Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Body, a Science Experiment

Part of calming the emotional charge around food has changed my focus about my weight and body to more of a scientific approach. I am confident about my ability to change the numbers on the scale, if I want to, more than ever. The scale provides data. Not judgement. Not self worth. Not failure. Just a number.

I always tell people that when you weigh yourself, and you weigh more than yesterday, you ate too much, and if you weigh less than yesterday, you ate less. Adjust it accordingly. I know easier said than done, especially when you have so much emotion driving hunger, or what you perceive as hunger. So how do you calm the emotional charge?

I don't know the answer for everyone, but I do suspect that everyone that finds themselves out of control with food has anxiety at that moment. For me my "all or nothing" attitude takes over and in my mind I've already lost control, so I keep going with the attitude that if I can't be perfect (on my diet) then I'm going to completely blow it. That type of thinking feeds (no pun intended) the anxiety, not calms it.

So, for me, calming the anxiety is key to being able to make reasonable, rational desicions about food. Some of the mind games I use are questions I ask myself like;

"Is it going to kill you not to have that piece of candy (or cookie or whatever)?"
"Are you going to die while waiting 15 minutes to make a salad?"
"Do you really need to eat 5 prunes or do you just need something in your mouth and 1 will do?"
"What if you were having surgery at 2:00pm and you couldn't eat?"
"You could probably live off your fat for a couple of days!"
"What if chocolate was never invented?"
"Is this (food) going to make your life better? I mean really, will your life be better? And you do want to make your life better, don't you?"

There is probably not one day that goes by when I don't ask myself one of these questions, or something similar. And everytime I put things in perspective this way, it gets easier to keep things in perspective.

So now I'm calm, and I see a number on the scale I don't like, now what? Since the number is just data, I have to compare it to the other data in my training/food journal. What were my workouts the previous day and what time of day did I workout? What did I eat that was different and when (again what time of day)? How much did I eat (volume as well as calories, a pound of salad does weigh a pound!)? Was I "regular" that day or the day before (yes, did I poop? LOL)? Etc.. The answers to these types of questions is the data you need to make different desicions or choices, if you want.

I know it's not easy, it's taken me 2 years to get to this point. But being able to see this type of progress, scientifically, adds to my calm. I never thought that my body would turn into a science experiment!


Lauren Brooks said...

Hey Tracy,

Ever heard of the Tanita scale? It's awesome. It takes your body fat as well. I started gaining a couple pounds these last several weeks. I haven't changed anything in my eating program. The only thing I have changed in that last 6 weeks, is being able to lift heavier and more often. If I didn't have the scale telling me my body fat is getting lower I would be pretty upset watching the numbers go up several pounds on the scale.

I know you have a low body fat. Any chance when the scale goes up, you could be gaining muscle? Your workouts are looking pretty strong these days. Just curious!

leslie said...

You attitude is perfection! You help me and inspire me -- and for that I thank you!

Franz Snideman said...

Nice post. I like your point about how the scale doesn't measure self worth, it' just an objective measurement used to give you feedback.

Again, this would make a great article :)

Tracy Reifkind said...

Lauren, I have a Tanita scale. I measure my BF on Tuesdays usually (today 127.6 19.2%)after Bikram yoga and then a shower (11:30am.). But I missed yoga this morning, so I'll go this evening.

I don't trip as much as I used to because I know I've been swinging heavier and I definitely feel beefier! Which is exactly what I want. I don't know if you noticed that I did 208 snatches w/36 yesterday!

My lowest measured BF was 17.2%, but looking in the mirror at my face, I prefer to have a little more fat. Even though my BF is near 20%, I think if you met me in person, you would be surprised that it's that high! I'm extremely lean looking and vascular.

I still want more muscle though!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Leslie, This post was inspired by your comment about your weight and the scale from your blog (I don't know if you put 2+2 together!), so thank you back!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Franz, I'm starting my aticle this weekend on our trip! At least four hours on the plane should produce something!

Especially sitting next to Mark.

Lauren Brooks said...

I can tell from some of your videos that you do have a low body fat. Your arms look pretty defined.

I can't wait to see an article from you as well. Your posts continuously inspire people!

charley allen said...


Good comments. One thing I have done in the past and am doing now is rather than focusing on daily weight or BF numbers is to focus on a trendline. Of course, I have to weigh myself every day in order to establish a trend. Day to day weight will fluctuate, but a seven day average or fourteen day average trendline (hopefully going down) keeps me sane.

Franz Snideman said...

Have fun at the Cert :)

Royce said...

Kick butt at the cert Tracy!!

Christine said...

This is interesting reading, I never got to this enlightened point in my weight loss. My mental state was that I didn't want that body anymore, period. Of course what happens when you gain weight back? Right.

I did see your comment about wanting to know a little more, and I promise it's coming. :)

Have fun at the cert!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Charley, I don't know when or if I'll stop weighing everyday. Right now I'm having fun with it (this week!). I only do my BF maybe 3 times a month.

I just read Christine's latest comment of reaching a point of enlightenment about my weight and that's eaxactly what I'm going through right now. I'll elaborate soon.

Tracy Reifkind said...

Franz and Royce, Fun??? I'll be working! LOL I hope to test the 10 min. snatch while I'm there, maybe Saturday at lunch break.

Yoana set the bar really high!!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Christine, Enlightenment about my weight. So right on with what I'm going through right now.
And it has everything to do with the subject of gaining the weight back.

Hopefully I'll have the time to write about it while I'm still inspired! Gotta get to my last yoga class in the AM before getting ready by 10am for the airport.