We've all been there: Waking up from a night of good sleep and a couple days or weeks of eating well, feeling good and maybe more slender than usual, bladder emptied and no food yet eaten, stepping from the cold bathroom tile onto the scale, wearing nothing but your anxious hope that this fickle beast will finally reflect your hard work. You wait with bated breath as it scurries to find your number, and it finally rings in at.. where you were last time. But -wait- no it's wrong- how could this be?! You've been working so hard in the gym, you've been paying close attention to how you eat, and you swear your favorite gym clothes are fitting ever-so-slightly looser than usual. How could it be that you've lost exactly zero pounds!?
Here's the thing. The number on the scale does not equal health or reflect what you are worth as a person. I repeat: It does NOT equal health! Here's why:
It does not reflect muscle or body composition ratios. Example: as you lose fat and gain muscle, your weight may not change at all. Or if you just gain muscle, your weight might even go up! (That's OK! We heart muscle!)
It doesn't tell you if your gut and digestive system are happy and in tip-top shape, allowing your body to truly absorb the nutrients you are carefully feeding it every day, keeping your precious gut flora alive and well.
It doesn't show you if your blood sugar levels and hormonal balances are tinkering back to a normal, healthy range.
It doesn't reflect the hours you've put in working on that heavy back squat PR.
It doesn't tell you if you are finally getting some of the best sleep of your life for the first time in a long time.
It has no idea that you feel like a million bucks and are radiating confidence out to the world!
The number on the scale is JUST A NUMBER. Say it with us ladies: It is just a number.
Though I'm sure we all fantasize about what it would feel like to have our ultimate dream body and think that losing 5, 10 or 20 pounds would get us much closer to that goal, we're here to tell you that chasing a number on a scale and a fantasy image of a "better you" might just be the thing keeping you from that reality. When you insist on seeing your body as a burden, an embarrassing wish-I-was-ten-pounds-lighter thing that you are constantly trying to "fix", you are creating a hurtful, unattainable, and unsustainable environment in your own mind. And here's the kicker: Getting your MIND in shape is the key to getting your body in shape. For reals. Here's how:
Think about your body as an amazingly powerful machine that's capable of almost anything you ask of it, that can be trained to complete almost any task if you work hard enough, and something that wants to be challenged and pushed.
Do this: Sit and write down all the things that you appreciate about your body and all of the wonderful things it is capable of. When you get frustrated and caught up in negative thinking about your body, refer back to that list you made and try to appreciate your body for what it is, instead of what it's not.
Think of food as the fuel that will allow you to push your body to the limits. Eat to heal, perform and thrive.
Practice living in the mindset of hitting your athletic goals, or of achieving health for your own personal purpose (trying to get pregnant? Want to heal your digestive issues? Simply want to feel amazing in your skin?).
Surround yourself with positive people who want to see you succeed and who understand your journey to health.
Work for it.
You will start hitting your goals, even if they are small ones, which only adds fuel to the fire and will inspire bigger and more exciting challenges. You will be on the same "team" as your body instead of fighting it, working together to make great things happen. You will feel thoroughly wonderful, both because you are physically getting healthier and fitter, and also because you'll start to develop a positive relationship with your body. And you know what? The scale knows absolutely NONE of this.
So please, we ask this of you: Stop weighing yourself! Take notice to the ways your body, health, fitness, mentality and life are changing in other ways. Take pride in putting on muscle and working hard to hit your own goals. Notice how your clothing fits. Pay attention to how you feel, how you sleep, and how you train. Listen to how you talk to and about yourself. Your health is all of these things and more, and it is absolutely NOT found on the scale.
Stop worrying about that meaningless number and focus on how many pullups you can do, how fast you can run that mile, or how much you can clean & jerk instead. Your body and your mind will thank you.