Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reflections on the scale...

Yesterday I talked about my 4-pronged lifestyle (clean eating, strength training, cardio training, and flexibility training). I wanted to expand that a bit and discuss how that lifestyle reflects on the scale.

I reached my goal weight in October of 2008, and I've maintained it ever since (within a 5# fluctuation). I've maintained my weight through various injuries, downtime, and surgery. Those four prongs are the keys to my success. While my weight has stayed static, my body hasn't. It has continuously changed. During those downtimes, it's gotten softer; during active times it's firmer, leaner & tighter. But the times when my body looks its best are not necessarily reflected by the number on the scale (and I'm not even going to address the cruel body fat percentage the diabolical Tanita tells me I have). If I get hung up on the weight, I lose sight of the body.

This month's Oxygen magazine carried an article by Tosca Reno (Raising the Bar) that addressed our relationship with the scale. It's nice to know that women with amazing bodies also dread stepping on that instrument of devastation. It's crazy the hold it can have on us. We use it to gauge our progress or our maintenance, and too often we use it to beat ourselves up.

don't step on it, it makes you cry
I see women every month in fitness magazines who are my height, similarly active, but weigh so very much less than me. Sometimes it messes with my head (which then receives a smack from Tab). I have to remind myself that each body is different. I hold my weight differently from the next woman, who holds hers differently from the next. The numbers on the scale are NOT the bottom line.

While the scale does provide a service, it cannot be relied upon solely for proof of effort or success. When you're losing weight, the obvious goal is to lose weight... that WILL be reflected on the scale. The scale can help keep you accountable and on track. But there will come a time in your journey when it's no longer about weight. It's about shape. And when you're working to change the shape of your body, understand that the scale may no longer be your friend, but there are other ways to measure your results.

How do your clothes fit? How do you feel? Are your measurements changing? These are precisely the elements that I have adopted as part of my lifestyle BEYOND the scale. They keep my perspective clear and focused on what matters most in what I perceive as my “IDEAL ME”. It is a constant challenge (and many slaps on the head) each day to keep my focus in this direction, but ultimately I know that by doing so I will keep from pining over a number that no longer defines the way I feel or look. 

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