Toss Your Scale!
Obsessed with your scale? The number staring back at you is not the best measure of your health or progress in weight loss.
Are you one of those people that get caught up in the number on the scale? I try not to get on a scale unless I absolutely have to. Why you ask? Because even though I know better, I can admit that I’m guilty of allowing that number to mess with me mentally. I think as women we’re sort of wired to think this way. Today really put things in perspective for me and reinforced what I already know: the scale is not the best measure of one's progress in health and fitness.
Today was my annual checkup at the doctor’s and of course that meant I had to get on the dreaded scale. Being there at the same doctor’s office that delivered my children flashed me back to those days for a brief moment. Even though I already knew my weight, for some reason I was shocked to see the number staring back at me. I weigh only 1 pound less than the day I gave birth to my first child 18 years ago! Gulp! Yes, you read that right: I weigh about the same today as I did when I was nine months pregnant! What?!
You might be wondering what entire buffet including the plates and table I ate for dinner last night (believe me I almost fell off the scale too!). Sounds crazy, right? But here’s the reality: I was thin and had very little muscle back then. I gained 20 pounds during that pregnancy, I had a 7 lb 5 oz baby and the rest was normal pregnancy weight gain. Fast forward through 18 years. I lost all of the pregnancy weight after my first child, then had a couple more babies and lost the weight again. I got back to training hard, started eating clean, worked my butt off in the gym every single time I worked out, and I haven’t missed a single workout since my last baby was 6 weeks old (she’s 11 now). Over that time I’ve gradually added lean muscle. My body fat is about 15-20% lower, I’m smaller, more fit and healthy, and nothing jiggles (well, most of the time anyway!).
So even though I may not be too keen on the number staring back at me, I like how I now look and I also love how much better I feel. That’s why I try not to get on a scale if I don’t have to. No more daily morning weight checks and getting myself caught up in the number, and no more negative thinking because of what the scale says. It's important to understand that muscle is dense. It weighs more than fat but takes up less space. The scale does not account for your BMI nor can it measure a person’s health, so focusing on that number can be frustrating and misleading. Not to mention, everyone’s bodyweight fluctuates on a daily basis and getting hung up on those slight fluctuations can (unnecessarily) sway your mood and behavior.
So, how do I measure my progress then? By looking in the mirror, how my clothes fit, and by paying closer attention to how I feel. Am I more energetic? Stronger? Do I have more endurance? Am I sleeping well? Less stressed? Am I making healthy nutritional choices? All of these things help determine how I'm doing in terms of health and fitness in addition to staying on top of yearly doctor’s exams and blood work.
So here’s to forgetting that number on the scale and just appreciating years and years of consistent hard work, eating clean, and feeling great!