Hey everyone! I’m super excited about today’s post. Not that I’m not usually excited when I develop a new recipe or food insight that I want to share with you guys, but today’s post is extra special.
Erica Suter is a great professional contact and personal friend. We actually went to high school together, but reconnected about a year ago when she was prepping for her first bikini competition and has some nutrition questions for me. She has fantastic insights about fitness, health, and overall wellness, and I’m super proud to say I know her!
In today’s post, Erica provides some great ideas about a concept that might be scary to some of you: weighing yourself. There are a lot of theories out there about how often you should weigh yourself (or even if you need to weigh yourself). This post explores Erica’s personal battle with the scale, and could offer some inspiration for you too!
I deserve a round of applause. Well, actually a standing ovation.
Is this because I discovered the cure for erectile dysfunction disorder?
Did I finally get married?
Did I get my 506th Tinder match?
Did I re-watch all Lord of the Rings movies in one sitting without taking a bathroom break?
Yes, these are monumental life milestones. But what is even more amazing is today marks the one year anniversary of me NOT weighing myself. Clap it up, people!
Last November, I ran out of my apartment like a lunatic, tossed the scale in the dumpster, and cheerfully jumped up and down. I’m awesome.
You see…the scale and I broke up due to the unhealthy nature of our relationship: it was a love-hate, a do-don’t, a rejoice-cringe, a f*ck yes-then a f*ck no!…okay, you get the point. Even on days when I was feeling groovy after an intense workout, I still feared stepping on the scale to see what my number was. What if I’m the same? More? WAYYYYY more? Yikes. The usual was my heart racing before seeing the final verdict on the damn thing. And truthfully, I can’t remember a single time when I was excited, bouncing off the walls, doing back flips, super pumped and ready to weigh myself. LOL.
However, back then I believed it was the only means to measure my self worth. Gained ten pounds? I wasn’t training hard enough. I was fat. I was unworthy. I was lazy. And the body shaming went on and on and on…
It can become an unending spiral for all of us. One day we all want to lose belly fat. The other day we want to have leaner legs. And another day we want 5 more pounds gone. Maybe even 15. Or 20. Anddddd down the rabbit hole we go into the most subjective sport on Earth: “looking good enough.”
However the reality is looking good enough doesn’t depend on just ONE single metric like the scale. Nor should it place value on you as a person.
HOLY SH*T. YES.
The scale is indeed *one* tool to measure the total mass of your body and while it may sound superrrr legit, what if you weigh yourself naked? Cut off your arm? Trim your hair? You’ll probably weigh less. Or drink 2 gallons of water with a ton of sodium dense foods in a day? Water weight, anyone?
Ok, now we’re onto something earth shattering.
Measuring your weight does give us a way to track progress.
It’s just one way of displaying it.
What about the way you feel? How many pull ups you can do? How your clothes fit? How much lean muscle mass you have? How much stronger your glutes got?
Strong glutes will add to the number on the scale. It’s progress.
And if your waist measurement goes down, but your weight is the same, it’s also cool. It’s still progress.
Or you can see definition in your back, but you’ve gained a few pounds, it’s cool. That’s called increasing lean muscle mass. PROGRESS. Check.
As another example, consider the following photos:
124 pounds, frail as ever:
On the flip side – 145 pounds, fit as ever:
Almost a 20 pound weight gain, but a much more radiating and vibrant young woman with optimal body composition (secret: that picture was taken post-eating 5 doughnuts…oops). I’ll happily say farewell to the days of 12% body fat, being sub 130 pounds, and freezing my t*ts off in 60 degree weather. Where the f*ck is my essential fat to insulate my organs?!?!
How to Ditch the Scale
So before you weigh yourself next and have a panic attack like the rest of us, remember it says little about your overall body composition and value as a human being. Chasing a single number ends up becoming a losing game that is obsessive, unhealthy and self destructive. Sure, achieving a certain weight makes you feel good at a finite moment in time, but it won’t solve your issues of self loathing and body shaming. What you can do is focus on aligning yourself with meaningful measures of progress.
- Below are some examples of progress tracking that have nothing to do with a number:
- Improved lean muscle mass
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Enhanced energy
- Increased muscular strength
- Improved mental focus
- Heightened drive for “sexy time”
- Being able to walk up your driveway without gasping for air
- Being able to lug several bags of groceries without breaking a sweat
The scale can be good from a health and wellness standpoint for specific cases, and to jumpstart a drastic change in one’s life. But for the majority of us, it should not be the make-or-break of our day. That’s when it becomes problematic.
So let’s navigate progress via other avenues. Let’s find happiness without a number. Let’s nourish self-love beyond pounds.
That’s my $0.02 What do you think?
About the Author: Erica Suter is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a USA Weight Lifting Sport Performance Coach based in Baltimore, MD. She’s a lover of soccer, dead lifts, and sports psychology. Her language is heavy sarcasm and her drink of choice is a mojito. She likes long, romantic walks in nature by herself, but she never takes life too seriously. You can visit her site to learn more about women’s strength and mindset training at www.ericasuter.com