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LMQC Boomer Blogger Alan Sivell has had an “up and down” relationship with his bathroom scale. You might even call it tempestous. Then again, it has been a tragedy years in the making …

By Alan Sivell

Long term relationships can be complicated.

There are a lot of ups and downs. Good times, bad times.

Sometimes, Alan’s scale mocks him.

Such as it is with my scale.

The ups and downs of a regular weigh-in

There are days when I just don’t want to face it. Like the day after Thanksgiving. Other days, such as those involving a long bike ride with only energy bars for sustenance, I can’t wait to hop on because I know there’s going to be some good news coming my way.

It’s kind of like watching your 401 K as you near retirement. Some days you just can’t look (like now) and other times, you can’t wait to see the numbers.

I’ve had this on again off again relationship since the 8th grade when I gained 40 pounds in three months. I had a blood condition that required medication and complete rest for the entire summer. I couldn’t do anything but read (that was good for me) and eat (that wasn’t).

Going from 120 to 160 on my 5’ 8” frame doesn’t sound too bad, but it was not evenly distributed. Most of the weight settled around my belly and my mother, who had four children, explained what those pinkish marks that began appearing on my skin were: stretch marks.

I didn’t lose that weight, but managed to redistribute it in high school when I started running and exercising for sports.

A change in lifestyle required a change in routine

It wasn’t until adulthood and its slightly more sedentary lifestyle took hold that I decided I needed to be a bit more committed to my scale. When I was on top of my game, I started weighing myself once a week, usually on Friday mornings. That number told me how well I had done during the week (is going through the buffet a second time really worth it?) and helped me make a game plan for the weekend.

If I was happy with the number on the scale, it helped dictate how disciplined I should be over the weekend.

Weekly weigh-ins are good way to maintain your relationship with the numbers on the scale. But as life goes on and you get busier, maybe you rush out of the bathroom without weighing yourself. Again. And again. And before you know it, you’re up a couple of pant sizes. I speak from experience.

According to WebMD, weighing yourself regularly is a key component in keeping your weight under control. An even better strategy if you want to lose weight, they say, is to weigh every day. And there is research to back that up.

Practice doesn’t make perfect … but it helps

I do go through periods when I follow that daily routine. I always weigh myself at the same time in the same state of undress. Weighing myself everyday helps me get an idea of how I process what I am eat. It keeps my food priorities focused so I don’t mindlessly pop food in my mouth while I’m preparing dinner or breakfast. Then, when I hit my goal, I go back to once a week.

As I say, long term relationships can be complicated.

By Alan Sivell

Long term relationships can be complicated.

There are a lot of ups and downs. Good times, bad times.

Alan has had a complex relationship with his scale.

Such as it is with my scale.

The ups and downs of a regular weigh-in

There are days when I just don’t want to face it. Like the day after Thanksgiving. Other days, such as those involving a long bike ride with only energy bars for sustenance, I can’t wait to hop on because I know there’s going to be some good news coming my way.

It’s kind of like watching your 401 K as you near retirement. Some days you just can’t look (like now) and other times, you can’t wait to see the numbers.

I’ve had this on again off again relationship since the 8th grade when I gained 40 pounds in three months. I had a blood condition that required medication and complete rest for the entire summer. I couldn’t do anything but read (that was good for me) and eat (that wasn’t).

Going from 120 to 160 on my 5’ 8” frame doesn’t sound too bad, but it was not evenly distributed. Most of the weight settled around my belly and my mother, who had four children, explained what those pinkish marks that began appearing on my skin were: stretch marks.

I didn’t lose that weight, but managed to redistribute it in high school when I started running and exercising for sports.

A change in lifestyle required a change in routine

It wasn’t until adulthood and its slightly more sedentary lifestyle took hold that I decided I needed to be a bit more committed to my scale. When I was on top of my game, I started weighing myself once a week, usually on Friday mornings. That number told me how well I had done during the week (is going through the buffet a second time really worth it?) and helped me make a game plan for the weekend.

If I was happy with the number on the scale, it helped dictate how disciplined I should be over the weekend.

Weekly weigh-ins are good way to maintain your relationship with the numbers on the scale. But as life goes on and you get busier, maybe you rush out of the bathroom without weighing yourself. Again. And again. And before you know it, you’re up a couple of pant sizes. I speak from experience.

According to WebMD, weighing yourself regularly is a key component in keeping your weight under control. An even better strategy if you want to lose weight, they say, is to weigh every day. And there is research to back that up.

Practice doesn’t make perfect … but it helps

I do go through periods when I follow that daily routine. I always weigh myself at the same time in the same state of undress. Weighing myself everyday helps me get an idea of how I process what I am eat. It keeps my food priorities focused so I don’t mindlessly pop food in my mouth while I’m preparing dinner or breakfast. Then, when I hit my goal, I go back to once a week.

As I say, long term relationships can be complicated.

By Alan Sivell

I spend a lot of time reading articles by diet and fitness and lifestyle gurus who seem to have all of that stuff figured out. In the back of my mind, my envy and jealousy glands begin to throb. I imagine they are living the perfect life, that they once had to worry about their exercise and food habits but now are on a glide path to perfection.

Just so you know … don’t EVER get that idea about the writer of this blog. Because as stated above, I am still searching for that glide path. And have no doubt that I always will.

Although I know the reality is, that any path through life has lots of bumps, twists and stumbles.

And I hit one of those dietary/fitness bumps over the holidays.

Life as a “big loser”

A brief bit of history: This relatively fit new me began seven years ago. That’s when I joined a Biggest Loser contest put on by Bettendorf policeman Josh Paul. It’s a three-month, online contest (this year, with 256 participants) that motivated me to lose 20 pounds. And it’s three month, Josh says, because that’s the time you need to break bad habits and make good habits.

I made so many good habits that I kept losing weight after the program was over and wound up losing 30 pounds. And for several years, kept all of it off. I stopped bringing ice cream home and deserts were only a very occasional thing if we went out.

I liked the new me much more than the momentary pleasure of a slice of pecan pie. Or that handful of peanut M&Ms.

For many of us, the typical diet pattern is “diet, lose, sneak, eat, gain, repeat.” How do we stop the madness?

But then, over time – stop me if this self-sabotage sounds familiar – I believed I could have more than the very occasional sweet and still maintain the new me. After all, I’d maintained my new lifestyle for several years. And then I thought, why can’t I have three slices of pizza, even though two is what helped me achieve my goal.

I’m sure you know what happened. In the last year or two, I slowly had to admit, all those new clothes I bought after my transformation didn’t fit quite as well. The word snug comes to mind.

It’s all down hill from pretty much everywhere

All that was just the beginning of the ball rolling down the hill. What made it dive off the cliff was my selflessness. At least that’s what I tell myself.

You see, I make Christmas fudge for family and friends. At least a half dozen batches that I have to taste test. Each one. For quality, of course. And I make Christmas pizza, from my mother’s recipe (Eleanore Maimone), and that can’t be limited to a serving of two pieces.

So I, as the LMQC older guy fitness guru, am rededicating myself to be a bit more disciplined in my choices. I rejoined the Biggest Loser challenge not to drop weight but to act as my conscience who will say, “You don’t need it!” when the one in my head says, “You want fries with that!”

Oh, fudge!

By the way, I really didn’t need to test the fudge. It’s always good. Well, one year it wasn’t. That was because while it was in its boiling stage, my wife and daughter showed up with two kittens and I got distracted.

That was the year I burned the fudge. Which turned out OK. Because I couldn’t eat as much.

Despite all my years of reading about and trying all manner of food, exercise and lifestyle programs, I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all?

Alan Sivell

Alan Sivell

St. Ambrose Professor, Pizza-lover, Bulge Battler

Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life.