How Often Should I Weigh?

How often do you weigh? Are you paying attention to all your numbers and what they really mean, rather than what our insecure psyches make them mean?

istockphoto.com/sage

istockphoto.com/sage

I have had days where I have lost and gained three pounds from one day to the next. Now, do I think I’ve lost or gained 3 pounds overnight? No, not rationally. That would mean I gained or lost 10,500 calories (there’s 3500 calories in a pound).

The likely culprit is water gain or loss. 1gl of water weighs 8.34lbs, so it doesn’t take much water retention to make a significant difference in one’s weight. This is why I believe in weighing more than once a week. Be sure to continue to hydrate though. The body retains water when it is not properly hydrated, so don’t think you should avoid drinking water to avoid water gain.

Many fitness pros will say to weigh once a week and stay off the scale otherwise. Not I. Say you weigh on Mondays and Mondays only. If you weigh 3lbs heavier from a weekend of indulgences, you miss your lowest weight on Friday after a week of eating and hydrating well.

Let’s get away from an idea that we are one set weight. I like to weigh every morning, first thing, before I even have a drink of water, before I even brush my teeth. Then, when I weigh every day, I won’t miss when I hit my lowest weight of the week, and I can start to see a pattern in my weight fluctuation. I can see my low and my high for the week, and then each week my high and low go lower.

So one week my high might be 146.6 and my low 143.6, then the next week my high might be 146.0 and my low 142.8. My high/low has gone down. It’s a much more realistic picture of your weight.

We are not a static number.

The human body is a dynamic organism, not a static one, but we insist on stuffing it into a static measurement.

If your gym offers a body composition test, I highly suggest getting it done every six weeks or so. You can see your body fat percentage change and your lean muscle mass. If you’re gaining weight, it might be you’re building muscle and not burning much of the fat on top, or you’re burning fat and building muscle, so your weight is staying relatively the same.

Most gyms offer this service for $10-$30 for members, depending on their method of tracking body composition. Don’t worry, it’s usually just standing on a special scale that can measure body density, and not invasive at all, like using body calipers to measure skin folds.

Let’s get real about our weight and begin to understand the body as a whole, not just a single number.

“That” Mom…

A Facebook friend recently posted an update, prefacing the post with an apology for being “that” mom, and then proceeded to explain her daughter’s immune system and how she was going to be extra diligent in protecting her infant from exposure to and the possible transmission of germs. It made me consider how many times I had jokingly referred to myself as “that” mom and did so apologetically.

istockphoto.com/mj007

istockphoto.com/mj007

But why should we apologize for being “that” mom? Why can’t we just be “mom”? To whom are we apologizing? The answer is probably a little disconcerting. My guess is, we’re apologizing to other moms. Sorry, but, if you don’t have kids, I don’t care what you think about raising kids. Period. Unless of course you’re Jesus.

Being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I somehow do everything the hard way, so that’s saying something. I became a mom as a 33 year old, fully grown (or at least as fully grown as I am capable) woman. I think this “advanced maternal age” (a medically defined delineation), prepared me to deal with the opinions of what others think about my parenting decisions, but I’m not totally immune.

My mom taught me a very valuable lesson that used to drive me nuts, but I find is incredibly effective and succinct:

Get over it.

As her child growing up, I found it a little inconsiderate, but even, and perhaps especially, your kids have to be lumped into the crowd that do not get an opinion about how you raise your kids (especially since they’re cross referenced in those who don’t have them). Of course, now that I do have kids her advice to me is still the same when I lament how she might have done better. In the lack of abuse and neglect, if you have an opinion that thrusts me into the category of “that” mom, and I don’t validate or empower it, get over it.

I’m protecting my child, not you, you narcissistic pain in my ass.

You see, when a woman becomes a mother, she gets a target painted on her back, typically by other mothers and by a few passersby who are just bored. The thing is, most moms are just doing the best they can. So, before you label another mom as “that” mom, consider whether that target on your back has recently throbbed with a direct hit or there is dust on your hands from the last stone you cast. I dust my hands off more often than I care to admit, so this is advice I’m heeding myself. I don’t want to be “that” mom.

The Overscheduled Child

Gray Swimming

In a society of not enough, how do we decide when enough is enough for our children? I am experiencing this with my 3 year old. He is in swimming twice a week and horseback riding lessons once a week. Tee ball is about to start, he would love a gymnastics class and already thinks he’s a ninja, so karate would be great for him. I’d really like to get him started on an instrument, even if it’s banging randomly on some drums. I’m wondering though, how in the world do I offer these opportunities without over stimulating him and overstretching me?

There are articles all over the internet about the dangers of overscheduling your kids and not just letting them be kids. They talk about how our kids are no longer able to entertain themselves, don’t know what to do with themselves if their lives are not planned and scheduled with activities. Yeah, they do.

Kids’ default setting is destructo mode.

My 3 year old is an excellent swimmer and it’s something I hope he retains and chooses to compete in at some point. He loves riding horses and I find it gives me opportunities to teach him about leadership and assertiveness, not to mention caring for animals. Gymnastics would give him an outlet for all the ways he wants to express himself physically. If I can provide him that outlet it would teach him to be aware of his body in time and space (proprioception) and translate into athleticism later. Tee ball will teach him team skills as he does nothing that is team related at this point. I have to come up with activities that cover the most bases without overscheduling and over stimulating him. There has to be time to just go outside and play. He does love to go and throw rocks into mud puddles and find bugs. I think that activity is important as all the others. And, hey, it’s free!

photo

I got to do a little bit of everything as a kid. I played softball, took piano and guitar lessons, did gymnastics and karate, spent most of my spare time playing outside, seeing if I could break my record of how far I could jump out of the swing in the backyard. If I wasn’t playing I was reading.

I am the second of five girls, so I don’t know how my parents managed to make sure we had all these opportunities and time to accomplish them. I can remember my dad coming home (exhausted from working a twelve hour shift making tires in a tire plant) and playing softball with us in the front yard for hours, or coaching our softball teams. My mom was a stay at home mom with five little girls running around, a veritable Miss Hannigan. Cue the music: “Little girls, little girls, everywhere I look things are..little. I would ring little necks, if only I could get, an acquittal…”

I seriously don’t know how she escaped with her sanity. Oh, wait, she didn’t.

Do any of us come out of this parenting thing sane? If you answered yes, you’re not doing it right- I know that much. I apologize to my mom in my head at least five times a day while raising my two boys. (Mom: the Miss Hannigan reference is comparable in how I perceive raising five girls must have been like, not a comparison to how I experienced you). Before I had kids it wouldn’t have occurred to me to add that little caveat.

I think it boils down to just doing the best damn job you can do

I’m serious. If Gray nearly spins to death on the uneven parallel bars (100 points if you know what movie that’s from), because he’s so overwhelmed due to too many activities, at least he didn’t atrophy in front of an iPad screen. Don’t get me wrong, he watches the iPad, but hopefully I can offset any permanent damage with extracurricular activity.

That makes me wonder… what’s curricular in a preschooler’s life to make something extracurricular? I mean, his job is to try things out, to experiment- that is his curriculum. I’ve thought quite often as he nears the age to be in school all day, why can’t he learn from practical applications? Can’t he learn his ABC’s and 123’s without the mind numbing monotony of school? Can’t his extracurricular activities teach him these things? I’m getting into an entirely different post, aren’t I? Let’s regroup.

I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing to have lots of activities planned for your child. I mean, we all know a kid can entertain him or herself. Hopefully the exposure to multiple activities as a young kid will give them interests that will prevent them from being zombies as teenagers.