The scale sucks. It is capable of inducing emotions from elation to self-loathing all in the blink of an eye with one stupid number. It is responsible for my first bona-fide gym meltdown. Really, it was the perfect storm and the scale was just icing on the cake. I was frustrated with my lift numbers (particularly when compared to the impressive numbers from my fellow Miss Fits), I really wanted to drop a weight class for the upcoming meet, and then I stepped on the scale for my weekly weigh in. I had been following my nutrition plan religiously, even eliminating dairy which meant I was severely missing heavy cream in my coffee and feeling deprived. I couldn’t get past focusing on that number and when I showed up to the gym that morning I was a hot mess. Exercise always makes me feel better and I thought that would be the case that day too. Nope. I had to leave because I couldn’t stop crying. Really, a complete go-to-pieces fall apart, and I usually keep my shit together. Long story short, after a pep talk from our amazing trainer Jim, I stopped weighing weekly. Since I’m working with a nutrition coach, we decided to use measurements and pictures to gauge progress rather than a number. It’s much better for my head. Here are further reasons why the scale can suck it:
1. It doesn’t represent fat loss. This is the ultimate goal, right? I’d rather be muscular and fit at 180lbs than squishy and jiggly at 160lbs.
2. It doesn’t represent fitness. I’m choosing to focus on my numbers in the gym, and raising those, rather than lowering my numbers on the scale.
3. It doesn’t represent happiness. When I was well into the mid 200lbs I thought life would be great if I was some arbitrary other number. Life stressors don’t magically disappear when you lose weight.
4. It can sabotage your nutrition plan. This can go either way. If you’ve gained, it could start a spiral effect of poor food choices because what does it matter anyway? If you happen to have stuck to a clean diet and still gained weight, what’s the point? Eat the donuts! Or if you’ve lost, surely you deserve a treat…eat the donuts!
5. It can sabotage your workout plan. Same logic as #4. Skip a workout because it really doesn’t make a difference or skip a workout as a reward.
So, here’s what happened when I stopped focusing on the number on the scale. I made the lighter weight class at the meet, actually weighing less than I ever have in my adult life. I hit PR’s on all my lifts, and now hold state records in two weight classes. I’m pretty happy with that. There’s no more weekly stress and emotional rollercoaster from stepping on that stupid little box. I’m much more relaxed about my fitness goals since I know I’ll reach them and I’m in for the long haul. If you have similar weighing anxiety, I would encourage you to find other ways to measure progress. You can get a good idea based on how your clothes fit, accomplishments in the gym, or using monthly photos. On a side note, since switching to bulletproof coffee I no longer miss heavy cream in my coffee 🙂