I Want to Throw Away My Scale
Sometimes I want to throw my scale away… but I wont.
And so my love hate relationship with my scale continues. You may have a similar relationship with your scale. Maybe your scale stares at you from the floor as you use the bathroom each morning. Or if you are like me, it’s tucked under your bed in a glass box which reads “break only in case of emergency”.
I don’t weigh myself often. I really don’t find it necessary most of the time, other than to prove that the scale can be quite silly if you measure your success by your weight alone. Most people who guess my weight guess lower than it actually is. I don’t look as much as I weigh. I have a lot of lean muscle that causes the numbers on the scale to be high, yet I now fit into a smaller size than the day I was married.
However, after the holidays, I had to break that imaginary glass box encasing my scale. I wanted an idea of what my “numbers” were. And by numbers I don’t mean just my weight (which I will explain further in a moment).
I had stuck with clean eating over these last couple holiday/winter months, but I was eating much more of the sweet treats I love so much. And it all began to appear on my waistline. Yes, even eating too many wonderful date sweetened brownies can be a bad thing.
Now, I wouldn’t by any means call myself fat or even pudgy. I just had a little more “insulation” for the winter months. And while normally this would be a plus in the cold state of Minnesota…. I was not fitting quite as comfortably in my clothes as I would like. So, rather than spring for a whole new wardrobe to leave me muffin topless once again, I decided to kick up my workout routine and watch my portions a little closer.
Here is where my scale comes in. Now, I will tell you just how much I loath the scale!! You can tell by the dust bunnies attached that I really don’t use this scale very often.
The numbers I peered down at as I stepped onto my scale were a bit high (for me). I hadn’t seen those numbers since before I began my lifting journey. However, I was looking much better than my non lifting days. I had curves and muscles that I didn’t have before lifting and I was leaner then back when I didn’t use weights in my workout routine (back when I was cardio queen). But the numbers were higher than usual. So, I decided to take some other measurements to see where I truly was at. If I went by weight alone, I might think that I was out of shape or looking awful. When in reality I was in great shape and content with my size… just not quite as lean as I’m used to being.
There are 2 other numbers I like to look at to measure my lean body mass is. I measured my waist with miso tape and do a pinch test as well to find my body fat perentage. I only measured my stomach (there are a number of areas you can do the pinch test) since that’s where I tend to pack on any extra “insulation” or “fluff”. From these measurements combined with my weight I was able to get a good idea of what my lean body fat percentage truly was. Trying to figure out your lean body mass from the scale alone will only leave you guessing. Often times I see weight gain as a good thing (when I’m focusing on muscle/strength gains alone). So, if I were to focus on the scale I wouldn’t have a clue as to how I was really doing.
Here are my 3 choice instruments of measurement: the scale, miso tape, and pinch calipers (although I don’t even use these all that often either).
Which leads me to the kick butt 3 week HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout I decided to do to get back on track. I found a great routine on bodybuilding.com. It’s Ashley Conrad’s 21-Day Clutch Cut Program. I liked that not only does she include a ton of HIIT workouts in her routine, but her meal plan is full of clean food including healthy fats. So many of the body building routines I find out there are all about low fat everything. I enjoyed incorporating some of my favorite healthy fats into my diet (like almond butter, avocados, flax meal, and coconut oil… yum!) while on her plan.
Here is how my 3 weeks went:
I took all my measurements each Monday at the same time of day (in the morning). If you are constantly taking measurments you will fluctuate so much you wont get an accurate idea of how you are doing and you may just drive yourself crazy.
After 1 week:
I lost 6 lbs! A lot of that was probably water weight since the program has you flushing out your system with lots of water with lemon AND the workout makes you sweat buckets. But I was pleased to see the numbers on the scale drop so drastically. I also measured my waist with miso tape and did the pinch test. I also lost about a half inch off my waist. The pinch test showed no difference in fat percentage though. It’s nice to use all 3 measurements because any one of them can be deceiving when taken alone.
After 2 weeks:
The scale didn’t budge! Now this is where a lot of people might get frustrated. After doing another week of incredibly difficult workouts and sticking to a perfect eating schedule… then seeing what looks like no results. So, I measured my waist with miso tape and did the pinch test. The pinch test was same as last week BUT my waist was a FULL INCH smaller than the week before. Yes, that’s right, my waist was an inch smaller than last week but I weighed the same. Do you see how the scale can be totally frustrating and deceiving?!
Don’t judge how fit you are by the scale alone. It’s just not accurate in it of itself.
After the 3rd (and last) week:
The scale showed 2 more pounds lost. However, my waist didn’t shrink in inches. My pinch test however, showed a big drop in body fat at the end of week 3 as well (about 3%). Oh, and my abs are very visible again (even at night after a full day of eating). Yippee!
So there you have it, 3 fluctuating measurements! If I went by one alone I may have gotten frustrated. But instead, I chose to stay positive since I saw results in at least one area each week. This workout was not for the faint of heart. It was tough, but well worth the results I got. You wont find many 3 week programs that get you results like this. It’s also not a program you “do” and then go back to old habits. If you go back to eating junk the weight will come back on. Instead it’s a great kick your behind into gear workout. After doing the 3 weeks I was ready to continue eating well (whole foods in small meals throughout the day), and it gave me the results I needed to get back into the workout mindset. I now have a renewed motivation at the gym!
Oh, and another great way to see your progress is taking progress photos. Take some photos of “before” and after. You will be so glad you did. Often times you don’t realize how well you are doing until you see it in a photo.
So while, I don’t need to throw my scale away. I won’t let it determine my mood or who I am.
People, PLEASE PLEASE don’t let that scale run your life. Often times gains are a good thing. And to be honest, I mainly took these measurements to prove that the scale doesn’t show how fit or fat a person really is. I rarely ever take measurements of any kind. If I am happy with how my clothes are fitting, or I’m making gains in strength at the gym, then I am happy with my progress and with how I’m eating.
Lastly, I would like to say that our size does not make us who we are. I love how I feel when I’m eating well, when I work out, and of course I love the results of doing so (how I fit into my clothes better). BUT, my size does not make me who I am. I am a child of God, a God who loves me regardless of what I eat, or how much I work out. The relationship I have with God, my family, and my friends matters more to me than any number on a scale or size on a piece of clothing. And my prayer for you is that you too would not let those numbers determine how you feel about yourself.
And so now, my scale is back under my bed. I wont throw it in the trash but I wont be using it for a while… maybe after next years holidays.