It’s certainly true that if weight loss is your only goal, then that number on the scale matters a lot. But I’m willing to guess that most people that say they want to lose weight really want to be healthier and have a healthier lifestyle. True, a healthy lifestyle and weight loss go hand in hand in many cases, but focusing too much on the “weight loss” part of things can potentially lead one to ignore the “healthier lifestyle” part.
As a ballet dancer, I became conscious of my body and what it looked like around the age of nine. I remember my dance teacher lining us all up to see what we weighed; and I remember watching all the teenage girls try to hide the number from their friends and being mortified at the number on the scale. This sort of behavior is pretty common with women, to the point where if a guy even dare asks a women how much she weighs he will be subject to an onslaught of verbal abuse coupled with some angry stares and slapping.
So it seems pretty clear: Your weight matters. So it follows that when women (and probably a lot of men) start trying to lose weight they pay a lot of attention to what that devilish device called the scale says.
I am going to try to convince you to stop.
Why? Because, like I said… the scale is a devilish device and we should end it’s power over us.
Weight loss is not linear
Do you weight yourself daily? I use to. I know a lot of my friends on MyFitnessPal do. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, providing you are able to maintain your sanity. But if you are anything like me, the constant fluctuations or a general lack of movement will push you to the brink of bat shit craziness and the slightest increase in weight will discourage you. For some people this is enough to push them to the extreme measures of starvation or purging… both of which will make you a sad panda.
But the truth is, your weight will fluctuate constantly and you should probably just come to terms with that. So many factors can contribute to a slight weight increase or decrease including but not limited to: your water intake, your workout routine, the last time you ate, what you ate the last time you ate, where you are in your “lady cycle”, whether or not you have poo’d recently, sodium intake, the phase of the moon, your sleeping habits, stress, that cupcake you eye raped two days ago, prescription medicines, your fiber intake (back to the poo thing)… I could go on (not really… I ran out of ideas) but you get the point. So rather than risk getting upset with every moon induced ounce gain, weight yourself less often. If you are unable to detached yourself from the scale, then keep track of your daily weight. Chances are, if you are doing things right, even with fluctuations the general patten will be a decrease.
There are other (more awesome) things that matter
On MyFitnessPal… the phrase Non-Scale Victory (NSV) gets tossed around a lot, and with good reason. These are the things that have changed for you regardless of what that stupid bathroom contraption is saying. They can be small victories ( I once read a post about someone being excited to be able to paint her toe nails) or they can be huge ( being about to fit two of you in your old pants) or anywhere in between. I’m here to argue that these non-scale victories can be more telling than the number on the scale because they can tell you a lot more about what is going on in your body.
For the past two months I have been slowing increasing the amount of food I eat. Because of this the scale has not budged (this happens while your body adjusts to eating more). But I’ve had plenty of NSVs in the past couple months, and I seem to celebrate them a lot more than a pound lost.
While I’ve been steadily the same weight for months:
I’ve increased the number of push ups I can do in a row (without pausing) from 15 to 38
I am one bent knee away from perfecting this:
A pair of old pants which, upon losing the first 8 pounds, I fit into again are now a little loose on the waist (this is always the first place pants stop fitting for me)
I’m much less of a hungry, cranky bitch ( I hope Husband will attest to that)… or I at least feel like much less of a hungry cranky bitch
All of my shorts and most of my swim suits from living in Hawaii are too big
and my ultimate non-scale victory
when I weighed myself the other day for the first time in a month and it was STILL at the same weight… instead of crying… I shrugged and then ate breakfast with a smile on my face.
I hope that something I’ve said here has convinced you to put a little less stock in scale and more into other aspects of a healthy lifestyle. But if not… in a last ditch attempt to convince you that the scale isn’t everything… allow me to introduce you to Staci.