Healthier Me – The Scale is a Fickle Bitch

I had this post written in my mind when I woke up on Sunday… Then I went out for coffee with a dear friend and that lasted 3 hours and then grocery shopping and that took an hour and then it was time to hit the gym with my workout buddy … and here we are at Tuesday and the words still hadn’t made it from my brain to this page.

I know I’ve been slacking on updates here… a fact that I was even called out for by an old friend and it’s not that I’m hiding or at a loss for words… it’s time.  I’m still juggling all the things I want to do in my day to fit it all in.

Then I was perusing the book of faces this morning and read a status update that made it very clear that this post needed to be written.  It wasn’t the update as much as the comments it garnered.

The scale is a fickle bitch

Scale is fickleFirst of all, the title says it all.  The scale is a fickle fickle bitch.  She’s a liar and a cheat and an instigator of trouble.  She like to trick you and tease you and can be stubborn as hell.

Case in point, I’ve been LITERALLY working my ass off as of late… hitting the gym for tremendous amounts of weight lifting… getting “not as much as I should” cardio in… watching every meal choice I make with an eagle eye…. and this week?  The scale barely moved.  I was PISSED.

Then I took my measurements.

What the ever loving hell?  Those barely moved too!

I whined mentioned the change or lack thereof to my workout buddy – who has 20+ years experience in this field – and he clarified a few things for me.

First of all, as anyone who has been on this journey might relate, this is the first hurdle I usually hit.  The one where I say fuck it and throw in the towel.  This is the hurdle where I lie to myself and “decide” that if working hard and eating right isn’t leading me to my goals, I might as well snarf down a plate of hot wings while binge watching Netflix and save myself the pain, sore muscles, exhaustion… this is the hurdle where I convince myself that I’m destined to just be fat for the rest of my life and I should come to terms with it.

And it’s all bullshit.

Here’s the thing that my workout buddy shared….

Right now, your body has a LOT of inflammation due to the rapid bump in physical activity.  Your muscles and connective tissues are swollen, sore, and inflamed.  It’s going to make most all of your measurements even bigger than they actually are.  Point being…you’ve probably lost several more inches than the tape measure showed this morning.

That put it into perspective a bit.  Because I AM freaking sore as hell.  And not in a bad way – more like my muscles are waking up and saying “YAY!  You didn’t forget you had us – now we’re gonna hurt a bit to remind you to use us more often”

Then, as I mentioned earlier, I read a post on the book of face where someone I love and adore was struggling with her scale being a fickle bitch too.   She’s strong as hell and I know she’s venting to keep herself accountable and people came out of the woodwork to offer their unsolicited advice.  Awesome.  Because that’s what every frustrated person needs – info on what they are doing wrong.

Just Keep Going

keep goingHere’s my unsolicited advice for anyone on a journey – whether fitness or otherwise – Trust yourself.  You know what you need to do.  Keep doing it.  Trust that the results will come.

If they don’t, seek out a professional for advice.  Someone that will understand where you are, what you are capable of, and where you want to go.  Those people on your facebook friends list?  They are not ALL professionals.  Oh sure, you may have one or two on there… send them a request for advice if needed and ignore all the other “helpful” advice being given.

Trust yourself.

Meet your Soul-mate {exercise}

I’ve dabbled in fitness for a while now and the one thing I know to be an absolute fact – you have to find what works for you.  I have many friends out there who are runners.  My hat goes off to them.  Me?  If I had to choose whether to be a runner or stay fat for the rest of my life, I’d choose to stay fat.

Some of my friends have found their soul-mate exercise to be Yoga or Zumba or biking or hiking or swimming or hula hooping.  It doesn’t matter WHAT exercise you do as much as the fact that you do it… and it’s a lot easier to stick with something that you love.  Or at least enjoy. Or at a bare minimum, that you don’t hate.

Remember last week when I said I needed help figuring out strength training?  Well, in the vein of “be careful what you ask for” I got the help I needed and then some.  And I couldn’t be more thankful for the help and companionship pushing me.

I think that weights and strength training IS my soul mate exercise.  There’s something tremendously empowering in how I feel after a tough workout.  (and I am fully aware that *my* tough workout would be laughable to some so shush) I get a rush when I push myself until my muscles are fatigued and twitchy.  Even the residual soreness, while I may will bitch about it, is a lasting reminder that I worked hard.  I’m finding a sense of tremendous accomplishment when faced with something that my brain screams “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!!” and my body responds with a quiet “Watch me.”  Dead lifts and squats scared me when the week started and now?  Oh they still suck, but I know I CAN.

Measure all of the results

Y’all know I’m a big fan of monogamy.  But when it comes to the scale, I’m a cheating hussy.  Sure, I weigh myself.  Of course I do {probably too often} but she’s not the only measurement I’m seeing.

If weight loss is a primary goal for you – and it is for me – you need to look at new ways to track your success.

In this area, I’ve gone a bit overboard thanks to my coach, but pick and choose what works for you.

(1) Take Pictures.  Today.  Right now.  They sucked for me – not even gonna lie.  Workout pants and a sports bra are not fogiving AT ALL and those pics are under lock and key… but… when I can compare them to pictures I take in a month… 3 months… 6 months… the changes will be obvious.  I look at myself every day so it’s hard to notice gradual changes.  Pictures don’t lie – as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that every camera out there is broken when it comes to pictures of me.

(2) Compare today’s workout to yesterday’s.  Could you go further?  Was your heart rate lower for the same workout? Were you out of breath less?  Could you go further in the same amount of time? Could you lift heavier?  These are all indications of fitness improvement and should NOT be ignored!

(3) Take measurements – body composition is going to change and measurements – while still faulty – are another one to watch.

(4) How do you feel – This is a measurement we often ignore… or at least I do… but when you slip on a pair of jeans that used to be tight… or a blouse you couldn’t wear before…. that matters!

Find a Partner or Coach

I am fortunate enough to have found a remarkable workout buddy & coach and THAT has made all the difference in the world for me.  I like the accountability of knowing that someone else is there to cheer me on and that I’m there to hold him accountable too.  Our fitness love is in the same vein and while he’s lifting considerably more than me, we are doing the same workout.  He’s a great coach and if any of you are looking to hire a professional to get you where you need to be, feel free to let me know… but know this – he’s a pain in the ass.  He’s going to tell you all the things you don’t want to do but need to do.  He does NOT sugar coat shit and when you’re phoning it in, he’s gonna call you on it.  That said – he’s encouraging and patient – explaining the WHY behind every exercise and meal choice.  He’s on this journey too so he knows what it’s like to get frustrated… He knows what it’s like to be a beginner.

That said, your partner doesn’t have to be the person you workout with.  You need someone in your corner that’s going to remind you that the scale is a fickle bitch.  You need someone to encourage you to do the work you feel is futile.  You need someone to celebrate your victories with and to remind you of your non-scale successes.  You need a person who will hold you accountable and remind you that you are doing what you need to do when the results aren’t that clear.  And if you can’t find that person, let me know.

results

 

From all of the above, you might think that I didn’t have good results this week.  I did, but for the amount of time at the gym and copious amounts of boob sweat, I was disappointed there wasn’t more loss… 9-21-2014

Total weight loss this week – 1 lb.

Total since I started 4 weeks ago – 8 lbs.

That’s actually right on target for healthy loss but come on people, I want miracles.

I think the real kicker for me, was what I like to call my “magic spreadsheet” that my coach provided me with.  It tracks EVERYTHING and has some magical formulas and math involved that I’m not even going to try to understand or explain… but what I DO know is that when I plug in my numbers – weight, measurements, etc, it gives me a much clearer picture in my mind.  In fact, it shows me that I haven’t just lost 8 lbs… I’ve lost 18 lbs of fat and gained 10 lbs of muscle.  That’s incredible and amazing and enough to keep me going.

Bottom line – the scale is a fickle bitch.  Keep doing what you know you need to do and trust that the results are going to come.

 

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Comments

  1. Great tips on staying motivated and getting results. I hate the scales, so much that I don’t own any. I measure workouts to ensure I’m continually doing more, further, faster or harder and I notice weight changes when my clothes don’t fit. It’s a bit slack but I would send myself nuts if I were to start taking numbers down.

  2. I agree with your friend and all you’ve said here but please remember this,as well. There are parts of you that are benefiting hugely that you will never see. Even when your waist lies, your heart doesn’t. Your lungs and heart grow stronger with each workout. Your bones gain a life of strength when your body ages. There is so much more to you than the measurements.
    So keep going and know that this “B” is not fickle, always loves you, and is cheering you on!
    XOXO
    Traci

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