How do you define fitness or weight loss “progress”? Is it the number on the scale each morning? Many of us would say “YES”, right?! After all, we’re wired to attach a number to something we’re working so hard on and call it “progress”.
Throughout the highs and lows of our lifelong fitness journey, we tend to become slaves to the dreaded scale. Waking up every morning, putting ourselves through teeth clenching agony, “Please God let it be 20 pounds less than yesterday’s weigh in.” Okay I’m being a bit dramatic, but ugh, why do we do this to ourselves? Goodness, what happens when we gain a pound or two? “I’ll just have 5 almonds and a baby carrot for lunch.” OMG, stop!!!
The truth is, defining “progress” on the scale alone isn’t enough. Muscle is extremely dense and more compact and just 5 pounds of muscle would take up significantly less volume than 5 pounds of fat. Additionally, the more muscle you have, the more your body is able to power itself throughout the day which results in maximum calories burned and pounds lost. Ladies, start lifting! So…”progress”. What does it really mean to you? Is it inches lost? The way your clothes fit? What about “mental progress”?! That deserves a monsoon of respect; increased energy, memory, cognitive thinking, positive mood, productivity and more. Unfortunately we fail to recognize any of these due to our obsession with the 11.4″(w) x 11″(h) bathroom scale. Any “Office Space” fans out there? In all sincerity, focus on what really matters. Your body is a magnificent machine and the fact that muscle weighs more than fat is beyond our control. Strong is the new “skinny”. Put away the damn scale (stop obsessing), take measurements to track inches lost and start paying attention to how you feel!
My moment of truth. Approximately 5-6 years ago I was at my lowest weight (98 pounds). Numeric progress was an obsession of mine both professionally and personally. So naturally, the scale was my bff! I was the perfect example of the term “skinny fat”. Before you begin diagnosing medical issues, let me assure you that I was perfectly healthy. The issue was that I worked 900 hours a week all while planning my own wedding. Some people eat when they’re stressed, others don’t even remember what food is (that’s me). Looking back, I definitely had my priorities wrong; work #1, wedding #2, me #3, but that’s a whole separate post in itself (how to eat clean in a hectic, busy lifestyle). Now, at 108 pounds I workout 5 days a week, I’m eating cleaner than ever before AND I’m wearing the same size clothes from my 98 pound days.
To sum things up, promise me that you’ll trust the process, trust your body and stay motivated! If you must weigh yourself, do it. But, try to scale (totally meant that one too) back to once a week along with taking measurements once a month. Don’t allow anything to take you off course and never give up on yourself.