Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The weight of weight

I weigh myself daily. Why? I am not exactly sure. I have done so for the past 10 years. I remember when my grandmother passed away, my mother asked me what I would like from her house. I immediately said, "Her scale." You can see a) where and from which genes I got my obsession and b) how obsessed I was from an early age with body image. 

Currently I have a pretty high tech scale that spits out my weight, body fat percentage, hydration, muscle mass, and most likely my horoscope and the odds on the Redskins' game (that last one is easy since they always lose). At this point in my recovery it's a force of habit rather than an actual need. 
It fluctuates more than the stock market 

What is different now from when I was struggling with my ED is that while I still weigh myself, I make sure that the numbers do not affect my mood, actions, or thoughts.  After all, they are just numbers and, in reality, how your body is interacting with gravity on that day.

People, doctors, health care "professionals," and insurance companies obsess about weight and the number on the scale, and for understandable reasons. There is a strong correlation between health and weight, but honestly, one's weight is just one piece of the health jigsaw puzzle. The number leaves a lot out. It does not show body fat percentage, which is a better indicator of health, gut health, mental well being, muscle mass, or, most importantly, psychological peace. 

What I am currently struggling with is what weight is the best for me? While I am heavier now than I have ever been, I am also healthier and happier, which are definitely important. I am not sure though whether I am faster now than I was. Moreover, will I be faster at an even heavier weight? (I have no idea honestly but would love to hear your thoughts)

The best weight is the weight that optimizes your well being both mentally and physically. The same applies to race weight--the weight at which you perform best. If you are too light, you will fade too quickly and if you do finish then you cannot recover as quickly to race again. If you weigh too much (both fat and muscle), though, the extra pounds will slow you down. 

Weight also affects psychological health. If your weight is too low OR too high (interestingly both sides of the bell curve have similar symptoms), you will feel miserable, tired, cranky, etc. 
The number can be approximated by matching it with power to weight ratio numbers and body composition numbers. However, the only way to know your race weight is to experiment with different weights and find the one at which you race the fastest and recover equally well.

All of the numbers though mean NOTHING if you do not have the psyche to back it up. I could be at my "ideal" weight with ideal power numbers and ideal body composition, but if my mind, drive and motivation are not there, then it is meaningless. Those things out weigh any numbers from the scale....but that's just my two watts...


  1. Great post Christopher. I believe feeling good and having the mental toughness high is what makes for a great race.

  2. Peaking weight for is really hard. You want to hit ideal race weight on race day, but it's not realistic to expect to hold race weight for months of training leading up to race day. and it's just as hard to maintain an ideal off-season weight without totally setting yourself up for failure when training resumes. Good job in finding that balance, it's not easy.

  3. I have started using a stat technique I use at work to try to "flatten" the wild spike; a three day rolling average. Tend to give me a clearer picture than the daily one does.