Tell me if this sounds familiar…
“I started at the gym a few weeks ago, and have been eight times so far. I am eating well, and feeling good – but I haven’t lost any weight. I am feeling discouraged, frustrated, and less motivated to continue working out because I am not seeing any progress.”
Common story, right? Let me let you in on a little secret – the scale is a liar. It does not measure your overall progress. It can not measure the benefits your exercise routine is giving you, such as better sleep, increased productivity, better mood, your strength, or your self worth. In fact, that little liar and that one little number have the ability to actually undo all of the good things you are doing and feeling, decrease your self confidence, and sabotage your future fitness goals. Do not let the scale dictate your actions.
For some women, the scale can be a useful tool, but for most of us all it does is put our focus on the wrong metric. Weight does not equate health. The truth is that when you start exercising regularly, especially when combined with healthy eating habits, your body composition will change, but the scale simply shows you your body’s relationship with gravity; how much you weigh overall, not your actual body composition. Chances are you are losing some fat and at the same time, gaining some muscle tissue, meaning that the number on the scale likely won’t change right away.
Too much faith in the scale can be dangerous in terms of a couple of things. Firstly, even if you do start losing weight, you can’t lose weight forever! If your only goal and only metric for measuring your success is a decreasing number on the scale, then you are going to be constantly disappointed once that needle stops moving, creating feelings of disappointment or even failure – the opposite of how exercise is meant to make you feel. Or, as is unfortunately often the case, women will take drastic and dangerous measures to ensure that that insignificant number they have empowered so falsely, continues to decrease, leading to incredibly unhealthy, and often dangerous or even deadly consequences.
The other danger in relying on the scale as a measure of success is that no matter how good you may be feeling, and how much progress you have made in all other areas of your health and wellness, the lies the scale tells you somehow have the power to cause you to stop exercising altogether. It is so important to find yourself longer lasting, more accurate measures and motivators to help you want to stay active. Are you feeling healthier? Are you feeling stronger? Are you feeling more confident? These are the real indicators of both your progress and your health.
Don’t believe the hype – don’t believe the scale. The key to success is to find a workout you love, and want to stick with consistently. One that makes you happy, and makes you feel strong and proud of yourself.
And, if you ask me, to take a sledgehammer to that scale!