The scale. I’ve written about this little tool before. I talk about it ’cause it makes me sad and crazy to see people under some burden of feeling their worth and value is somehow connected to what those numbers say.
Those numbers don’t make you a better or worse person… say that to yourself if you fall in that grouping.
I’ve come a long way in my relationship with it. From a love/hate to… ” I don’t need you anymore scale… I can ignore you and life is splendid without you”
Our relationship went to another level this week as I again reminded myself, in the overall context of my health, lean muscle mass, how I look, how I feel, and my athletic abilities, it’s irrelevant.
I don’t use it often… sometimes it’s a few times a year…
then there are just those times that I’m thinking I feel leaner and look it and there’s better definition to my muscles and so I hop on to just check it out…
that’s where I was this week… and that’s when it told me… nope… you’re still rocking along right where you’ve been almost forever….
Now that’s not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all. What I constantly drill through my head is the fact if I’m putting on muscle the scale might not change at all, even though my body does. ( note…you really have to workout for a while before you start claiming muscle weight. This won’t happen in 6-8 weeks) Compared to fat, muscle is much more compact and dense and contrary to things I hear people say, muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound.
But geeez…. you’d think with all I put myself through it would offer up something different.
Like hey here’s a consolation prize for busting your butt all the time!
I joke… but I don’t care anymore…
well.. I do…. but I don’t…
I’m smart enough to know and understand a healthy perameter I need to stay in. Beyond that… yeah.. I don’t care.
And I’ll speak this disclaimer here as well: we ALL have a healthy weight zone we need to be in for good health and an energetic lifestyle. You know if you have extra fat. You know it needs to go. In your journey to lose it, the scale is a tool, to show progress of less fat. Record your numbers and move on. Use it wisely then leave it alone.
I guess I can say that now 8 years into my health and fitness journey. I’ve learned a lot in these past few years about weight, the scale, my body, and the fact it’s an ongoing science experiment.
I’ve gone from having weight to lose, which I did in a slow, steady manner, almost 50 pounds to be exact. At that time, the scale definitely helped keep me moving towards my goals.
Fat had to go. I weighed in once a week. I accepted the results and didn’t let it define me or make me feel like a loser who needed to give up and quit. I didn’t expect instant results.
The fat did go. The goal had been to get “thin” (whatever that means )
I started running.. it was easy to keep pretty lean logging miles. Add to that training for marathons and logging 50-60 miles a week… I had the lowest body fat percentage I’d ever had in my life.
The scale tipped to a low point that was easy to maintain based on all those miles.
I just accepted those numbers for where I was at athletically.
I guess the thing I learned being new to athletic life is that when you train hard all the time, and come off it, your body adapts and settles back to a weight I believe, everyone has “pre-programmed” in them. It’s the place you can stay and not have to obsessively diet or watch every crumb that goes in your mouth.
You can easily maintain where you are.
I’ve learned that when I’m not in heavy training, I’ll carry about 5- 10 more pounds on me.
It’s been a revelation that I’m ok with…. mostly. I understand athletically there are seasons and my body will change based on what I’m doing.
Not burning up the road with so many miles has allowed my muscles to grow more and so there are parts of me that are more developed now and take up space…my body has responded to weight training by building muscle.
Other reasons why I’ve given up on the scale:
it doesn’t tell me I’m getting stronger.
it doesn’t reflect the creativity or thought processes that come from miles on the road.
it doesn’t reflect my overall health and well being.
It doesn’t define me as a person by whatever numbers roll up for that day.
it doesn’t take into account I’m a woman or where I’m at in my cycle.
it won’t reflect how well I perform on the bike or running.
it’s not going to applaud my good lab reports
it doesn’t define my worth or value.
The total number certainly doesn’t reflect I’m more lean muscle now than fat.
And finally, it definitely won’t tell me my jeans look good or offer me coffee 😉
What can you do or focus on besides the scale? Try some of these things:
How do you look in mirror?
Are your clothes fitting better?
How do you feel? Strong, confident, healthy? Do you have more energy? Can you move through your day strong and able to do daily tasks with ease?
Focus on action. Are you eating well? Do you have a consistent exercise or training program?
Do you have more self confidence and an overall better body image?
These are all good things to focus on other than the fickle and always changing numbers of a scale. Learning to do these things will give you a new mindset on viewing yourself and your relationship with the scale.
Ok, well this probably won’t be my last rant on the scale. If this made you laugh or smile a bit, good.
If you want to read more, check out my post, The Scale Experiment, where I literally charted my weight at various times through an entire 12 hours to show how much it fluctuates and changes in the day.
On your own journey of health and wellness I want you to embrace and love who you are…all along the journey. Yes, you might be on a course to lose some weight or you might be at your goal weight now and working on getting stronger and more fit. No matter where you are..love and embrace yourself on the journey… because that is where we really get to know ourselves… and don’t forget to celebrate all your victories along the way that have nothing to do with the scale.