Thursday, 5 September 2013

Why you don’t need to step on a scale to manage your weight

Ugh, the scale. It seems to always be associated with a negative connotation of failure, discouragement, insecurity and anxiety…at least it for me was, anyway. That’s why I threw mine out years ago, and haven’t looked back.
After living without one, I encourage everyone to do the same.

It’s not what size you wear, its how you fit in your clothes.
These are words of advice that still ring true to me since I first heard them in High School, over 10 years ago.
One of my friend’s mothers who was (and still is) smart, successful and beautiful said these words to a group of us girls one day when we were sitting around obsessing over our bodies and comparing ourselves to “perfect” celebrities.
This women would always come home a bit late because she would go to the gym after work, and I remember she always took a lot of vitamins with her dinner. She valued a healthy lifestyle, and lived a great example of it.
I think this is why I took her advice so seriously, and still apply her words to my life today.
When I’m shopping for clothes, I try not to obsess over what size fits me, but what size I look and feel comfortable in.
I also try remember that most sizes are different at each store. At The Gap, I wear a size 28 or 29, and at Aritzia, it’s a size 32. So why should I let what size I wear bother me?
I could buy a size 28 at all the stores I shop in if I wanted to, but I wouldn’t look or feel good in them if they didn’t fit properly.
So instead of weighing yourself and focusing on what size you buy off the rack, why not measure your size by how you fit in the clothes you wear? Are they feeling a bit more lose? Tight? The same?
Weight isn’t everything, and neither is the size that fits you.
Your weight fluctuates all the time
You’re happy you lost three pounds? Weigh yourself in a few hours and read what the scale says. 
The number on the scale can fluctuate based on your hormones, how much water you’ve drank or if you’ve just ate a big meal.

True weight gain or loss occurs over a longer period of time. Don’t be a slave to the scale. If you are going to weigh yourself, try doing it only about once a month.
Muscle weighs more than fat
You probably already know this, but it’s hard to remember when you’ve been watching your calorie intake and working your butt off (literally) for weeks at the gym, only to see that you’ve gained weight on the scale. 
Then what happens?
Personally, I used to get discouraged and binge eat.
“Whatever,” I would think. “It’s not working anyway. I’m never going to lose weight.”
And a pan of lasagna later, I’m right back to square one.
Numbers don't mean everything. 
To help put this into perspective, I trained for and ran a half marathon about seven months ago. During my training, I ran a minimum of four times a week. I incorporated strength training, too. I felt great. I was confident, my legs were toned, and I was so proud of myself…until I stepped on the scale and read that I had gained 20 pounds.
I was devastated. I was so discouraged that I actually quit running.
But why? Why couldn’t I be happy with the fact that I was healthy and had gained muscle, not fat?
I let the scale ruin it for me. Don’t let it do this for you.
Focus on how you are feeling, not what the scale says.
It’s really about being healthy, from the inside out.
A year before I ran my half marathon, I was celebrating being newly single in the only way I knew how – by drinking, a lot. With that, came the occasional cigarette too, along with lack of sleep, routine, and healthy meals. Looking back at photos, I can see how much thinner I was then than I am today. But I have to remind myself that’s not a good thing. Just because someone is thin, doesn’t mean they are healthy.
Focus on now you feel from the inside out. Don't be a slave to the scale.