Quick update from my last post – I am back up to 185.2 lbs.
You can bet your bottom dollar that I was pissed when I saw that number on the scale during my body scan with my CrossFit coach. I have been working so hard and my weight is going UP?! Immediately, I started thinking about all of the bad foods I had eaten, the runs that I could have gone through faster and the workouts that I scaled the weeks prior.
After the scan was completed, I begrudgingly put my socks and shoes back on and turned to my coach to discuss the findings of the scale. Get this – he was impressed.
Um, I’m sorry, what? – I thought to myself. Why would he be impressed with those three digits on the scale? My goal weight is 155 and now I’m over 30 lbs away again! I could feel my eyes narrowing and tears forming from frustration and he was acting like my scan was good – sheesh!
Well, guess what? The overall number on the scale didn’t mean a thing to him. He looked at the scan and explained that my skeletal muscle mass v. body fat mass was good – I am the picture of a healthy/fit 25 year old female.
Whaaaaaaaaaat? It didn’t make any sense to me. I still weigh more than all of the guys that I date, my BMI is usually in the “overweight” category, and I still have a gut that will not go away. I get that muscle weighs more than fat and everyone says that but it doesn’t feel like it! Sharing a weight of 185.2 is embarrassing! I should weigh so much less than that!
I am sharing some of the results of my scan with you to really drive home the fact that the generic number on the scale actually doesn’t mean much. I never believed people when they said that to me. I have always used my weight to determine if I was healthy or losing fat effectively. According to the scan, I only have 28.3 lbs of fat on my body (so my weight loss goal of 30 lbs isn’t really realistic unless I want to lose muscle mass as well). That’s 15% body fat. According to what I have read online, a very healthy female athlete at my age usually has 14-17% body fat. 15 might be my new favorite number, I’m just sayin’!
I have had some time to process this information since my scan, which happened about a week ago. Since that time, I have removed my own personal scale from my bathroom and put it up on a high shelf in the closet (keep in mind that I’m almost 6′ tall so I can easily get it down whenever I want to, but still).
I have also been thinking about why teeny tiny numbers on a small digital screen had come to mean so much to me when they really weren’t even a good measure of my progress. I think, in general, we are raised to think that way. I have heard so many times that you shouldn’t ask a woman what she weighs. I see memes that say things like “my goal is to weigh as much as I told them I did when I got my driver’s license.” Weight loss programs are geared only toward this number. MyFitnessPal never asked about my body composition, just my weight (perhaps not a such a great pal after all, eh?). Plus, it recommended a calorie intake of 1400/day for me at some point. According to my scan, I need at least 1908 calories just to function as a couch potato for a day.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone is different. I understand that there are people that actually need to drop pounds for health reasons. Using body weight increase/decrease is a good generic measure of success in the beginning of trying to make a healthy lifestyle change. It’s one unit that everyone can measure and understand. However, my point is that it isn’t everything. I should not have gotten so upset when I saw that number on the scale. Logically, I should have thought about how my pant size hasn’t changed even though that number had gone up (a good indicator that I was gaining lean muscle mass and not fat) and I should have focused on the fact that I am still feeling great.
The point of my rant today isn’t to bash on people that use the number on the scale to measure their success as they try to be healthier. Again, it’s simply to point out that it isn’t everything. We shouldn’t be embarrassed by our weight – it’s just a number. It’s like the fact that my hair is blonde. I weigh 185.2 lbs and my hair is blonde. I can change both things if I wanted to, I could adjust them. But they are just general facts about a physical characteristic. The color of my hair doesn’t tell you if it’s healthy or even if it looks good (which it doesn’t today, mind you). The same thing goes for someone’s weight – the number doesn’t tell you the full story.
Please keep this in mind as you work to improve your health and body. Keep your head up on rough days and keep up the good work!