The thought of going #ScaleFree for a season is a little traumatizing for some, mainly because we’re so flatly encouraged to use the scale as our primary metric for the success of our weight loss efforts. It seems counter-intuitive to not use it in some regard, right?
Well, sort of.
Theoretically speaking, going scale free isn’t completely about throwing the scale out the window – it’s about breaking free from the belief that it’s the sole method for understanding our changing bodies. Many people want smaller bodies, and want to achieve that in a healthy, permanent way – that might require gaining weight, and not just any weight – it might require gaining muscle. Many people want leaner bodies, and may find themselves in a situation like myself – realizing that the only way to get leaner without being underweight means gaining muscle.
In other words, a mere scale that only tells you your weight ain’t gon’ cut it… especially since doing some of the things that brings about ‘success’ on the scale can jeopardize not only your ability to lose weight, but the ability to keep it off permanently, as well.
This time, it’s going to be different.
This time, we’re going to shift our focus, our metrics, and our energies in another direction. We’re going to quantify our efforts in a more productive fashion, and instead of agonizing over changing our weights, we’re going to focus on changing our lives, and the weight loss will feel almost effortless naturally.
So, that being said, here are five reasons why your #ScaleFree weight loss efforts will be successful this season:
1) You’re going to take up an activity you enjoy, not something you see other people doing and experiencing results from. If you hate running, you think it’s grueling torture, and it brings you great pain, it makes very little sense to instantly start doing 4 mile runs back to back to back every day. Taking up a calorie-burning activity that you enjoy not only ensures that you’ll complete the entire activity, but it means you’ll stick with it long term. You won’t mind the burn or the soreness because you loved the community, the activity, the way it makes you feel, the friends you’ve made, the experiences you’ve shared, whatever. It could be rock climbing and hiking, it could be zumba, it could be cycling (indoor or otherwise), and yes, it could most certainly be running. Find something you love, hone your skills at it, and that will naturally encourage you to commit. Before you know it, you’ll naturally be shedding pounds.
2) You are going to get a full length mirror, and you are going to stand in it. Naked. Regularly. That’s right, I said it. For some reason, this is traumatizing to women, and as much as I’d love to say I don’t get it… I completely do. It’s hard, when you feel like you’d rather have a different figure, to look at yourself where you are now… but I’d rather offer a different perspective. The body you have today is the body you’re going to love, and treat as well as you can, and train it as hard as you can.. and this is the body that is going to perform to the point where it produces results. And, when it begins producing results, you’re going to notice those, too.
Not only will you notice the changes in your body, you’ll notice the changes in the way you pose in the mirror, too. You’ll notice that you now flex your arms in the mirror. You’ll notice you flex your quads, you stand up straighter. You’ll look at this body and, again, say to yourself, “I love this body, because it works hard. It trains hard, it performs well, and it gives 100%. It is incredible, it is beautiful, and I will do everything I can to treat it right.” Maybe that needs to be how you set your daily intentions, whatever. But make it happen.
Being honest with yourself about where you are and how you got there will serve as motivation for you to get moving on what it takes to change. Seeing those positive changes will serve as further incentive for you to keep going. Be vain. Stand in that mirror and learn your body, boo.
And yes, I need to get a full length mirror of my own, too.
3) You aren’t going to just scribble down everything you’ve eaten throughout the day; you’re going to actually review it at the end of the week and make changes accordingly. Keeping a food journal doesn’t make sense if all you’re going to do is look at it at the end of the day, sigh, and say “I’ll do better next week.” Nah, you’ve got to use that to assess what succeeded and failed for the week.
Write down what you ate. Write down when you ate it. Write down how you felt while you were eating it. Write down whether you were truly hungry, or if it was merely time to eat, or if this was a spontaneous stop at another one of those dry ass cupcakeries with a co-worker. Write down whether or not you actually turned down the opportunity to eat a spontaneous sweet treat. And, at the end of each week when you jump on your scale and see that you went up a pound or down three, you can look at your journal and see where your habits contributed to your progress, or lack thereof. You can see where your vulnerabilities are, and where you might need to make some modifications.
If you notice that you snuck off for those dry ass cupcakes three times this week, maybe you need to practice saying “no” to your co-worker. If you realize that you have a hard time with breakfast, maybe you spend a little time thinking of a quicker way to make it happen. Or, you skip it altogether. Either way, you figure out what works for you… but you can’t do that without the info. And, even if you’ve got the info, you can’t do anything with it if you don’t sit down and adequately assess.
4) You’re going to keep a schedule and a plan, and you’re going to stick to it. You’re going to recognize that it’s hard to incorporate everything necessary to make a full lifestyle change at first without a plan to follow, and you’re going to be gentle with yourself and plan for that in advance by creating a schedule. Sometimes, it requires eating the frog. Sometimes, it requires major sacrifice. Either way, it requires you taking the time to pencil in that date with the weight room or that Zumba class or the track. Treat it like a business meeting: come on time, come prepared, come excited, like your promotion depends on your performance. And get it done.
5) You’re going to join in with and contribute to communities that empower and encourage you. (And, you might find those friends on a #ScaleFree seasonal hashtag! #ScaleFreeSpring, #ScaleFreeSummer, and so on!)You’re going to connect with like-minded people when it comes to fitness, and you’re going to acknowledge when someone in your life isn’t supportive… and act accordingly. That doesn’t mean cutting them out of your life – sometimes, people just don’t know how to encourage people when it comes to weight loss, and they may have negative experiences that make it hard for them to support you – but it does mean setting clear boundaries around whether or not you discuss fitness or healthy living or any of it with them. Maybe they’re great for music convos, and terrible for fitness! It happens, and it’s okay.
When you interact and share with other positive, fitness-minded people, and compare the love and support you receive from them to what you get from the “why are you doing that? You know working out is for white people!” crowd, it becomes easy to see who you should stop sharing with and who may potentially become a saboteur. A simple “Let’s not talk about that… did you hear about [insert current event]” or becoming adept at the art of the subject change can make a world of difference in keeping your otherwise-stellar-friend as a friend and not a “former.”
At any rate, focusing your energies in these directions will almost certainly guarantee some weight loss success, and more importantly will have you feeling much better. More information, more activity, more positivity… who wouldn’t benefit from that?
Tell me, #bgg2wlarmy, what would you add?