The Best Thing You Can Do for a Healthy Mind and Fit Body

The Best Thing You Can Do for a Healthy Mind and Fit Body

judge me by my size do you yoda

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time. I’ve been wanting to write it because it’s such a recurring theme when training clients, talking to friends or other fitness competitors and even my own mother. It would seem that the majority of us women (and many dudes too) have at some point in their lives been slave to the bathroom scale.

I’ve been there too. You wake up feeling great. You look in the mirror to see a lean, svelte-looking reflection staring back and go about your morning routine as usual. Then right before you’re about to step in the shower, you decide to weigh yourself. And sure enough, the second you step on that scale and see a number you don’t like, your day is suddenly crap. And you start plotting how you’ll skip that 10am soy latte, eat nothing but rice cakes and vegetables for the rest of the day and of course, track every single morsel of food that enters your mouth into MyFitnessPal. Sound familiar?

dont step on the scale

Well ladies, I can honestly say that one of the BEST decisions I have EVER made was packing my scale away more than a year ago. GASP! Say WHAT?! A pro bikini competitor who doesn’t weigh herself?! Oh yes! And doing so has made me appreciate and love my body more than ever before.

Nowadays, I base my progress solely on how I look and my clothes feel.

I’ve come to learn that the digits on a scale are completely irrelevant even in the competitive bodybuilding world. And here’s why…

My first year of competing, I stepped on stage at 122 lbs. (I’m 5’7.) My second year of competing I hit the stage at 130 lbs. And yes, I won BOTH shows despite an eight pound difference in my weight.

And now I want you to guess how much I weigh in the following picture which was taken last week (four weeks out from my upcoming pro show debut.)

sam shorkey 4 weeks out

I weigh just under 138 lbs. in this pic. And you know what? I look leaner and meaner now than I did at this exact time in my prep last year.

So it would seem that every year I compete, I weigh about eight pounds more than the previous year. GASP!! Say WHAT?!? I’ve put on 16 LBS. in two years?!

To me, that’s actually great news. Because it means I’ve replaced body fat with lean muscle and my off-season work is paying off.

What still blows my mind, however, is that even though WE KNOW more muscle equals improved strength, energy AND a higher metabolism, we freak out when the number on the scale reflects those hard-earned gains.

And even though we continue to lift heavy and claim that we WANT to grow muscles, none of us seem to give a shit the second we see a heavier number on the scale . Actually, that’s not true at all. In fact, we’ll immediately TAKE a shit after seeing that number then get right back on the scale to see if there’s been any change since this “drop.” 🙂

I don't always weigh myself but when I do I'm naked and just took a big shit

Yes I totally just wrote the above line so I had an excuse to post the above meme. But my point still holds true! There are sooooo many factors that can change our weight at any given time. For women especially, depending on where we’re at in our “monthly cycle” we could be packing on as much as five extra pounds. And don’t even get me started on the effects of bloating and water retention.

All this being said, the moral of the weight loss story is that it’s far more useful to focus on fat loss rather than the number on the scale. Take pictures of your progress every week instead. Eat well. Lift heavy. And just sit back and trust the process. Besides, stressing over your weight will only raise cortisol levels and have the opposite effect on weight loss.

And if you really can’t live without your regular weigh-ins, at least limit them to once per week MAX. Anything more than that is just an unhealthy obsession and you’ll have much bigger problems to deal with in the long run.

PS congrats to Sarah Nicole who guessed 137.8 lbs. on yesterday’s facebook post. When I weighed myself for this little guessing game, I was a hair under 138 lbs. Good job, Sarah! A tub of Nature’s Food Fit Protein is all yours! PS you’re lucky I couldn’t creep your FB profile otherwise I would’ve posted the most funny and embarrassing photo of you I could find. 🙂

Happy lifting!

– Sam aka “Jacked on the Beanstalk”

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13 comments

  • Sam: May 22, 2015

    Haha aww thanks Jen :)

  • Jen: May 21, 2015

    I just howled, nodded and grinned my way through this. Good job Sam. Nailed it. Xo

  • Sam: May 21, 2015

    HAHAHAHA awesome.

  • Alina @VeganRunnerEats: May 20, 2015

    Great work, Samantha! By the way, as I was reading this post just now, I almost lost 5 pounds following the method form your meme above when a spider lowered himself from the ceiling right in front of my face. Aaaargh!

  • Carmi: May 20, 2015

    Bravo!!

  • Sam: July 02, 2015

    Awww sweets! I hear these same complaints far too often. I promise I’m going to write a new post all about why most vegans are skinny fat so stay tuned! I do have a few pointers for you though! First off, UP THE PROTEIN! Also, don’t go too crazy on the fruit because although healthy, it’s still high in sugar and tooo much sugar = stored fat. Anyway don’t get discouraged. I’d be more than happy to work with you and create a custom meal plan to help you reach your goals. Just shoot me an email at sam@jackedonthebeanstalk.com. And most importantly, stop weighing yourself. Most diet plans take four weeks of consistency before results come and weighing yourself twice a day is only gonna mess with your head!!!

  • Maria: July 02, 2015

    Hi Sam, thank you for such an amazing article! I have read this sooo many times and I still struggle with it , especially once I start working out. I went vegan almost a year ago (yey!) and didnt really loose much weight but maintained my “happy/perfect to me” weight of 107 at 5’2 and weight trained 3-4 days a week never seeing any significant results. After being sick for almost 2-3 months and not working out all I just returned to the gym almost 3 weeks ago because I am tired of being skinny fat. I kept my usual diet of fruits for breakfast (I love this because it fills me and keeps my stomach happy and helps with my digestion), and lots of raw veggies, hummus , tofu and quinoa. The problem was that I didnt have any energy to work out so this last week I started following a starch based diet approach (Dr. McDougall) and kept my breakfast as usual, but changed up my lunch/dinner for mostly brown rice with raw veggies and tofu. I started using cron-o-meter (around 1400-1650consumed per day , deficit of 200calories minimum per day) I started the week at 107 and now I am 110 :‘( :S Im becoming very frustrated and weighing myself even 2 times a day because I dont understand how could I have gained so much weight while working out and eating a deficit (all of my diet is whole foods plant based not processed foods except for tofu or tempeh). And I can see my belly growing already. I would really appreciate any advice that you might have . Im about ready to hang my gym towel and go back to just embracing the idea of being skinnny fat :’(

  • Sam: June 09, 2015

    Ahhhh I love this comment. Thank you sooooo much for sharing, Natalia! And I hope many other ladies’ read it and can snap out of their “scale funk” too. It really is so unimportant and I’m so glad I could help you realize that :)

  • Natalia Valentyne: June 08, 2015

    Hey Sam, I’ve started following you since starting a plant built journey of my own. You are hilarious, as well as knowledgable, so I’m very glad I’ve stumbled across you. And tripley (is that a word? we’ll roll with it) glad after reading this post – I had a fantastic gym sesh yesterday and felt so good. Afterwards, though I normally never do, I hopped on the scale out of curiosity. The number hasn’t budged since my pt weighed me 1.5 weeks ago. And for a nano second, I felt my mood drop. Luckily, I a) am a sensible lady and b) had recently read this post of yours, so I snapped out of it. Because the facts are that I’m getting stronger and feel like a badass hitting the gym and looking after my body with plants and zero cruelty. Anyway, this is all to say THANK YOU so much for this post and reminder.

  • Maria: November 07, 2015

    Sam thank you so much for your response and im sorry for taking so long to answer (I didnt get notified of a response and just lost track of it :/ ) Thank you so much for the pointers! I really appreciate your advice! Biggest problem that I have is that my weight fluctuates between 106-109ish throughout the week. I dont know if its normal or not , but I guess im just starting to get used to it haha Thank you and look forward to your blog post! :) :) Im looking forward to your blog post!

  • Sam: January 26, 2016

    Awww thank you soooooooo much, Marni!!! I couldn’t agree more. I too, have been on Team EFF THE SCALE for a while now. Sincerely appreciate you sharing your thoughts and story. PS – I’m totally stealing that line “focus on the weight you can move, not the weight on the scale.” LOVE IT!!!! Keep kicking ass, girl and reppin’ us vegans proudly!

  • Marni: January 26, 2016

    Excellent post. This is the kind of article fitness magazines should be publishing. I used to be completely obsessed with the scale, feeling like a failure of overdoing cardio whenever the number was above whatever I had decided was what I needed to weigh. This did nothing for me but cause disordered eating patterns, despite being vegan. Once I began lifting, my focus shifted to what my body could DO and my strength. I stopped comparing myself to anyone else, it has been an empowering journey – especially overcoming intimidation of lifting besides the huge guys at my gym ;) I’ve been ‘scale free’ for about 4 months now, and just shy of my 31st birthday, I’m in the best shape of my life! Focus on the weight you can move, not the weight on the scale! Love your site, super inspiring! Thank you <3

  • Podcast #20: Eating to Build Muscle and Lose Fat - Jacked On The Beanstalk - Vegan Coaching: October 24, 2017

    […] and even read an excerpt from one of my most popular blog posts from my competing years aka “The Best Thing You can do for a Healthy Mind and Fit Body.” And I suggest you click that link if you want to see the difference in my body composition […]

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