I know you’ve heard it before, and I also know that you didn’t listen. You didn’t take the message to heart. Nope. You got on that scale that very day and told yourself that you should weigh five, ten, or maybe 50 pounds less. “Is it water weight or maybe the ice cream I ate yesterday?” you asked yourself, and cursed your lack of will power. I used to be a slave to the scale, too. But fuck the scale. Seriously, fuck it.
Muscle is some heavy mass, people. It is denser than fat. And we want muscle mass, because it speeds our metabolism, improves posture, helps us live longer, and keeps us active. Yet the majority of women measure physique goals by a number on the scale and not how they feel. I get it. The scale, it seems, is black and white. You can hang your hat on that goal weight…that ideal number. “I’ll be happy when I’m 125 pounds! Yes, then I’ll be happy.” We’ve all done it.
That number on the scale doesn’t tell the entire story. Sure, the scale can be one tool used to measure fat loss, but it shouldn’t be THE fat loss measurement tool on which you rely the most. Your best fat loss measurement tool is your eyeballs and not that stupid scale. How do your clothes fit? Do you see more muscle definition? Take before pictures and monthly progress pictures as you change your diet and fitness routine to determine what is working best. Get your body fat tested if you need some concrete numbers, but don’t live or die by that scale.
You aren’t convinced? Let’s talk muscle facts.
- A pound is a pound, but a pound of fat takes up four times the space as muscle mass.
- Muscle burns calories. Maintaining muscle requires more energy than nearly all other tissues in the body. In short, you get to eat more when you have more muscle!
- Muscle helps control blood sugar.
- More muscle means more insulin receptor sites. More receptors means it is easier for your body to metabolize fat and that helps you stay lean.
- Muscle is sexy. (Yes, that’s a fact.)
Only recently have I decided to stop fixating on that number on the scale. That stupid number. Since I can remember, each and every morning that number greeted me without fail like that annoying co-worker who stands next to the coffee maker looking for small talk when you have a deadline. What a dumb thing to feel disappointed in yourself over as you start the day anew.
Here is a secret. I weigh more now than I ever have. I also feel fitter than ever.
Generally speaking, I follow this simple mantra: Eat whole foods. Avoid packaged crap as often as possible. Drink lots of water. Eat vegetables at every meal. Get my protein on. Exercise most days. Enjoy the outdoors. Walk places. Play with the kids. Live.
It works for me. I feel balanced.
It’s time as a society, and as the strong women we are, to know that we are more than a number on a scale. Our thighs can touch. Our bellies can be a soft place for our kids to lay their heads. We come in all shapes and sizes. Strive to be fit because you want to feel good and have energy to do the things you love. Take care of yourself because you want to be able to live a full life. Make good food choices because you know it is your body’s fuel and you want to feel good 20 minutes from now, 5 hours from now, 10 days from now and for the next 50 years. Food is not a reward or a punishment. It is nourishment.