The truth about my relationship with the scale. There's no denying the raw reaction to the somewhat arbitrary number on that screen, but what matters more when it comes to body weight is understanding body composition (i.e. total and ratio of fat and muscle mass).
Body weight is composed of various variables, two important factors to consider and what most average scales do not factor in is lean muscle mass! Let's also not forget that muscle weighs more than fat, so someone who may appear smaller but is heavier may in fact just be someone with a greater percentage of lean body mass.
"Now I cared more about how I feel versus wasting my energy on worrying about an arbitrary number."
The day I decided to ignore the number on that scale was a game changing moment. The simple shift was what helped me focus on what’s important. Instead of going by how much I weighed, my progress became more about how I felt. Do I feel energized? Do I feel athletic? Am I happy with how my clothes fit? Am I happy with my bootay? (Let’s be real that was on everyone’s minds! HA!) Now I cared more about how I feel versus wasting my energy on worrying about an arbitrary number. We all know what skinny-fat is right? I remind myself everyday the number on the scale is meaningless to my actual progress. Health and wellness is not about how much I weigh!
When I was at university in the U.S., like many first years I had gained some weight. I admit, weighing myself and worrying about weight was never much of an issue growing up because I was an athlete and always active. I was only ever chubby through puberty (might also be due to the fact that I had yummy cheesy Cheetos almost everyday). Gaining 9kg (about 19 pounds) my first year in university was an absolute shock. It pushed me towards a very frantic weight loss journey for the years which followed.
The number on that scale was my enemy! I was so focused on the number that even small fluctuations upwards or lack of change downwards had the sway to ruin my whole day. What I didn’t take into consideration at the time was my ratio of lean muscle mass to fat or how healthy I actually was. It was frustrating, especially because I spent weeks committed to a very restrictive diet and to a tough workout regiment.
It took me a few years to understand a few things:
Focusing on the number on the scale was counterintuitive to a measure of my progress, because in fact I was more in shape than ever before. I was running 9km (about 6 miles) at least three times a week, on top of kick-boxing and indoor spinning classes. I worked out for a total of 6-7 days a week, sometimes twice a day.
Muscle weighs more than fat, so the number on the scale didn’t drop much even if I was doing more because in fact I was putting on a lot more muscle.
Health and wellness has a lot more to do with how I feel. It is not about a number. It is about a lifestyle.
What I realize now is that health and wellness is about my journey. It’s about finding what works for me. It is about how I feel. It is a way to enhance my life, so it shouldn’t add more stress. Being kind and honest to myself about my journey was the best gift I gave myself. Fitness and health shouldn’t be a chore, it’s a means to better my life.