Why I give the scale the side eye…and you should too!

I’ve written this post over and over in my head for weeks.  I’ve gone back and forth about putting myself out there, and if what I have to say is at all beneficial for others.  Finally I decided to just go for it and get it out of my system…like therapy for myself to let this go. So fair warning it’s going to be a partial rant on the current healthcare system and insurance, as well as hopefully something that will speak to someone who is currently obsessed with the scale like I was.  Here it goes!

If you’ve done any of my challenge groups or are in my accountability group, you know I freaking LOATHE the scale.  Don’t get me wrong…the scale has it’s place in society and has held a place in my past, but for me I’ve pretty much ditched the scale.  That thing is a dang dirty liar!  I’ve seen people (including myself) become addicted to what that scale has to tell them EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING.  And once that obsession begins with that inherent need for a declining number, it attaches to your soul and somewhere along the way defines your self worth.

Now we enter my healthcare rant – feel free to skip ahead 🙂  Background story: I had not been to a Primary Care Physician since I left my Pediatrician at 18 (yes, he had to boot me out because I’m lazy about finding DRs…it’s HARD mmmmkkkkkkaaayyyy).  All of my intermittent dr’s appts had been related to illness and involved Walgreens/CVS or Urgent Care.  Feel free to judge away…  Given my slightly recent interest boost in health and fitness, I figured it was time to find myself a DR and have an adult physical at the ripe old age of ::cough, cough:: 32.  Yep, it’s been quite awhile!

I began my search by checking my insurance and asking around for references.  This is a highly daunting task BTW because it’s a complete shot in the dark.  I’m borderline one of those “crunchy granola” people that HATES unnecessary meds and believes that a lot of things (not everything obviously) can be prevented and solved with dietary and lifestyle changes.  Meds absolutely have their place, but so does taking great care of oneself in my completely non-professional opinion.  That’s just personal preference that I’m not interested in debating.  Most Drs I’ve encountered are “pill pushers” and treat the symptoms, not the cause.  They will prescribe a prescription for any and every discomfort that may arise.  Which some people prefer that sort of thing, so more power to them.  Not my style, but insurance companies sure seem to be in favor of Dr’s like these…  I REALLY wanted someone more in the vicinity of a Naturopath but my insurance, of course, does not cover that.

So I watched a video of this Dr and she’s going on about women’s health and healthy diets and lifestyles and I’m like BOOM! I’m doing this!  I go, and we go through my whole health history and all the crazy questions they ask and then we get to the question about weight…dun dun duhhhhhhhh.

“How do you feel about your weight?”

“Like most women, I’m working on it but I feel like I’m in an OK place”

“I’m going to tell you that according the BMI chart you are OVERWEIGHT and could stand to lose AT LEAST 15 lbs”

The dreaded chart in case you aren’t as lucky as I to have encountered this monstrosity…bmi-chart

Uhhh I’m sorry, scuse??  Did you just say 15 LBS?!?  Now I know my abs are not popping out, my legs and booty look like two giant cantaloupes sitting on top of two watermelons, and there’s two weird pouches that have taken permanent residence on my stomach resembling tiny butts, but 15 LBS really??

Just to give you an idea…My Stats: I currently weigh 151 lbs @ 5’4″ and wear a size 4/6 or S/M depending on brand.  If you follow me, you know I work out almost daily and round out cardio and weight training typically with a preference for weight training.  I eat fairly healthy for the most part and follow container counts for getting proper nutrition and portion sizes.  I’m FAR from perfect and don’t strive to be, but I do make a good effort and attempt to get better.  I’m fully aware of and am working on my Starbucks addiction…

Now I understand the human brain has this thing about needing to label everything so it knows where to file it in the recesses of your mind, so there’s of course a societal need to quantify EVERYTHING.  BUT, shouldn’t there be a better universal way by now to determine a person’s health than an arbitrary number on a scale???  Shouldn’t there be a dialogue about what it is exactly a person is doing in their life for their health before qualifying them as overweight?

The conversation continued on…because I stopped pumping for my daughter less than a year ago, I must still be eating like I need those extra calories for milk production.  Her super helpful suggestion?  Eat less calories and do more cardio.  Well if that isn’t the most basic, generic answer, I dunno what is.  I informed her that I workout and eat fairly healthy…she had no idea what Beachbody was as I’m trying to explain.  She remained steadfast in her recommendation.  Then informed me that other than that she found me to be in great health and didn’t think I needed any blood testing for cholesterol and such.  OK now I’m really confused…so I’m overweight by AT LEAST 15 lbs because the chart says so but you don’t suspect any current or foreseeable future issues with my health worth checking for, even though I haven’t been to a PCP in 14 years.  Alrighty then…  (Piece of advice here: YOU are your own advocate.  If you disagree with something…speak up.  While you may not be a medical professional, you should be a pretty good judge of how you’re feeling.  I opted for the testing to at least have a baseline for moving forward and I will continue my search for a doctor that is more aligned with my ideals.)

I digress.  So although none of that really made a whole lot of sense to me, here is my REAL ISSUE with this…I used to be a person who depended on that scale to tell me if I was fat or not.  I LIVED for that number to go down, so much so that it was completely attached to my mood and my perception of myself.  If that number didn’t budge or GASP went up, it ruined my entire day.  It meant I didn’t work hard enough, I wasn’t doing enough, I wasn’t good enough.

Fast forward to now…I focus almost completely on how I’m feeling.  My weight difference between then and now is less than 5 lbs. Completely serious, no exaggeration.

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5. Freaking. Lbs.  A number on a scale does not look the same on every, single person.  It doesn’t even look the same on the same person given differences in diet and exercise.  So how can the number on the scale define a person’s health??  The number on the scale (and subsequently the correlating BMI number) don’t take into account muscle tone, bloat, hormonal changes, eating and/or drinking.  So why is there so much weight put on a person’s weight?  I’ve learned to focus my attention more to non-scale victories –  Did I kill my workout today?  Did I stick to my meal plan?  How am I feeling?  How are my clothes fitting?  If I’m feeling off, is it because of hormonal changes throughout the month or did I get off track?  The scale can make for a great starting point, but these questions should go right along with it.

So my long drawn out point is this…DITCH THE SCALE.  Focus on you.  Your strengths. Your weaknesses.  Your improvements.  Don’t let the scale dictate your journey or self worth.  If you aren’t happy with where you are, or even if you are but feel like you still want to do better, make a change today.  Focus your energy on what you can do right now.  Don’t have time to workout?  Focus on changing your eating habits.  I bet once you make some changes to your eating and drinking habits you might find you have more energy to get moving!

Here’s some ideas that you can implement right now:

  • Family dance parties
  • Try new veggies and fruits
  • Walks
  • Find simple healthy swaps in the meals you love
  • Create a journal to track eating habits, mood, or to focus your mind on goals and positive thoughts
  • Cut out sugary crap
  • Drink more water
  • Replace one meal a day with a salad or Shakeology
  • Find fun, healthy recipes to try
  • Cut animal byproducts out of your meals one day a week
  • Join our fitness tribe!

There are TONS of things you can change right this second to work toward a healthier you.  Find what works for you and your family and be sure to make that time for yourself doing something just for you.  It makes all the difference!

Looking for more fitspiration?  Feel free to contact me!