Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivated Mondays

Just the words weigh-in can strike fear in the heart of many women (and men) trying to lose weight, and get fit.  This is especially true if you are building muscles while trying to lose fat.  I remember talking to my mum about my clothes still fitting even though I was almost 15lbs heavier since adding serious weight lifting then I had been 2 years prior (when I was a Weight Watchers junkie and cardio queen!).  How could this be?

I bet you're thinking I am going to say well muscles weighs more then fat.  It doesn't.  That's not logical.  But it is denser then fat.  So a pound of muscle takes up less space then a pound of fat.  And that's critical info when you're building muscle to lose fat (remember muscle burns more calories so to lose fat, we want to build muscle).  It can be so disheartening to step on the scale and see the number stay the same or worse go up week to week.  And definitely in some cases, that's a sign that calories in are higher then calories out.  But if you are tracking your food honestly and your calories consumed are lower then calories expended, you might just be building muscle!  Even knowing that you're building muscle, that number can be really upsetting and can even derail your best laid plans.  Meet your new best friends - progress pictures, tape measures and how your clothes fit!  These three elements, particularly the progress photos, can give you a far better and more accurate view of what's really happening to your body.

I take progress pictures every Monday.  This is something I started at the beginning of August 2012 and I honestly wish I had done it every step of the way since I first started watching my weight in July 2002. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 but you can start now! Even when the scale doesn't move, the pictures might say "more muscle" or they might say "water weight" after consuming a big meal.  But either way, you'll at least know better what you're working with and certain foods affect your body.

Taking measurements can help you see positive gains (muscle) and positive losses (fat).  Maybe your bicep is actually bigger now, but also firmer - yay muscle! Your abs are probably tighter and measuring smaller (fat loss!).  Even when the scale doesn't budge, the tape measure might tell a very different story.

For lots of people, throwing away the scale is a great idea.  If listening to your body, the fit of your clothes and progress pictures works for you, great.  The scale is JUST A NUMBER! For myself, and many others though, the scale helps see another element of progress that works for us.  If it motivates you, great, if it doesn't, it's far from the only way to see your success.  Only allow things that motivate and work for you to be a part of the plan, ditch the rest.

Does the scale motivate you? How do you track your success?

3 comments:

  1. It helps me keep track but I can only look at it once a week otherwise I drive myself crazy :)

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    1. I am the same way. Sean likes to jump on all the time and it doesn't really get to him but I have to keep myself to once or twice a week at most or I go crazy. And honestly, you can't get a real sense of what's going on if you weigh yourself all the time since your weight can fluctuate from water, working out, a meal etc etc etc!

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