To Weigh, or Not to Weigh

Today I’m reporting on a little experiment brought to you by a serious case of mom brain. I haven’t weighed myself in two months. During my weekly trips to Target, I have repeatedly forgotten to pick up a new 9-volt battery for our scale. So, while not weighing myself hasn’t been intentional, this is the longest time I have gone without weighing myself in years and today I’m sharing my personal and professional reflections (and results) about life sans scale.

I won’t lie, I have normally been the person weighing every few days, or at least once a week. And for awhile in between pregnancies, I had the unhealthy and obsessive habit of weighing myself every day. I remember three days after having my first daughter, I came home and while I should have lost at least 10 pounds (she weighed over 8 herself, plus I was no longer carrying around a placenta and I lost all of the amniotic fluid), I was only down 5 pounds. In my fragile postpartum state, I felt like a failure and cried. Then I remember weighing myself day in and day out after that until I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight…four months later.

In the last 20 months, since welcoming both of our baby girls–the youngest just five months ago–I’m happy/relieved/proud to say my relationship with the scale has gotten a lot healthier. Those feelings I had 20 months ago forced me to reflect on who I had become on the inside and think about why I would care about a number so much. My body had just done the most amazing thing possible–it created life and here I was obsessing over a number on a scale. As my oldest daughter moved out of the newborn days, I knew I didn’t want her to EVER obsess in the same way I was so I worked hard to change my mindset. This is an evolution that continued throughout the entirety of my second pregnancy last year and I’ve been continuing to grow over the last few months. A number on a scale will not and does not define me.

Even so, not weighing myself is very unlike me. While I don’t use weight as the only marker of my progress when working toward my health and fitness goals, I do think a scale can be a powerful tool.

Knowing your body weight can help you maintain a healthy weight and encourage healthy eating. I like to keep myself within a “target” weight zone (usually within about 3 pounds, plus or minus of my “goal” weight). This wiggle room leaves room for bloating caused by eating saltier foods (or my period) or dehydration.

Knowing how much we weigh can also help encourage healthy habits. I use a scale to keep my eating in check. Ie. weighing myself helps me avoid scarfing down a dozen donuts and multiple ice cream sundaes in a week. And on the flip side, it helps remind me to eat enough calories to build and maintain muscle if the number dips too low (which doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes could when I was marathon training).

Not weighing myself has really mixed up how I measure my progress and the markers I’ve been relying on have actually been motivating in different ways in the last couple months.

Living life without a scale means I’ve had to stick to what I’ve been saying since before I gave birth last October: the number on the scale isn’t important to me right now. Instead I’m more interested in how my clothes are fitting and my progress photos. And I’m proud to say that in the last several weeks, I’m down another pants/dress size and I’m seeing more muscle definition. These markers may not come with the fast gratification of the scale where you can watch your weight rise and fall a few pounds in a day or two, but these markers indicate changes that are certainly more permanent and that’s something I LOVE.

Further, my daily decisions haven’t been influenced by the scale and I think that’s actually helped me achieve more accountability and I’ve made even more positive choices than I would have in the past. Whereas I may have allowed myself a junk food treat when I was within my “weight zone,” I’ve been making more and more healthier choices as I look forward to fitting into new clothes and seeing progress in my monthly photos.

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Not identifying my progress with a number has been empowering and enlightening. While I think that when done in a healthy way, weighing yourself can be a positive part of anyone’s journey to health, it’s not the only way. In fact, the number on a scale is a tiny part of a way to define progress and sometimes someone can live a healthier life without it. The last couple months has shown me firsthand that measuring weight doesn’t have to be a part of everyone’s path.

If you haven’t lived life without a scale recently, I challenge you to do so. Consider analyzing your health in different ways for the next 30 days. Measure your life using different numbers. Track the number of steps your taking, count the number of workouts (and reps and sets) you’re completing in a week, look forward to fitting into a new size dress or pair of pants, and tally the number of veggies you’re consuming in a day. Take a photo at the beginning and end of your journey and you might be surprised by the changes. I’ll tell you this: after living without a scale for awhile, I still haven’t added “9V battery” to my Target shopping list.

How do you track your progress? Share in the comments below. 

 

 

Motivation Monday

Happy Monday! Every time I utter these two little words together I wonder if it’s a total oxymoron or if I should be laying the sarcasm on extra thick. Happy and Monday? Are Mondays ever really happy? A quick internet search using these two words comes back with some hilarious memes and I’d say the pop culture verdict is Mondays stink.

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For most people Monday signals the start of the work week so it’s not such a happy day. Now that I’m not working a regular “work week,” I guess Mondays aren’t so bad, except dad goes back to work, and mom (me!) is left with the chaos and mess of the weekend, loads of diaper changes, buckets of laundry, etc etc etc. Okay, I guess it can be a lot for everyone who isn’t waking up on vacation.

Getting back into the weekday grind means that oftentimes the LAST thing I want to do is exercise and eat healthy, but I think Mondays are actually one of the most important days to stick to your healthiest habits so I have a few tricks that help keep me on track. Don’t get me wrong–every day, meal, and moment is a spanking new opportunity to do your best to make better choices, but there’s something about a new week–kind of like the new year–that helps me hit that reset button.

Perhaps it especially feels like this because I love to let myself have more treats and variety in my diet and relax my exercise routine on the weekend. And Monday is the time where I have to get back to the business of taking care of myself and committing to my health. Monday is the day I sign back up for a whole 5(ish…Friday is the weekend at 5 pm around here) days of healthy habits.

One of the number one ways I stay motivated is with quotes. I have a couple quotes hung above doors and on the walls in my house to serve as simple reminders of positivity. I have a favorite workout tank top with a quote that makes me feel strong every time I put it on. And I have quotes saved up in my Pinterest account and flagged on my Instagram that I can draw from when I’m having a down or tired moment.

As an old college English major, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I find words to be so powerful. But thinking of the power behind a simple phrase motivated me to help motivate you! Instagram is full of all kinds of catchy hashtags, one of them being #motivationmonday, and this hashtag inspired me to take some of my favorite motivational quotes and brand them for my page. I’m excited to start sharing these momentos, not just on Instagram and Facebook, but here on my blog too!

So, here is one my all time favorite quotes. It’s applicable many Mondays for me, and I think it’s an especially excellent quote for those starting in my fitness workout group today (feel free to sign up and join all week to catch up on the workouts, recipes, and motivation):

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This simple quote is my reminder that I don’t need to do anything extraordinary on a day I might be feeling pretty ordinary or less than all of the super amazing athletes I follow on social media. Instead of comparing myself and quitting, my goal shifts from feeling like I need to keep up with them to just being me. Starting where I am and using the skills I have means I get to be me and do the best I can. I just have to try. And I think that’s a wonderful and simple reminder that most of us can apply to our lives every day.

How do you stay motivated? What are some of your favorite quotes? Share in the comments below.