Scales Are Bad

Ok. Let me clarify. Scales in and of themselves are not bad since they are just plastic and metal and they are just doing what scales do...weigh things. But what they don't do is take into account your feelings; like how hard you've been working out, and how great you've been eating, and how good you look today. They are just so insensitive.

They're just being honest you say? I disagree.They don't tell the whole truth. They don't account for your fat loss, your muscle gain, and how great you look in your jeans. I have chosen to stay away from scales. In fact, I stayed off of them for almost 20 years. I even turned around at the doctors' office so I wouldn't know...even when I was pregnant. I knew those numbers weren't a true indication of my fitness and that knowing those numbers would only mess with my mind - so I abstained. But I had a relapse about eight months after I had my 2nd child. I thought it would be fun to watch the little numbers get littler since I was already working out and I knew I was losing my baby weight (by the way my clothes fit). I had a target poundage I was shooting for and I was confident I would reach it since I wasn't that far away.  I mean, what harm could it do? And at first it was fun. Every week the numbers went down a little more, and a little more, until one day, it stopped. And it didn't budge. Week after week...same, same, SAME! I tried shifting my diet, upping my workout...nothing!! Meanwhile, back at the gym, friends and acquaintances where making kind comments and acknowledging and patting my back at my new shape. So that would make me feel good, right? But I'd go home, weigh myself and --- %$!* SCALE! Never mind my clothes were getting looser, never mind strangers were asking me for workout tips, never mind I had to buy new clothes sizes. I allowed that scale to bully me for months. And then I stood up to it. "YOU will not control me anymore! YOU, are a liar”. And that was that. I didn’t step on it again.

And this is even more interesing - After that "blue period" when I was standing on the scale wayyy to often, when those number refused to move no matter what I did or how insanely hard I worked, when more than a year later and right before my first Figure Competition, when I was the leanest and most muscular I had ever been in my life, I decided to step on the scale again, just to see how far I'd come. After all, I must have rocked the scale by now. You know how much I weighed? Exactly the same as when I left it a year earlier! A little mind blowing.

It really was at that moment that I finally truly got it. -----> Weight doesn’t determine how you look.

Read that again -----> Weight doesn’t determine how you look.

Body composition does. And that’s what I’d changed. Before training, I had more body fat and less muscle with no real shape but I swapped that to more muscle, less body fat with the magical powers of food and workout. The scale number didn’t change but my body was completely different; every inch of me from my shoulders, arms, abs, quads, calves, even my stink’n forearms were transformed. I was smaller, leaner, more muscular and I couldn't be happier. The scale number was meaningless.

Here’s your takeaway -
If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, then use the scale as a guide because initially, the numbers should be going in the down direction. Get within 5 -10 lbs of your target weight, and discard the scale promptly. If you absolutely MUST get on the scale, then check your weight no more than once a week and at the same time of day (mornings are best). There are too many body fluctuations from one day to the next (a salty meal, a hard workout that has caused your body to retain water, that time of the month) to get an accurate reading of your progress. And frankly, for most people, the ups and downs will drive you nuts and for some, it's reason for giving up and you don't want to do that. Remember, as you workout, you may be building lean muscle which is denser causing the scale to stagnate (like in my case) or may even cause it to go up a bit. But here's what's happening - Imagine a cube filled with pudding. Now imagine that same cube filled with sand. Same space, but the sand cube will weigh more because sand (muscle) is denser than pudding (fat).

Here are 4 BETTER ways to judge your progress besides a scale:

1. Clothes. Try on your "little pants”, or shorts, or jeans. Perhaps these are pants of yesteryear or your goal-pants, either way they are a better indication of “reshapification”  than the scale.

2. Feedback factor. If people are telling you that you look great, smaller, tighter, even more amazing than you already are, believe them! Why else would they say it? Ok, some may have ulterior motives, but your friends don't. It gets hard to see your own gains after awhile and we generally aren't objective when judging our own body.

3. Tape measure. If you love numbers, measure body parts. Be aware though that some inches may go up, but in a good way. If you’re working legs, you may grow some quads which is beautiful lean muscles. But if you’re eating well and consistently having great workouts, many body areas will decrease as overall body fat should be dropping.

4. Photos. You can pull out old photos and compare or start creating new ones. Take full body shots from different angles or take pictures of a target area. Don’t take them more often than every 2 or 3 weeks so you can actually see change.

 

The moral of my story and this post

Weight is one tiny piece of your overall body puzzle which has hundreds of pieces. Don’t look at one tiny piece to access a huge picture.

And most importantly: 

Don't use the scale to measure your self-worth.

 

 

 

photo by Ryan McGuire