June 3, 2006

Science experiment (aka freedom)

E & I recently acquired a body fat analyzer scale. Yeah, that's what happens when you give people a gift card for their wedding present. They just may buy a body fat scale and some replacement sonicare heads with it. Sorry if you had something else in mind, but we took the "good on any item" slogan to heart and this is what we chose, so thanks.

Anyways, since the scale arrived, we've been running all sorts of experiments. See, I spent several years trapped in spandex at the gymnastics gym and then later at the pool. I loved my time there, but HATED the role that the scale played in the lives of the majority of the girls'/womens' lives who surrounded me. They were fearful of the scale. It meant something about their self worth. It represented everything about who they could or couldn't be. It was a terrible thing. So, between them and my mother, I've been on strike and never really had a scale to play with on a day to day basis.

But now, I do. And I'm studying for the bar. So, I'm going a little crazy. And here are some of the useful tidbits I have learned from the scale:

1. If you don't like the % bodyfat readout that the personalized scale gives you, and you are female, just tell it you are a male. That'll fix it right up. Other options include rounding up your height and decreasing your age. (I'm still puzzling out the algorithm that takes the bioimpedance and combines it with the personalized data you give it to come up with a number.)

2. A 4 mile run in 85 degree heat results in about 2% of my body weight in water loss. The scale has at least some commitment to reality of body fat, because it did at least show that my body fat % went up despite the lost weight.

3. A 6 mile run in 70 degree heat results in the same thing as 4 miles at 85 degrees. Take home: for overall health, it's worth waiting 'til later in the day to take that run.

4. A night of sleep after a barbeque and 4 glasses of wine/champagne results in 3.5% of my body weight in water loss. Ergo, if you want to lose weight, clearly, you should drink and sleep more instead of exercise. [grin] I'm kidding, of course. The real take home is that you shouldn't work out in the heat after a night of drinking. How amazing is it that you can lose 3.5% of your body weight while sleeping? Granted, I was the girl whose coach required she bring a towel to gymnastics practice because she was so sweaty, so maybe that's not normal. But still, I'm in awe of the human body.

5. A super burrito for lunch, sitting still for barbri and bar studies all day, and mexican food for dinner (mas chips? si, por favor!) results in 5.1 lbs of weight difference between the AM and the PM. 5.1 lbs in the positive direction. In one day. That's a large weight change for anyone. I'm not a particularly big person. But I do have a big appetite. Even our favorite server knows so, he came to our table tonight and asked me, "Tiene hombre hambre?" and then looked at E and laughed, saying, "Ella tiene siempre hombre hambre." E, of course, responded, "Es verdad, mi amigo!" I didn't disappoint. Good thing I can sweat out almost all of those big appetite pounds I put on by putting away a few stiff drinks and going to sleep...

Anyways, the plan for us is to watch both the weight and fat percentage numbers to make sure they don't move too much in the upward direction. It's barbeque season and we have a tendency to swing a little too far in the voluptuous direction by labor day than we'd like. Plus, there are always pictures at labor day. We're always at our laughable fattest come labor day. Other than avoiding bad labor day pictures, we've hit the point in our lives where we should probably watch our weight as an act of health. So, we're doing it.

It's refreshing to finally be free of the scales I knew as an athlete and young female. This instrument doesn't represent the self-hatred and desire to measure up that so many scales in locker rooms have represented to me in the past. This instrument doesn't remind me of the scale my mother kept in her bathroom for her entire life and used as a reminder that all she was going to do was eat carrots for the day. This scale has nothing to do with my enjoyment of food and the other things in life. I don't need to rebel against this scale. It is merely something to help us maintain our life for as long as possible. It's just our cute little appliance that has been tricked into thinking I'm a boy. It's just a silly scale.

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