Monday, December 19, 2011

Exercise and Weight Loss Expectations

Not mine - Jeff's.  With all the running he's done over this year, he's lost weight.  Not to mention the changes to his eating that he's done since I began my journey (to fit!) - even though he travels all the time, now he almost never eats at any fast food restaurant other than Subway.   He really tries to make good choices, and that, along with the running, shows...he's had to buy new pants in a smaller size, and easily fits into size large shirts - I've finally convinced him to get rid of all of his old XL's as they are just tents on him now.  So obviously he's lost weight, right?

Well.  As I discovered when I trained for my half marathon, although my SIZE got smaller (and I did look good - much more "solid" than I do now), I actually gained about 5 pounds.  So on Friday morning, just before Jeff left for his sort-of annual physical (it's been a couple of years), he asked me how much I thought he weighed.  Loaded question, right?  Knowing that at one point he had been well into the 230's, I said 215.  He was surprised that I guessed so high, but I knew from my experience that while running does change your body shape for the better, it doesn't necessarily show up on the scale. 

When he came home, he was a little disappointed.  Although the doctor was happy with the weight he'd lost, he still clocked in at 213 pounds.  Now, that was after eating breakfast and drinking several cups of coffee (who DOES that before they are going to step on a scale???  oh yeah - men), and of course wearing regular clothes and shoes (has he learned NOTHING from my weigh-ins?? wear light clothing! flip flops!!).  So I'd say he was more like 210.  But he expected to weigh around 200 pounds.  I had similar expectations when I was working out a lot - that somehow all the sweat and effort I put into it would translate into a big loss on the scale.

It's a frustrating thing to accept, that exercise results do not always show up on the scale.  But they do translate to a healthier body, and I'm hoping that Jeff will be able to revise his expectations and be happy with how far he's come in the last year.  When I realized this, it was just one more reason why I stopped giving the scale so much weight (pardon the pun), and instead focused on my overall body size, health and fitness.

20 comments:

  1. My trainer has me weigh in the afternoon... Sheesh!
    I guess it really is "just a number!"
    It's all about being healthier!

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  2. This is a great "perspective" post. Thank you, Shelley!

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  3. YES
    You nail it all when you say that a healthier bod does not necessarily immediately show on the scale--but it is HEALTHIER AND WILL KEEP YOU HERE LONGER!!

    great post, Shelley.

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  4. Love the last sentence Shelley.

    I can understand his disappointment but looking at the big picture: he's doing great. Eating healthy and running a lot.

    Personally the number on the scale doesn't really effect my mood. I still weigh myself every week but if I gained a little or the loss isn't as big as expected I actually don't really care. Seeing my measurements getting smaller counts more for me.

    Give Jeff a compliment from me for his healthy lifestyle and his achievements this year. He has had a good example in you!

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  5. I just told someone yesterday that I am wearing a smaller size at a higher weight than before I added Muay Thai and recently the Zero Excuses Challenge exercises. This morning I told Mr. Helen that what I think I'm happiest about is that I just feel better!

    Not to turn your blog into a plug for the Zero Scale but I have to say I know for a fact that I am quite content not knowing my actual weight but seeing my progress each week. I feel like a winner! I just know if I actually looked at the digits it would probably upset me so I'm not going to - at least for the time being ;-)

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  6. Absolutely, positively true. I weigh 156 pounds, technically 10 pounds 'overweight' for my height. I wear a size 10 dress, a size 8 jean, medium or small tee shirts. Perfectly normal, average size.

    The number still drives me bonkers. I'm trying to ignore it.

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  7. I think Jeff is doing great! And I agree that your body shape does change without the scale moving - dammit!

    I am sure with your support, he'll realize not to measure success on the scale.

    Happy Monday!

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  8. Great work Mr. Shelley ;-)
    I find it so much easier to stay on task when hubby is on board. This last round has been amazing, he's keeping me on track ;-)
    oh and scales make people cry!

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  9. Good job Jeff! And a good reminder to me Shelley, to stop obsessing on the scale (again) and concentrate on my health.

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  10. I think what you're saying is really important. The number on the scale is just a number, but at the same time it's really important. I'm trying so hard to not focus so much on it, but it's easier said than done.. That's why I measure hips etc, to see other kinds of progress too!

    Great post!

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  11. Really needed this post lately! So thank you! After my half marathon I was up several lbs on the scale (like 15 or more ). How could that be when my lungs and heart could handle running 13.1 miles? Its all relative. Health isnt always about the number on the scale. I am doing Body for Life right now. My eating on this plan is drastically different, and much healthier than ever. I have to remind myself of that when it comes weigh time. Great post today.

    Jennifer
    www.wecanlosethepounds.blogspot.com

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  12. Ha! Sort of annual physicals. At least he goes every couple of years. Mine doesn't even have a preferred provider, I don't think urgent care counts.

    I appreciate this post. Pant/shirt size is a much better indicator than what the scale says. Way to go, Jeff.

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  13. Scales with numbers just blow, they really do. There has to be some way for a complete picture scale to be created. Maybe the next million dollar idea?

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  14. Ah yes...did you have him look at my blog so he doesn't feel so bad? That gut shot ought to put things into perspective.

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  15. Sounds to me like Jeff is doing everything right. Glad you have each other to cheer on! Stupid numbers on scales!!!!!

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  16. Perfectly stated, I know this shocked me when I began hard core training. I finally came to the decision that I'd rather run a marathon than lose weight. So, as long as I'm eating good whole foods and enjoying running I don't worry about the scale. Thanks!

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  17. I agree. It isn't about the numbers on the scale, it's about health and looks. The only problem is that the scale is a convenient way to track progress.
    I look forward to the invention of a better way too.

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  18. Thanks for showing us Jeff's perspective; I wondered how he was doing since he's been running all those races. I think men in general view weight loss and fitness so differently than we do, and they have that (annoying) ability to lose more weight faster than us. That combination can sometimes lead to disappointment; since they haven't been conditioned like we have to be obsessed with every movement of the scale, they don't weigh themselves very often and don't have a good idea of their own weight. So they can think they lost more than they did. My husband does the same thing when he is dieting.

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  19. Hmmm, maybe go with inches lost instead of pounds. I think that would be more accurate. I've had the experience of being thrilled at apparent weight loss only to step on the scale and have my balloon burst with a too-high number. So FRUSTRATING!!

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  20. I weigh the exact same as I did when I was running all the time and I look horrible. It just shifts, yanno?

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