January 08

The Scale: Friend or Foe?


Who weighs more? Girl on the left or girl on the right? Hint: you’re probably wrong.

Here’s the truth:  Me in Nov. 2012 (left) is 115lbs vs. me at 121lbs in Dec. 2013 (right)

Lesson? Don’t let the scale be your only measure of progress! Like so many other women, I have succumbed to the “power” of the number on the scale for years (and years and years and years..). I’ve allowed the number to put thoughts in my head, thinking there was some magical number that I must hit in order to be fit, healthy, attractive, beach-ready, worthy… (you know how it goes). In 2013, I took on a new challenge that forced me to battle my toxic relationship with the scale and although it was psychologically exhausting, I’ve finally reached a point, for the first time in my adult life, where the number I see in the morning is, well, just a number.

If you follow my blog, you probably know the gist of the change I made for myself in 2013. The girl on the left did steady-state cardio (usually running) 6-7 days a week and never lifted anything more than 5lbs. My reasoning? Cardio = skinny and 5-10lb weights meant toning but no bulky, manly muscles.  The girl on the right is the product of 12 months of cutting cardio to only a few days a week (a few HIIT or plyo sessions + 1 long run for fun) and some serious weight lifting. Squats, bench, cleans, curls, dips, pullups and all of those other “guys only” lifts became part of my life 4-5 days a week. And don’t forget proper nutrition!  The result? I tacked on 6lbs in a year but had to buy lots and lots of new clothes in 2 sizes smaller than before.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still step on the scale about once a week, mostly out of curiosity. But even before I step on the scale, I usually know what it’ll say based on how I feel that day, so the number isn’t really a surprise. I prefer to use body measurements or even how my favorite pair of jeans fit to determine if I’m on track or need to ramp up the intensity.

Why am I sharing this? In the last week alone, I’ve received nearly a dozen emails and Facebook messages from friends (and friends of friends!) asking me for tips and tricks for getting ripped in 2014. In one particular email, a friend asked how much I weigh.  Knowing what I know now – I just had to give a more thorough explanation beyond the simple answer of 121lbs.

So to everyone currently embarking on the hardest part (the beginning!) of your 2014 fitness resolution, consider this when making your goals: don’t aim for a certain weight. Try setting goals that are geared towards athletic performance like trying to bench a % of your body weight or smashing your 100m sprint time. Or aim for a certain waist measurement or body fat % to keep yourself trim. Most importantly, remember that major changes take time and although you might not see dramatic results right away, if you stick with a good plan, you will see results!

Here’s to a fabulous 2014! Train hard!