Don’t Worry About the Scale!

From Fitness Trainer Lori Forrester

Average Women

I found this picture on Facebook the other day and re-posted it hoping to inspire the ladies to quit worrying about the number on the scale and just get healthy. I do believe this! HOWEVER, I too can fall victim to the scale when trying to track my progress even though I preach to my clients every day to stay off that thing!

When I’m not training for a competition I typically will only weigh myself once every other week or so. In fact, I’ve gone a whole month without weighing and even considered getting rid of the scale altogether. I even had a panic moment just this week with my online coach telling her that I’m still at the same weight and getting a little frustrated with only 8 weeks to get to stage weight (which is a ridiculously low and unsustainable place). The reason I hate the scale is very simple: It’s a Debbie Downer!

If you lift weights (and all of us should), you know that you’re building muscle. NO…muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat. I hate that saying because a pound is a pound. It doesn’t matter what it is.

I like to explain it like this: Look at a brick.  It’s small but very dense.  Then look at a bag of cotton balls. It’s big and fluffy but weighs nothing. How many bags of cotton balls would you need to pile up on that scale to equal the weight of that brick? Get what I’m saying? Obviously the brick is muscle and the cotton balls are fat. The muscle you are building is tighter, denser, and just plain hotter than the same or less weight in fluff.

So if you are strength training and the scale is moving in the wrong direction (at first) don’t fret. You eventually will start to see the scale move downward because building that muscle will increase your metabolism but will also burn calories if you are doing it with enough intensity. You must be patient and you must change your thinking. Skinny and soft is not good. Tight and healthy is what we should be striving for.

images-1My sister Jamie is training for a competition with me right now and has put on 10 lbs. of muscle. You think that’s not hard for a woman to see the scale go up 10 lbs? It is, but she looks fabulous and healthy and strong. When you see her you automatically think, “Damn, she takes care of herself.”

Both my daughters are athletes and they are strong. Even at their young ages of 16 and 14, the scale is their enemy. When comparing numbers with their friends (I hate this by the way), they always complain that they are heavy. By looking at them you can see that they are fit and take care of their health. Everyone’s body is different. You absolutely cannot compare two people (even the same height) by the scale alone. Do you walk around with a number plastered to your forehead to brag about? NO…so who cares what the scale says.

There are some good reasons to own a scale. Using it as a guide for how much extra water weight you may carry during your menstrual cycle, controlling weight gain after you’ve reached your goal, and monitoring fluctuations based on dietary or exercise changes. The scale would be a way to keep yourself in check, but when you are trying to lose weight and beginning a new lifestyle, that sucker will only cause you grief. Put it away for a month! Instead, take your measurements or try on clothes that you are trying to get into. Unchain yourself from the number and just do the work, eat the next meal, and push forward.