Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 4

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is the next addition to my own story, Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 4

What do you do when the scale doesn’t move the right way, or it refuses to move at all?  Do you yell at it, or kick it?  Do you get a weapon of mass destruction?  (See what I did there)? Do you hide it in the closet, or throw it into the garbage?  What do you do?  I mutter under my breath.  And I think about what I have eaten in the last 24 hours.  I wonder if I should go to the bathroom and try again, to see if it gets better.  Not always.  I have tried this, and it is a gamble.  Sometimes it is worse the second time around.

A bathroom scale can be your best friend, your worst enemy or your most destructive obsession.  We have all been there, those of us with weight issues.  Watching it go in the right direction, up or down. Feeling ecstatic when it moves the right way and devastated when it doesn’t.

If you are on the high end of that scale, like me,  waiting for the number to drop, it can be very discouraging to eat healthily, have no cheats, exercise, drink your water, and not lose weight.  Or GAIN weight.  Fluid in your body does fluctuate so that accounts for the small changes seen on the scale if you climb on it every day.  In the morning, after you use the bathroom, buck naked. Right?  Don’t you do the same thing?  Isn’t that when we weigh the least, so it should show the best result?  Before climbing in the shower, because someone said you retain fluid when you are in the shower.  Wait, what?  Really?  Time to google that. The answers are conflicting, that can’t be true.  So what gives?  Why does this thing called a plateau plague each and every person trying to lose weight?

It can be muscle.  When you are building muscle, the mass of muscle is heavier.  What that means is that less muscle mass is needed to weigh the same amount as fat.  Think of it in terms of a beach ball, and a medicine ball.  The beach ball bounces and will ride on the wind.  It would take many more beach balls on the scale to weigh five pounds, as compared to the same five pounds in one medicine ball.  A pound equals a pound, but the density of the material used to make up that pound can vary in volume, because of that density.

Now think about moving around with the five pounds of balls attached to you.  It is a lot easier to move with the medicine ball, even though it requires more effort to do so.  Huh? Volume strikes again.  It is the same five pounds, but the difference is like walking around with a cat in your arms versus trying to walk around in a puffy marshmallow suit.The cat may be heavy in your arms, and you feel a little pressure, but it is easier to move from sitting to standing and walking around while holding a cat.  If you were alternatively covered in a suit of marshmallows, it would be sticky and puffy and it would be much harder to move around.

While we all try to decide if that analogy makes any sense, I’ll bounce the ball over to the how.  When you have large amounts of fat, your body has to work very hard to burn off the fat.  Think of it like cleaning the marshmallow suit off.  You would have to scrub at it and wash it off and wash your clothes and spend a lot of energy to remove the residue.  That is a lot of work and can seem for a long time like it is not worth all that effort.  But if your five pounds is a cat, you put the cat down and walk away.  You lose the extra weight more quickly.  Your muscles burn off energy much more efficiently than fat does. If you are familiar with cats, they don’t always act the way you expect them to.  They don’t always want to be picked up or put down.  And they leave little bits of fur everywhere.  If you think of the little tufts of fur as how you build muscle, you will understand that the muscle fibres get stronger as they build and grow, similar to the ball of fur you take off your clothing with a lint brush.  It adds up, a little at a time.  It takes more work to gather it all together.  Sometimes it will surprise you how much cat fur there is when you take the time to gather it all up.

Weighing yourself can become an obsession, and it can be stressful to weigh in too frequently.  When I find myself starting to be anxious about what the scale is going to show me, I know I need a break.  If it isn’t moving, and I am working hard to make changes, I have to remember that I sometimes will show gains on the scale.  It isn’t always bad.  If the weight gain is from building muscle, it means I am on the way to another drop because more muscle burns through more fat faster.  It is a good thing when it is happening for the right reason.

Back to my quick online research.  I saw that you can gain wait in a shower.  I saw that you can lose weight in a shower, and it is not because of urinating while in the shower.  People actually wrote that.  I did find out that if you have wet hair, especially if it is wrapped in a towel, you will weigh more after the shower if you step on the scale and forget the towel is in your hair.  So I am going to keep to my routine, and leave the shower out of the equation.  It seems to be the most reliable method for me.

One final thought.  I would never recommend walking around in a sticky, puffy marshmallow suit while carrying a cat.  Don’t try this at home.  Ever.  The results would be traumatic for you both.

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