca says:

    I have a 4 year old boy who is so curious about lots of things, he knows that I go to a club weekly to get weighed and he knows that I’m trying to lose weight because I’m not healthy (33lbs down 112lbs to go). I think it’s quite important that he knows that my size isn’t healthy, children copy their parents after all.

    I do not however focus on my weight, we talk about healthy food, nutrition, and exercise, he understands how important it all is and chooses healthy options himself. He’s athletic, active and healthy, just the way I want him. :)

  48. Joy says:

    You know it’s said…my 3 year old Grand Daughter was over just yesterday and she wanted to see how much she weighed. I allowed her to find out. She was so proud that she weighs 31 pounds. Then a short time later, she wanted to see if she still weighed 31 pounds. Yikes it starts early!! I may have to put it away!

  49. Sarah says:

    I remember being put on my first diet when I was less than 10 years old…. not a good memory.

    I think it’s awesome she has no idea what a scale is! Keep it that way as long as possible!

  50. Laura says:

    At the age of four and five, the world is still a toy box! Teach her about a scale just like you would teach her about a ruler, a measuring cup or a tire gauge. But there is no rush. If and when it becomes important, the mechanic can teach her about the tire gauge, and the doctor can talk about the scale.

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  1. Other People’s Handiwork « Change Is Possible - May 29, 2011

    [...] N(O) S(CALE) V(ICTORY)! from MizFit Online: She doesn’t weigh herself at home. Not a path I would likely take, at least right now, but it’s an interesting one to consider. [...]

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