The Best Thing You Can Do for a Healthy Mind and Fit Body
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?
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.)
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.” 🙂
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! You won the prize! 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. 🙂
– Sam aka “Jacked on the Beanstalk”