I feel like I am beating a dead horse when I say this, but no matter how many talks down off the ledge I make to clients and friends it never seems to stick. They feel great about their mental place, their strength progressions, their relationship with food and lifestyle… and then are crushed because the scale doesn’t correlate with their projected hopes. This is the exact list I have to run through:
- How are you feeling about food choices and control?
- How are clothes fitting?
- How are your workouts and lifts feeling?
- How is your stress level and sleep?
- Are you happy with yourself?
- Do you feel fulfilled with your personal time and relationships?
After answering those… what the fuck does the number on the scale matter?
You should have a goal, but you shouldn’t assign your entire self-worth to it.
What does this mean exactly? It means it is totally 100% okay to be focusing on self-improvement and have an idea of something you would like to achieve – but your feelings about yourself as a whole should not hinge on the rate at which progress is made, and be shattered with any misstep. It is not the end of the world when a week goes by and the scale doesn’t drop or even goes up. Worthwhile shit takes time, and sometimes there are steps in the process that may not be pretty, but they are stepping stones to the overall goal.
You need to heal your mind before you can be happy with your body. That is a resounding fact that I cannot preach enough. If you have spent years of your life dieting or being in a caloric deficit, there is a solid chance that what you need is to take a step back. Dieting is not going to “heal” your body dysmorphia or your eating disorder. There may be times where you may not lose weight, you may not fit into your pants for a few more months… but you need to be okay with looking in the mirror or NOT stepping on the scale and still thinking you are a bad ass.
Ask yourself this: How much time do you spend focusing on your weight, or every single thing you put in your body? If it is all-consuming and can completely change your attitude towards the day… you have a little work to do.
We live in a selfish, self-absorbed, weird age of social media popularity and constant comparison. If you are constantly focused on the approval of others (and most of the time, people you don’t really know) it’s time to quit being a crazy person and do some good. Put down the fucking smart phone and interact. When was the last time you went on an adventure, started a hobby, helped a neighbor or community project without posting about it? I don’t mean the type of posts where it is to inspire or drum up help for your people… but the kind where you are using it as an excuse to post a selfie. Be so immersed in doing more and being more for yourself and others that you don’t have time to wake up and check for abs.
Here is my advice:
Love yourself enough RIGHT NOW to want more and to be better for the future.
It’s not a quest, a project, a long off distant place in a galaxy far far away… it is right now. A decision to quit giving so many fucks on what the scale says, and an opportunity to focus on why you even care. At the end of the day no one sees what the scale says but YOU. (And maybe your doctor from time to time) Go back through the aforementioned list and answer those questions before deciding that there is even a reason why that number on the scale has pertinence to your life.
The scale can go up if you put on muscle, sleep less, stress more, eat more sodium, are hormonal and numerous other reasons. So you’re telling me you are going to let the fact that you may have ate a hot dog and have had an extra busy schedule be the end-all be-all determinant about how you view yourself as a person? Come on, ma… you are worth so much more than that.
As a coach and trainer, I will always give my clients all the tools they need to hit their overall goal. Sometimes in order to fix metabolisms, or change body composition we may intentionally eat more and watch the scale move upwards. It is one of those “less-pretty” steps that will ensure a healthier place to then begin an excursion in “dieting”. There is nothing wrong with losing weight, being diligent with your diet, or being elated when you drop weight. It is in my due diligence to be sure that those things are done in a healthy way – not only physically but mentally. If you begin to lose sight of the important things in life because you are so focused on achieving an aesthetic goal, it is time to step back and focus on mental health.