The Jacksons, Week 29: The Scale Does Not Tell All

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge


I'm still losing it.

Weight, that is. And it feels good.

For a brief moment, I also shed a little baggage, albeit temporarily, when I let go of a longtime source of anxiety: namely, the scale, my longtime arch nemesis, which I faced recently during a routine doctor's visit. Despite the angst that was building in me, I even forced myself to keep my eyes open as the nurse recorded my weight. I still didn't look at the scales, actually, but instead asked my doctor about the reading a few minutes later.

Yes, it sounds silly, but you all know how I hate the scales.

The verdict? So far I've lost about 20 pounds since the beginning of the Healthy Families Challenge in September. I'm so very proud of that. And I intend to drop more pounds before the end of this ambitious adventure in May.

But if you're going to judge my "success," I'd ditch the scale -- blecchhh -- for a tape measure, instead. I'll expand and contract that flexible ribbon all day long, if I can continue to gauge my smaller waistline, arm circumference and the other reduced measurements I feel.

deidra jackson lunges picture

I would have enjoyed playing tennis with my trainer, but instead, she had lunges, squats and other circuit-training exercises waiting for me on the courts. Credit: Jenn Hall

All the pants I've worn lately are baggy and I've had to tie a knot in the waistband of my pajamas just to keep them from falling down. I'm not as easily winded when climbing stairs, and I can endure more reps, lift more weight and add more challenges to my rigorous workout routines. My stamina has boosted tremendously, and I'm definitely feeling the benefits. More staying power and increased energy means I can do more and for a greater length of time.

Wow, I feel like the Bionic Woman.

It's a 1970s pop culture reference that probably would be lost on today's young folks, like my son, Jackson, but I try to fill him in on such important historical details when I can. It reminds me of the time I told him about the late fitness and exercise expert and bodybuilder Jack LaLanne, who died in January at age 96. I still remember watching his popular fitness TV show as a child.

These days, Jack knows I'm not a pushover, physically. Jack and I probably play rough-house more than the average 40-ish-year-old mother and 12-year-old son; I'm no spry pre-teen, but he'd agree that I can give him a run for his money in our mock kickboxing matches.

I felt so full of pep one day that I immediately told my personal trainer, Jenn Hall of the University of Mississippi Department of Campus Recreation. She responded in-kind, with an intense indoor and outdoor circuit-training activity. Out on the tennis courts, she set up three different stations, where I would perform several sessions of cardio exercises, such as running, jumping jacks and lunges, in between consecutive rounds of resistance and strength training with elastic bands, free weights and the existing tennis spectator bench for stepping. I ran through each of the stations four times, not focusing on speed, but rather power, at her direction.

Enhancing cardio workouts with strength training (weights and resistance) performed in a repetitive fashion, is key to burning calories, Jenn said.

When I know I'm pushing my body and mind to work hard and outlast these sessions, that's success to me. Even without a scale at home, I know that these consistent fat-burning exercises and a healthy diet are helping me to slowly chisel my body.

Still, I'd hate to have my good spirits dashed by stepping on a scale and discovering that, despite my best efforts, I haven't melted away any measurable weight. And, yes, it seems absurd as I write it, to put so much stock in those numbers. However, that's primarily how I've measured my success the past months -- the telltale weight-loss figures.

It's the less subtle things I notice with regard to my weight loss. It's a joy to see evidence that my clavicle, or collarbone, does, indeed, exist. It doesn't jut dramatically from below my neck like [name your Hollywood starlet du jour here], but it's much more pronounced than it was before this amazing health-and-fitness regimen took over my life.

Incidentally, I'm gearing up for another competitive walk/run in less than two weeks. This time, a 10k. Am I pushing it?

I hope so.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.



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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.