Forget the Scale

Great blog entry from Athleta on WHY you need to forget the scale and focus on inches and the way your clothes fit….

 

Original Blog Entry: Forget the Scale

May 10, 2013 By 

My latest life’s lesson came to me during my recent doctor’s visit when I had to step on the scale. I was actually reminded of a lesson learned long ago, and the reason I don’t own a scale.

Sandy Sanders forgets the scaleBack in the day, I USED to be a slave to the scale. Had it still been back in the day, I would have been MORTIFIED at what I saw during my weigh in. I thought my weight was around 115/120 lbs – the ideal weight I’d set for myself YEARS ago. Like many I know, this was some ‘magic’ number I pulled out of my arse. There was no medical reasoning behind it; and no nutritionist or doctor prescribed it. It was just a weight that I “felt good at.” Well, these days I feel great so I figured I was hovering at my “great weight.” Imagine my surprise when the scale registered almost 130 lbs. At first I thought, “Surely the scale must be broken,” as I stood there and stared at the numbers. Then I realized it was a doctor’s office and I was pretty sure their equipment was working properly.

Other than momentarily surprising me, seeing my actual weight didn’t do anything to me. Ask me if back in the day a vision like that wouldn’t have sent my 5’2” frame RUNNING to the treadmill and pool! But the only thing it did was cause me to make a mental note, so that I could share one of my life’s lessons (or unsolicited advice ;-) ) with any members of my Athleta family who might be slaves to their scales.

I wasn’t at all bothered by 130. Heck, I don’t even mind putting my weight out there like that. There’s a reason I don’t own a scale – those numbers no longer mean a thing to me. The TRUE test is how my clothes fit, whether or not I can maintain the paces I’m used to while racing, or whether my race times are improving. THOSE are my only indications of my fitness level.

I have this friend who started working out. Excitedly, she watched the numbers on her scale drop, then became frustrated as she later saw the numbers climb. I asked her how her clothes fit and she said that they had become loose. I asked her if she really heard what she was telling me. The woman was LOSING inches, yet was frustrated by what the scale showed.

So my life lesson is actually a bit of unsolicited advice for my awesome friends out there, either starting on or feeling stagnant in their health and fitness journey: Please do not be a slave to the scale. Sure, scales may be great initially (because as you watch the numbers drop, you see your progress quantified), but as you continue to exercise, your muscle density will increase, and your fat will decrease, and the scale will start to tip heavier. That’s when you need to put “your friend” away… far away. Heck, even give it away. At that point, your motivating friend becomes your demotivating albatross. Don’t let that albatross weigh you down so much that you get frustrated to where working out is no longer fun and exciting, but frustrating and treadmill-ish – where you seem to be running in place and getting nowhere, and losing no weight.

So f(orget) the scale, and pay attention to things such as your endurance level as you’re working out, and the way your clothes fit. If you’re able to workout longer without getting winded, or you’ve run that 5K just a little bit faster, then that should tell you something right there. And just as your clothes told you that you were getting a bit heavier as they hugged you a bit tighter, they’ll also tell you that there’s less of you to hug as you’re toning up and getting fitter.

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Stumbling is Not Falling! AKA Sh*t Happens.

Okay so I’ll admit it… I am not always the perfect example of health and disciplined eating.  No matter how hard I try and how strict I am about my eating and exercising habits- slip-ups happen. I skipped two workouts last week and ate and drank my way into a caloric coma  with my very best girlfriend. Whoops- but it was completely worth it and we had a great time!

What I DID NOT next do was go off the deep end and eat everything in sight!  I got my butt back in the gym and scheduled an extra Saturday workout for myself and my boot camp participants.  However, this experience got me thinking about the minor setbacks and mistakes that we all make in our “fitness” habits.  We can learn a lot about ourselves from the manner in which we choose to learn from our errors and move forward.  A bad choice is not the end of the world.  Just “grrrl up” and track that piece of cake and glass of wine and move on…

Here are some tips from an article about what to do when you fall off the diet wagon by Connie Bennett as published in the Huffington Post.

“Stumbling is not falling.” ~Portuguese Proverb  

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1. Be sweetly accepting.

If you ate those no-no foods and ignored your good intentions, now is not the time to beat up on yourself. Instead, use your “falling down” to shower yourself with warmth, sympathy and compassion. Yes, you turned to junk food. Now, graciously accept that reality and get ready to move on.

2. Embrace your humanity.

People who are addicted to sugar or junk food or who often overeat tend to expect themselves to be perfect. Of course, that’s simply not possible. In fact, planning for perfection instead paves the way for a big letdown. So, now that you’ve “fallen,” use this as an opportunity to accept and welcome the fact that you’re human. That means you’ll make “mistakes” or slip from time to time. So what? Admitting your humanity can be quite freeing.

3. Give thanks for your “failure.”

This tip may seem counter intuitive, but I invite you to try to be grateful for your slip. Be thankful that you ate junk foods or fell off the healthy-food wagon. Be appreciative that you behaved in an unloving manner to yourself. Now turn your “failure” into something positive. In other words, take your slip and turn it into a transformational teaching moment.

4. Commit to grow.

Now that you realize the value of your “failure” and how it can become an amazing learning experience, accept that this may be the impetus you needed to finally pick healthy foods on a regular basis or to finally lick your bad habit (what I call a babit™). Now, search inside and commit to do whatever it takes so you can grow to reach your goal.

5. Get going with gusto.

It’s now time to slip on those sneakers (metaphorically and in reality) so you can begin again. After all, don’t you get more excited, impassioned and committed when you begin a project?

6. Watch the horrible outcome of your slip.

At this point, I invite you to study how bad you feel because of your sugar or carb spree or other counter-productive pursuits. For at least four days, keep a diary in which you write down the results of your binge, whether your reactions are emotional, physical or spiritual. Admit how your unhealthy habit is leading to horrible headaches, excessive exhaustion, embarrassing irritability, blowing up at co-workers or annoying “brain fog.” When you dispassionately study yourself in this manner, you’ll easily call to mind these horrible outcomes the next time you’re tempted to veer off the track. In fact, remembering how bad you felt can help you to stay on course next time and conquer your sugar temptation or other bad habit.

7. Dwell on what you really, really, really want.

Now that you’ve accepted your humanity, thanked your failure and observed how your sugar slip harmed you, think about what you want. As fitness instructor Patricia Moreno likes to say likes to recommend, think about what you really want in the depths of your being. (Patricia talks about this concept in her s exciting new book, The IntenSati Method: The Seven Secret Principles to Thinner Peace.) In other words, do you really, really, really want to be sugar-free, full of energy, slim, trim, toned, sexy, happier and more enticing to yourself and others? Kicking sugar and eating real food — the kind that grows on trees, pops out of the ground or swims in the ocean — can give you all of that and more. So zero in on the many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits that eating healthy will give you.

8. Create a vision board.

Now that you’ve decided you really, really, really want to go sugar-free or eat healthier foods because of the many benefits, I invite you to actually illustrate your goal. By this, I mean, create a vision board where you paste on photos, words and images that capture what your new, healthier life will look like. You can learn how to do this by reading The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz. Look at your vision board every day and make sure when you look at it that you also relish the glorious feelings that your new, healthier life would give you. Even better, do powerful “feelingizations,” as Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life With the Law of Attraction, puts it. (Ford coined this appropriate word to convey that when you visualize, you really feel them.)

9. Proclaim your freedom.

Now that you’re getting back on track, create one powerful affirmation or mantra and repeat it over and over all day long. You can clean your house or work out while you repeat your affirmation. (Of course, the power and effectiveness of affirmations are discussed in the bestselling film and book,The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.)

10. Make a pleasing plan.

When starting a healthy diet or new way of eating, it’s always wise to figure out in advance what, when and where you’ll eat. It’s a good idea to choose ample, modest amounts of protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbs such as vegetables and low-sugar fruits at every snack or meal. So I encourage you now to decide what, when and where you’ll dine or snack tomorrow. Put it in writing. As you begin anew, remind yourself why you’re doing this. You may want to lose weight. You may want to get more energy. You want to have better relationships with your loved ones. You may want to be sexy and svelte. Or you may want to be more productive.

Always remember, by giving up sugar or junk food, choosing healthier foods and/or dumping other bad habits, you will instead live a happier, healthier, more meaningful life.