For the next several weeks, every Wednesday, Never Buff Enough 2.0 will post on the topic of weight loss and living more healthfully and well-fully. This is the first entry in a series called “Five simple changes you can make RIGHT NOW to achieve your fitness goals”
Have you ever tried some diet, committed yourself to it, think you’re making progress, and then step on the scale, only to discover…
That little needle has not moved a single, blessed centimeter. Not one. Not one pound lost. Not even a measly little ounce. And that needle just stares back at you, mocking you and every single effort you’ve made at becoming healthier.
You feel defeated. Like maybe you just aren’t trying hard enough. Or you consider that maybe diets just don’t work for you.
And you do this, over and over again…
Until the disappointment becomes so unbearable that you throw your hands in the air, as well as the towel, and you grab the closest, crappiest thing you can find to eat, and you binge.
I’m not the only one, am I?
Ahhh….the scale. The dirty rotten scale.
I never did throw mine away, but I rarely get on it anymore. And it’s not because I’ve given up on being healthy. Quite the contrary.
I just don’t care what that number says.
This understanding didn’t just happen over night, rather it was a long and slow process as I came to learn that the scale only measures a number that identifies little more than your body’s total mass. It doesn’t provide an accurate and honest view of your actual body composition. I struggled with this concept and even wrote about it in February of 2013. I’ve come a long way since then.
So let’s think about what that number actually means.
Why are we obsessed with that number? When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you see a number? When people look at you, do they see that number?
Or do they see YOU?
They see you. You see you. And if you don’t like what you see in the mirror, what difference does that number on the scale make?
If you don’t like the way your clothes fit, what difference does that number on the scale make?
The scale, in my view, is just another attempt at The Man trying to keep us down. HAHA!
Look, weight is a combination of a lot of intricate features, and it will fluctuate greatly depending on your body’s total composition as well as what you eat and how much water you drink and how much water your body retains (Read a really interesting article here that busts the myth that muscle weighs more that fat.)
As you can see above, I weigh between 172 and 175 lbs. I’m 5’9. To look at me, most people probably don’t think I “weigh that much.” I’m relatively lean. On most days, I think. But that number is not really an accurate portrayal of what I LOOK like, and probably most of us are after a “look” rather than a specific number. We trick ourselves into believing that the number is the Holy Grail, so we set goals like “I wanna lose 25 pounds” or “I just wanna get down to my high school weight.” And then when we don’t hit those numbers, we chastise ourselves and feel like failures.
Total. Waste. Of. Your. Time.
A better use of your time would be determining what kind of LOOK you want for yourself. Choose a body role model– someone whose body you admire. Be reasonable in your choice. Don’t pick something unattainable for your body type. For instance, I’d LOVE to look like my hero, Dana Linn Bailey. But that ain’t gonna happen. For starters, she’s 5’4. I will never achieve her look because our bodies are so very different. If you took ten pounds of muscle density and distributed it evenly across either of our bodies, it would look totally different on her compared to how it would look on me. She has shorter limbs than I do, so her share would look bigger on her than they would on me. My muscles, simply because of my lengthier frame, are going to be longer, thus appearing smaller on me.
Erin Stern, another professional competitor, probably has a look that I could more readily achieve. She’s 5’8. So while I continue to have DLB as a source of my inspiration, I am attempting to achieve a look that is more in alignment with Erin Stern’s.
And I’m oversimplifying using someone else’s body type as a more attainable goal because you also have to consider body types– that mesomorph, ectomorph, endomorph thing…but I’m already saying too much….and the point that I wish to make is this…
The scale is a bitch.
So why did I even step on it in the first place? I haven’t been on a scale in over a year. I’ve learned my lesson about it. I now use the scale as a tool, not an indicator of how “fat” or “lean” I am. I don’t use it as a measure of my success or failure. I use it as a tool so that I could set some other goals for myself. Although I like what I see in the mirror, I’d like to still tighten it up a bit. I miss my abs. I miss those boulder shoulders and finely chiseled guns that I had. I want to see the fruits of my workout labor again. More clearly, I should say that I want to see more muscle and less of the layer of fat that rests atop them. I want my size 8 jeans to fit a little less snug-ly. And more vainly, it’s summer….and I wanna look hot in my bikini!!!
So I got on the scale so that I could give myself a guesstimate of where I should set my calories. And that’s a whole other complicated story that I’ll write about in another post, but I know that for weight loss FOR ME, I need to take my current body weight and multiply that by 10 and that will give me a rough estimate at about where my calorie intake should be if my goal is to burn fat. So, I’m currently taking in around 1700-1800 calories.
But just like the scale, I do not fixate on those numbers either. That’s another upcoming post– counting calories. Another waste of time.
The takeaway for now?
Find a hiding place for your scale.
Better yet– have someone else hide it for you.
Stay off of it.
And take a good, honest look in the mirror instead. Take notice of how your clothes feel and how comfortable you feel in your own skin.
If you are happy with that, then keep doing what you’ve been doing.
And if you’re not happy, what can you do to get yourself happy?
Knowing that number on that scale isn’t going to make you happy; in fact, there’s greater chance it will make you feel defeated.
And no one wants to be defeated.
Go! Go do it! Hide that scale! Right now!
And let me know here in the comments that you’ve joined the revolution in focusing on a look, and not that pesky stupid number.
In part two of this series, I’ll write about the importance of adding more water to your life 🙂 Stay tuned!