Raise your hand if you own a scale and weigh yourself almost everyday.
Raise your hand if you when you weigh yourself, you feel like you want to cry.
Raise your hand if your day would start a lot happier if you chose to forget about the scale. DING! DING! DING!
Let’s talk about this (un)necessary evil thing we keep on our bathroom floors for those early morning (naked) weigh-ins. Honestly, why do we even do this when we could just roll around on broken glass and feel the same way?? We have made this NUMBER so personal. So.. POWERFUL. But why? Were you once at a weight where you were most comfortable in your own skin? Did someone once tell you that you SHOULD be a certain weight? Do you feel unlovable if you are not the weight you want to be? Is it a “pre-baby” number you’re going after? There are SO MANY things to consider when trying to accomplish CHANGE in your body and we put ALL of our success in what the scale says. THIS has to change.
When I started this blog 6 months ago, I was eager to share my experiences, my struggle with body image during and post pregnancy and my journey to finding my balance. I have nothing to lose to be honest here and continue to let you in on the good, the bad and downright hard. A transformation isn’t a destination. You don’t fly all the way to Hawaii just to put your toes in the sand, take one jumping photo on the beach and turn back around to get on your flight to go home. All that work would not be worth the one moment. Why wouldn’t we stay awhile… shoot, why are we not MOVING to Hawaii? When we decide to take trip down transformation road, let’s plan on STAYING there forever. No more quick fix, try-to-get-skinny-for-summer schemes. A transformation is a lifestyle change, a relocation to a better place (like Hawaii), if you will.
Now, for the addendum of my personal journey. After a solid YEAR or consistent macro tracking, improving my relationship with food, falling in love with Crossfit and seeing some positive changes in my physique, I started to become a little more interested in refining some of the rough “problem areas” I still carried with me. Genetically, I carry extra weight in my lower half. If the term “ghetto booty” or “thunder thighs” resonates with you… you can relate to me. My quads and hamstrings are so overly dominant, that my glutes are rarely forced to fire and do any of the work. I sought some much needed help from the body sculpting extraordinaire, Heidi Powell, and she shed some light on something I had not thought about. I train like a Crossfitter, I eat like a Crossfitter and so I LOOK like a Crossfitter. Cool. I’m fine with that. A big part of being good at a sport is having the right body type and tools to make functional fitness work for you. But for a hot second, I was lured into thinking I wanted to focus on “perfecting” those problem areas and that would mean I would have to CHANGE the way I trained. Ok… I can do that. Working out is working out, right? Just tweak a few things? I decided to whole-heartedly commit to a change in my training for 8 weeks.. just out of curiosity.
I swapped out Crossfit (a combination of heavy-lifting, skills and metabolic conditioning) with standard bodybuilding/hypertrophic exercises (lower weight with reps to failure.. breaking down muscles with the hope of rebuilding and recreating a more shapely composition). I did ZERO cardio for 8 weeks and put myself into a caloric surplus (eating MORE calories than what I burned.. which is what you HAVE to do in order to build lean muscle). However, this wasn’t an all out binge on junk food feast, but controlled and within the proper ratios of carbs, fat and protein. When done properly, you can ensure that the weight GAINED is mostly lean muscle, with just a little extra body fat. If you DON’T control your nutrition with the proper macro ratios, you risk putting on more body fat in the process.
So… what happened?? Well, I obviously gained weight. I put on a solid 8 pounds.. some muscle and some fat, but all for the greater good of recreating my composition to be leaner and (hopefully) a little more girly/curvy. I don’t know if you follow many Crossfit chicks, but they are basically built straight up and down, like stalky, jacked gymnasts that look basically like men. Oh wait.. did I just describe myself? This is what I’m working with, people. Here is what happened.
This brings me to my next point.
Do what you love and love what you do.
My 8-week hiatus taught me a few things. First and foremost, I started working out for aesthetics. While there is nothing technically wrong with caring about the way you look, the goal and motivation in my mind became “a better body” …and I was miserable. I couldn’t pin point why all of a sudden is started to dread my workouts. For a YEAR, I was so motivated to workout in my garage and now.. nothing. Was I just losing my drive and about to fall off and back into my old, bad habits? I was nervous and just trying to trust the process. Finally, it clicked with me. I love Crossfit because I have to COMPETE. I want to win.. even if it’s just for bragging rights 😳 I was starting to fight against who I was and what my body was built for.. all in the name of vanity. For me, strictly bodybuilding was lonely and monotonous. I had to resolve in my head that I would rather keep improving in my sport and take what I get with aesthetics, than dread workouts and feel less “fit” but look the way I always wanted. Finding a hybrid between the two (predominantly Crossfit) is where I am currently landing to find that balance. I’m currently in the midst of it, so I will have to write an addendum if I have any new revelations.. as I’m sure I will.
What does this mean for the scale?
In a recomposition phase like what I have been going through, it is IMPERATIVE that we do not let the scale dictate our emotions. I have learned that I am MUCH happier when my focus is on PERFORMANCE–beating my last time, lifting heavier and new personal records. I am frustrated, irritable and SO critical of my body when I focus on the scale and my outward appearance. Look, I know the goal is to look good.. I’m just as vain as the next girl scrolling though IG wishing I was perfect. But the real goal here is to be ever improving your OWN SELF. Becoming a better version of yourself in ALL areas, one healthy habit at a time is a slow, but life changing process. Ask me about it. I’m in the thick of trying to create better habits for more optimal living.. if I could just keep my head screwed on straight.
Here are 2 different examples over the past 6 months that have been big eye openers for me. The first comparison is a change over 6 months. I started eating and training to put on a little bit of size and shape.. the difference is 8 pounds heavier on the right:
This side by side is a comparison of 3 MONTHS, but staying at the same exact weight. On the left, I had just started putting on weight for the sake of recomposition, only bodybuilding style workouts and NO cardio. I was in a caloric surplus (eating more than I burned at about 2550 cals… my macros were 350C/60F/140P… so fun, right?) On the right, I slowly worked my way down into a slight deficit for about 8 weeks.. eating more around 200gC/45F/170P. Since I was “cutting” from such a high calorie range, I was still able to eat a decent amount while shedding body fat. I also returned to my regular Crossfit routine and added in more HIIT cardio.
The scale is ONE way to tell what’s going on within the body. But DO NOT let it tell you what’s going on in your heart.
If your heart and emotions are too closely tied to the scale, please consider taking a season of refraining from weighing.
If you weigh yourself more than once a day, please realize that you are placing your value in THAT NUMBER and that is simply not the truth about your life. You were bought with a price, a precious and precisely created being by the hand of a perfect God who adores you and wants your attention as He so lavishly gives us His. Let’s take the time to care, stop being lazy, turn our attention from the scale and onto a well balanced healthy lifestyle and stop being overly concerned about that number. Be strong, happy and at peace with who you are in this moment and where you are on your journey. I’m right here with you… telling myself all the same things.