On my Facebook group Real Food 4 Us, the month of November was declared clean eating month. For the duration of 30 days, members ate as clean as possible. Most followed a paleo template with a couple of variations as people saw fit. Each week, members weighed in and sent me their numbers. This was to determine their weight loss over the course of the month and who ultimately would be the winner of this challenge and receive a free consultation with me. The challenge was all around positive, the competition very friendly.
However, a couple of ladies privately messaged me, sharing their frustration about the number on the scale, and that it wasn't moving as "fast" as they were hoping. Someone even quit, because there wasn't any loss at all. I admit that I am the first person to understand this dilemma. I have been addicted to the number on the scale since my beautiful mom determined and "ideal weight" for me. Since age 17 I have wanted nothing more than to weigh 150lbs. According to the charts in Germany this was ideal for a woman of 6 feet. Of course, I have been unable to maintain this weight for probably 3/4 of that time. The constant up and down that resulted from many years of yo-yo dieting only did one thing to me. I was terrified of the scale.
In the spirit of full disclosure... I have been doing CrossFit for almost three years. My weight as of today (yes, I stepped on that dreaded thing just so I could write this post) is 176lbs! I am wearing a size 8. And here's the thing: 20 years ago, I also wore a size 8. Four years ago I wore a size 6, but only because I did lose a lot of weight when I went paleo, and I wasn't doing CrossFit.
What does this tell us? The scale lies!
The scale gives you a momentary piece of information based on your current weight, not your real weight. Several factors play a role in how much you weigh on any given day.
If you're a woman, you already know that during that time of the month, your weight will go up as you experience bloating and water retention. This may last a week or longer. During this time, you cannot get an honest reading from the scale. DITCH IT!
Dehydration! Believe it or not, when you're more dehydrated, the body holds on to its water reserves even more. Your body is beautifully equipped to be prepared for an emergency situation. And dehydration is definitely, to the body, an emergency. DITCH THE SCALE!
Those pesky carbs! Yes, friends, for each gram of carbs that your body stores as glycogen, it also stores 3 grams of water. So, what happened the day after Thanksgiving? Your weight may have gone up, because you consumed more carbs, you increased your glycogen stores, and therefore your water weight went up. It WILL go back down. DITCH THE SCALE!
Yes, I've made the mistake of feeling defeated by the number of the scale. I've made it repeatedly and for many years. And I am still, to this day, learning to let go! It's not easy to form a new habit. But here's a great way to get started, and it is something that helps me tremendously!
Go by how you feel! I have been feeling great about myself lately. The person smiling back at me when I look in the mirror is happy about the progress I'm making. If this is you, then why hurt yourself by allowing the scale to run your life?
Take measurements instead! If you really need to track your progress, then take a measuring tape and measure your bust, waist, and hips. Note this down and don't it again until at least two weeks later. It is a good exercise in letting go, and it will show you the progress you want.
Go by the fit of your clothes! After decades of living inside your body, chances are you are pretty in tune with your appearance anyway and likely don't even need your clothes. Just putting my hands on my belly in the morning, I know if there has been an increase in volume. ;) As a general rule though, if your clothes fit comfortably, you're good. If they fit loosely, you know, you're losing weight. If they get a bit snug, well, then maybe it's time for a change in the way you eat.
Be proud of what you can do! Are you lifting heavy weights? Running marathons? Doing crazy complicated yoga poses? Are you working a full time job, all day every day? Are you mothering children, cleaning a house, running errands all day long? Who are you in your everyday life? Write down your list of accomplishments and be proud! Because the real measure of you does not come from a scale. It comes from who you are as a person! And there is no second you!
Be friends with your body! Your body is hanging out with you every day, and it adjusts faithfully to all the changes you make. It keeps you alive and running all day long, and it goes to work at night, while you rest. Your body deserves your love and gratitude every day. Treat it with respect!
Oh... and seriously consider ditching that scale!