Battle of the Bulge – Losing Weight with the Help of a Scale

| December 5, 2012 | 76 Comments


And the battle of the bulge begins! Let me start off by saying I just bought a scale for the first time in my life. I never had a scale growing up, and the only times I could ever really weigh myself when I was younger were in gym class or at my grandparents house. The reason we never had a scale in our house, well I’m not quite sure why really, but I always thought the reason was because scales just generally make you feel like crap; and I grew up with two sisters remember. I mean, how many times in your life have you really been happy after stepping off a scale? Probably a handful compared to the 100 times you just felt like a big fatty. But alas, I caved and bought one on sale at Canadian Tire on Monday night.

I know it might be risky having a scale, but let me explain the reasoning behind it. So, as you probably read on my Saturday link love post, I went to Whistler this past weekend. On the Saturday night my friend and I went dancing and I was so excited to finally bust a move. I rarely go dancing anymore, possibly because I’m getting older, as evident from me using the term “bust a move”, so when I have an opportunity to do it, I do it! I brought two outfits with me to wear so I’d have some options, but when I tried on the dress I was hoping to wear, it didn’t fit! It didn’t help that I had already had a few glasses of wine, but when I looked at myself in the mirror, looking like a sausage disco ball, I almost wanted to cry. How the hell did I gain weight? And how much weight? I’ve been running for almost two months now, what the f***!

Well, that last part is half true. The past two weeks I haven’t kept up my running (for shame, I know!). I’ve been so stressed out about getting everything ready for Christmas, my trip to Thailand, and my wedding that the last thing I wanted to do was jog in the cold rain after work. And I guess my diet hasn’t been amazing either. I’m still on my sort of vegetarianism, trying not to eat meat more than once every couple of days, but I think I’ve been replacing the meat with carbs, as so many of you commenters warned me about. So I thought if I got a scale, maybe I could track things a bit better.

Now, it may seem kind of stupid to start amping up getting fit in December, especially when there are cookies, chocolates, and full fat everything everywhere, but I honestly feel like if I wait until after New Years, I won’t be able to fit into any of my clothes. My jeans are already pretty snug, and I don’t want to have to buy a bunch of new clothes because I can’t get my sh** together! I may love food as much as sleep, but above anything else I am cheap, and would rather not spend any more money at the mall this month.

I’m not going to tell you my weight (obviously), but let’s just say I’ve never seen that number before in my life and it truly terrified me. I don’t want to be a bulging bride and if a scale could help me get my a** in gear, then I’m sure as hell gonna give it a go!

Do you think this is a good or bad idea? Do you have a scale at home?


Category: Health & Fitness, Lifestyle

Comments (76)

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  1. I had already read that we were the first generation ever no to be better off than their parents. I long for the house with the yard too, but as the population grows I am aware that land is a privilege that few can get. If you see the positive side of things I think society is more equal, with a strong middle class, and less starving families than a century ago. My game plan is simply to start as early as possible to follow my parents tracks financially. They didn’t have ipods or went out every weeknight, so they could indeed buy a house and a car. Simple financial sense.

  2. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    I think this generation does have its own unique set of challenges, led primarily with the crappy economy we have. I also think each generation has their own set of challenges that they generally have to go through. But, for older ones just to say that we’re lazy, aren’t committed, don’t want to work, etc is just plain ignorant. My plan is to work my tail off and budget/live wisely so my family and I can have the things we want.

  3. No doubt our generation has it tough. When I was laid off from Bank of America in 2008 I was 27. That means that I only had a four years of work experience under my belt. Now college grads can;t even find a job. Add that with the case of price inflation with almost anything and it’s a serious problem. While I got back on my feet rather quickly a lot of people are not so lucky.

  4. holly says:

    I agree with you somewhat. I also think that we are an “entitled” generation. Older generations went without what they could not afford. Our generation buys it on credit. Then we complain about our crushing debts as if we didn’t get ourselves in the situation. We are our worst enemy in a lot of ways.

  5. Workin’ on the dream :-) While there are downsides to living where I do, some of the upsides include fewer ways to spend entertainment money and more affordable housing (only relative to major cities, not relative to other small towns.) This puts us way ahead of some of our friends paying rent in places like Toronto! Some things have been great, but it took me way too long to land a job with an adult paycheque :-( I know several friends who haven’t and others who have been downsized this year and are kind of freaking out (obviously).

  6. Vanessa says:

    I also feel that baby boomer’s have just been accustomed to a life of abundance. Anything they want, whenever they want, regardless of the cost. At least our generation, which as you point out, came of age during a recession, has learned to sacrifice and live without

    • Yup and that’s why I think our generation will probably do just fine because we’ve had to live more modestly and make sacrifices in order to survive without debt unlike the boomers who had easier more affordable access to the same things.

  7. Yup that’s definitely true about people getting used to the high life, which is why I try not to get caught up in all the new trends and gadgets because they are expensive luxuries that just aren’t necessary and I don’t want to live on credit like so many people.

  8. Eddy Hardy says:

    I think the plan for many young adults, is essentially, work harder for longer hours, less money, and hopefully win the lottery. Its why lottery commercials do so well with the ad campaign ‘Can you imagine?’ because that is all most people will be ever be able to do. I have read that your generation is the first in a century where it is expected that you will do worse financially than your parents. You will also die younger I am told, as life expectancy is dropping for the first time in 5 generations, despite medical advances. Keep chugging all that high fructose corn syrop they advertise as Big Gulps, diabetes will get you to the big finish line, faster than you can say Usain Bolt. Unfortunately your generation, and mine as well, has been sucked into the credit card prison. Buy now, pay later. And wow, will you pay later. Banks and loan companies don’t make money by caring that you will be evicted or can’t pay your mortgage. In fact, in some cases as we have seen, they bet against you. Your best plan is to be smart and think, actually think, about every choice you make financially. It all comes back to haunt you. Every loonie.

  9. femmefrugality says:

    I do. I also feel that the young adults who don’t have it rough have been lucky enough to have parents who were well off or weren’t effected in any large way by the housing market/stock market crash. I plan to work my butt off to get what I want out of life, but to be honest that’s been my plan since day one. Even before all this craziness happened. I’ve hit some bumps in the road, but you just have to adjust along the way.

  10. jefferson @seedebtrun says:

    Am I still young? I agree with Holly that we’re too entitled as a generation. I don’t know many people who don’t have smart phones, regardless of income or debt (us included…sigh) and everyone seems to not be flexible when it comes to differentiating between that which is a necessity and that which is a luxury. Getting your hair and nails done? Luxury. Eating out at a restaurant? Luxury. A lot of people don’t seem to agree with me! Including my husband…who’s the reason we still have smart phones! He says he’ll die. :/

    • That’s true I think lots of young adults do feel entitled and don’t think certain luxuries are just that…luxuries. I have a smartphone but I tell ya I didn’t want it. When my plan was up I begged my provider for me to keep my old phone and plan but they said my phone is obsolete now. It was seriously impossible for me not to get a smartphone when renewing my contract.

  11. Yes, I think young adults have it hard, but so does everyone. I’m not sure why it’s been hard for young adults to see that. I’m right in the middle of genx, and so many of my peers, including myself, are struggling. And I’m up against young adults in job searches who have learned new technology at school, and will do jobs for a lot cheaper than me. (although I proved that wrong this summer when I did a million low budget projects) So yes I think you have it harder than I did AT THAT TIME IN MY LIFE, but it’s every generation. Even my parents, who are boomers, are not as secure in their retirement as they used to be.

    Here is why I think young adults are under the assumption it’s just them. They are way more vocal then past generations. You don’t find too many personal finance bloggers my age. I think your generation is very used to being out there on social media, and so you all come together more to discuss where you are in life. That’s just a guess of course, but that’s the only thing I could think of! :)

  12. Marina Berzins says:

    I think we totally have it harder. But that just means we have to think outside the box. I ended up in a different country. And I don’t want the same things my mom had. (My dad did not have it easier, but that’s because he wasn’t born in America or Canada.) But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be happy. And my mother isn’t necessarily happy in her paid off house with it’s yard. I think that along with having it more difficult, we think about money in a different way. Or at least, we have the option to think about it differently if we so desire.

    • I definitely agree with thinking outside the box. Before I started this blog I told myself I wanted to make more money. I looked outside the box and decided to see if writing a blog could lead to some money making opportunities which it slowly has. It’s crazy because 20 years ago making money online wasn’t even an option but now it is! Thinking outside the box is key for sure!

  13. Country Girl says:

    From a would-like-to-farm perspective, I think young adults have it much harder than previous generations. Aside from being incorporated in a succession plan, it’s pretty damned difficult to start a farm on your own. The cost of land and quota would put most youngsters in the red for a very, very long time. On the other hand, I’ve been able to live a pretty comfortable non-farm adult life so far on my own. I’ve travelled more than my parents ever have, have lots of toys, was able to buy a new car and a house. I guess it really depends on what lens you’re looking through.

    • You know what, I was just thinking that the other day while driving through Abbotsford (farm town where I live). I was wondering “How on earth could you own all that land for a farm if you didn’t inherit it?” It seems like you need a hell of a lot of land for any type of farm and land is so frickin’ expensive around here, even if you are miles away from the city.

  14. Jordann says:

    Hey thanks for the mention! I think that young adults are going to have to get used to the fact that we won’t be able to expect as much out of our life as our parents got in terms of climbing the social class ladder, or achieving major life events (marriage, home ownership) that’s just not the way our North American world is any more. It’s unfortunate, but a fact.

  15. AbigailP says:

    I think it’s a mixed bag. You guys definitely have it tough because you have crushing student debt. So did a lot of people, but they had the knowledge that they could get jobs to pay it off.

    That said, I think the (small) bright side is that you guys have realistic expectations now. The last few rounds of college graduates came out “knowing” that they could get the job they wanted. So they weren’t careful about their spending — and that’s partly what led to this mess.

    Your generation is a lot more likely to carefully consider finances from now on. Hopefully, anyway.

    My vote for “toughest” is split. I feel worse for you guys, but I don’t think you have it as tough as people who had already built their lives in the previous economy.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is mainly a mess of their own making. But if they are responsible enough not to walk away from their obligations, they have a lot less wiggle room. You guys get to decide where you want to live. They’re stuck in mortgages. And they either have kids or are getting to the point where they need to have them if they plan to have them.

    I have a hard time believing it will really take you guys 20 years. That would assume that these economic conditions last at least another 10, I think; and I find that implausible. I think if those of you able to find gainful employment — emphasis on “gain” — will be able to save up enough to get a house while the market is still recovering.

    To be fair, though, I’m not in the job market, so my perception may be a little skewed.

  16. holly says:

    I like having a scale as it helps to keep me on track. I do try to only weigh myself once a week or so. That way I’m not mad at myself for all of the small fluctuations.

  17. I don’t know about you, but when I start working out I actually eat more. If I amp up my workouts, I’m hungrier. I usually end up being fit but exactly the same size as when I started. I’d say just really watch your intake, eat mostly fruits veggies, and protein and you’ll be great !

    • That definitely true, but I think sometimes after I get in the routine of working out, I start eating more, then I stop working out, but keep eating the same amount. And definitely too many carbs. But I love them so much!

  18. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    We have a scale at home as well and I think it helps us stay on track. I think it’s a great idea to start now as well. I know it can be hard during the Holidays, but you can still indulge some while also working out which will set you up for success next year.

  19. MissAmanda says:

    I weigh myself every time I’m at the gym (because they have a scale and I don’t). I too recently saw a terrifying number on said scale that I’ve never seen before, and also need to get my a– in gear.

    I think it’s a good idea, as long as you’re not the type of person that will freak over the 0.1 lbs fluctuations throughout the day/week.

  20. I think a scale is a good idea as long as you don’t become obsessed with it, or the number, which especially as women are weight fluctuates a lot. Use it as a starting point, but go on how you “feel” and how your clothes are fitting. One thing is not to get caught up in anyone who might post, “well you’re running and muscle weighs more than fat.” That is absolutely true, but more than likely it takes a LONG time to get to the point where that is why you are putting on weight. I’m a big believer in exercise of course, but…and believe me I KNOW how unfun it is, to really lose weight you have to eat better. Or less calories. With my shoulder injury, I’ve had to eliminate yoga and volleyball and volleyball training from my daily routine, which sucks. I exercise almost every day, but eating the same, and have gained a couple of pounds. I know I’ll have to cut calories, which is hard. One trick I have is my 10% rule. Cut 10% of the “bad stuff” and add 10% of the good stuff, and work 10% harder in exercise. It doesn’t feel like a big change. It takes more time, but you have a tendency to stick with it more. Good luck! And don’t stress-this time of year is tough for everyone.

  21. Cassie says:

    Honestly, I don’t keep a scale at home. I tend to use my clothes as a gauge for whether or not my diet and exercise needs to get back into check. If my jeans fit nicely, it means I’m on the right track. If I start puffing out the top, it means I’ve over done it, and it’s time to smarten up and get my butt back into gear. It works pretty well. The trick is to use a pair of pants with no or minimal stretch. That way you’re not fooling yourself into thinking you’re fine when the pants start to bag out. I’ve been able to keep myself at a fairly stable size and weight for the last 6 years or so doing this.

    • Ya that’s what I did before, and using clothes as a gauge is good, though sometimes it would just sneak up on me and I’d be all like “My jeans fit yesterday, what the hell happened today that they don’t anymore?”

  22. Michelle says:

    We have a scale, and it’s bad. I look at it everyday!

  23. Michelle says:

    I don’t use a scale because I once had a problem where I became obsessed with stepping on it and looking at the number (to the point where I would weigh myself before AND after a glass of water…) Now I just judge by how snug my clothes fit, and when they start to feel snug, I make sure to just keep more of an eye on what I eat and ramp up my workouts a little bit. I think it’s ok to use a scale, but I probably wouldn’t step on it more than one week at a time! Good luck!

  24. I think it`s a great idea, because it was one of my main motivations when I lost weight a couple of years ago. just make a deal with yourself to only go on the scale once a week or everyother week, so that it doesnt become an obsession. If the weightloss is going the right way, using a scale can be really motivating, because even if you cant see the physical results right away, the numbers will show it!

  25. I think its great that you’re starting in December. Waiting till January has always been a pitfall of mine. So this year, I’ve been focusing on eating well throughout the holidays and I’m working out consistently (all my pants are snug too! went on vacation and returned to four days of Thanksgiving…ugh!) Use the scale as a tool. And maybe weigh yourself once a week at the same time every week.

  26. Indiraa says:

    I have a scale and I weigh myself every day, haha. Though I am actively losing weight (50-60lb down, less than 10 to go), and it just tells me every day if I am on track. I do feel a tiny bit guilty after a food and drink filled weekend but it makes me relieved when it goes right back down. And yeah, there’s no reason not to start now – if you keep putting it off, you’ll likely never do it.

  27. Emily @ evolvingPF says:

    I have a scale and I like it, but I think as tools go it’s not a super-useful one. Tracking your food (especially protein, as I said last time) intake will help you much more. There are so many factors that go into weight that have nothing to do with health and fat reduction that it doesn’t really give actionable feedback. I much prefer process goals (I will eat A B and C today) vs. outcome goals (my weight will be X).

    • Some good points. And I definitely realize that muscle weighs more than fat, and if you weigh yourself in the morning as opposed to mid-day or later in the evening, the numbers will be completely different. Some important things to keep in mind!

      • Emily @ evolvingPF says:

        Muscle doesn’t “weigh” more than fat – muscle is more dense than fat. 1 pound of muscle takes up less volume than 1 pound of fat, plus it is more (positively) hormonally active.

        Does your scale estimate body fat percentage? Individual measurements are not terribly accurate but over the long-term it should let you know if you’re moving in the right direction.

  28. As long as you take it with a grain of salt, I think it’s fine. But just remember that muscle weighs more than fat, and muscle also burns more calories. So the easiest way to get your pants a little loser is to do some weight lifting. The scale might even go up, but if you’re replacing fat with muscle, the dress will look much better =)

  29. I used to have a scale at home but I felt so good getting rid of it! Try only weighing yourself at 7am on Tuesdays or something, so you don’t let the numbers rule your life. You are so much more than a number on a scale, and so much more than a number stitched into a dress!

  30. Aloysa says:

    Scale at home is a bad idea. Because it makes you more obsessive about the weight than you should be. I contemplated buying a scale for some time but then I give up. When I go to the gym I always weigh myself. So I figured it is as goods as it gets. No scale at home or I would be weighing myself three times a day. Not good.

  31. JennaL says:

    I used a scale for after pregnancy and felt it did help motivate me to shed the pounds more efficiently to reach my pre-baby weight. So it is a good tool as long as it is being used as an aid instead of utilized as a masochistic means to torture yourself. Good luck, Mo. Let us know how you get on.

  32. We have a scale at our house and I hate it. My wife drags it out of the closet, you can literally hear the thing scrape the floor and steps on. It beeps she says NO! It didn’t move and then gets upset. If she just didn’t read it everything would be fine.
    Plus a scale can be misleading because if you’re toning and building muscle it won’t go down as fast.

  33. Jordann says:

    I never used to weigh myself, probably because I never had any problem with keeping myself at a good weight. But lately the pounds have been creeping on, and to combat that, I’ve started weighing myself daily and using the app Lose It. I’ve found it’s really been helpful and as a result I’m 2.5 pounds off where I would like to be. My feeling is, I’d rather exercise, eat healthy and monitor my weigh daily than get caught off guard, feel like a terrible failure, and have to set out to lose ten pounds.

    • That’s exactly why I’m doing this. I was caught off guard when the dress didn’t fit. I was slowly gaining weight and I had no idea!

      • Jordann says:

        That happened to me a few months ago, suddenly there was more…volume…under my chin than I was used to. Never again! It’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight than to lose weight, so I monitor pretty carefully these days and adjust accordingly.

  34. K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! says:

    We have a scale and use it randomly. But I tend to guage if I’ve gained or lost weight based on how my clothes fit. As for starting your weight loss endeavour in December, if you can manage to lose any weight this month well you’ll definetely succeed! :)

  35. Mackenzie says:

    We have a scale but it’s hidden in the closet, because I yell at it everytime I step on to it :)
    That’s good that you are starting to get fit now instead of waiting till January. It’s never to early to start!

  36. OutlierModel says:

    We don’t have a scale, and having met you, I don’t think you should be worried about your weight. :) Weight isn’t the only metric for health!

    That being said, I could probably do more to stay in shape and maintain my weight.

  37. Cait Flanders says:

    I used a scale in Victoria and it really helped motivate me with my weight loss progress. After a certain point though, it feels so much better to “feel” the difference, based on how your clothes fit. With your scale, help your sanity by doing a couple of things: 1) weigh yourself first thing in the morning, after using the washroom and 2) only weigh yourself once/week.

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