Really I don’t! And honestly I never have and probably never will. Let’s be honest….we can all tell by the way our pants fit if we have lost of gained (gulp) a few lbs. There are a few reasons I don’t believe that owning a scale is a healthy thing (for me personally) but the predominant reason is I know myself well enough to know I would become obsessed with the number staring back at me each day. And no, I don’t think I could be trusted to only step on it every once in a while so to avoid the drama of it all I just don’t have one anywhere near me.
Also, to be honest I have never been what most people think of as overweight. I have a naturally small frame but that does not mean that I can’t and don’t gain weight and there have not been points in my life where I have had extra layers of flab I have been less than proud of. A few months back when I decided it was time to get off my lazy butt and get back into the gym it was because I knew I had gained a few pounds and I wasn’t loving the way I was looking or feeling (mentally or physically). I wasn’t sure how much weight I had gained until I went to the doctor and they forced me on to a scale. Seeing that I had gained over ten pounds really shocked me a little bit and was the extra motivation I needed to really start paying attention to my health. So far I know this sounds like a glowing recommendation for why you SHOULD get on a scale but wait, there’s more.
Almost immediately after seeing that inflated number at the doctors office I kicked it into high gear, changed up my diet and started hitting the gym at least 5 days a week. Within a few months my pants were much looser, I could see some muscles forming that I hadn’t seen in years and my overall well-being was markedly improved. In a follow up visits to the doctor several months later, I was almost excited to get back on that scale and see how many pounds I had lost. When the nurse told me what my weight was and I realized I had only dropped four pounds I was immediately disappointed. I really thought I had lost those ten pounds and maybe even more. I went home, slightly ashamed with my perceived lack of progress and definitely feeling a little dejected. The next several days I did manage to get to the gym but I had lost a good deal of the spark and motivation I had previous to the last weigh in.
Then after a workout where I kinda went into it just to get it over with, I looked in the mirror. I saw someone staring back at me that I almost didn’t recognize. I saw muscles, specifically ab muscles that I hadn’t seen maybe ever. I saw a figure I was proud of. One that I almost couldn’t believe was mine. I realized that the number on the scale really wasn’t reflective of the progress I had actually made. My body looked significantly different to me than it had early in the year when I first started on this health journey. I realized I had indeed made large strides in getting back to a strong, toned physique. And just like that I was proud of myself and all my motivation came rushing back with a renewed force.
The problem with scales is that they don’t tell you the complete story of the health of your body and they are by no means an accurate representation of the your overall well-being. While I had only “lost” four pounds what that weigh in did not tell me was how many pounds of muscle I had gained among other factors. After all, muscle weighs substantially more than fat. The numbers on a scale are so subjective and can be influenced by so many things such as how much water a person has drank that day, what they have eaten, how much sodium was in the food they have eaten, their hormone levels that particular day….I could go on and on and on. For me, as is the case I would guess for a lot of other people out there, I had put so much stock into what the scale was telling me I almost let it derail a really important lifestyle change I was attempting to make.
To continue the honestly here, even before this journey I started on early this year, I never trusted myself enough to own a scale. I am someone who gets easily fixated on things whether healthy or unhealthy when it comes to my weight. I’ve known for a very long time it would not be smart for me to weigh in everyday if I wanted to keep my sanity and avoid starving myself to reach a number that may or may not be (most likely not be) a healthy body weight for my frame. I sincerely want to get healthy this time around, not stick thin. I want to take care of myself from the inside out and so far that mentality has made all the difference in the world. I am no longer concerned with what size my jeans are or obsessing about each and every calorie I am taking in over the course of a day. I am primarily concerned with FEELING good and that has in turned translated into me seeing my body take the shape of someone I am proud to look at in the mirror. This is a completely new feeling for me, one I didn’t even have when I was a size double zero. I am putting in the hard work and making the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve my goals and it has nothing to do with a number on a scale.
I want you all to know that if you are working hard to change you life, lose some weight, get in shape or just want to tone up a little, take cues from your body not a machine. If you are feeling better, have more energy, are sleeping better and just generally feel like you are getting healthier keep at it! Your body is thanking you and letting you know in all the right ways you are on the right track. Please please please don’t obsess over a number every single day. While it may be helpful to weigh in every once in a while, don’t get crazy and give up if some weeks that number fluctuates the wrong direction. Getting healthy is often times a slow process that by no means follows a straight line of continual improvement. The most important thing you can do is stay consistent to your goals and trust your body will respond to your hard work.