The Rules: Part One

No discussion of weight as a bad thing

The scale…oh the dreaded scale. Weigh in day; don’t eat, don’t drink, make sure you empty everything you can, and hope for the best. Your whole day hinges on that number. How crazy is that????

Visit the doc, weighs you, measures your height, you’re over such and such a number and are obese.

You join a new gym, take classes and find yourself lifting weights you never thought you would. You feel better, stronger, more confident; you’re getting compliments about how specific body parts look in specific clothes. You step on the scale and see you’re 10 lbs heavier than you’ve ever been!!!!

I’m going to make a bold statement: Assuming fitness of some sort isn’t your ‘job’, what the scale says is meaningless for most people. There are so many variables; muscle mass, bone density, water retention, fat; How do you trust that number is reflective of health? It’s one of several metrics, and if you’re at a ‘dangerous’ weight; your doctor has already discussed that with you.

Me? I gotta lose some fat. What will that mean in weight change? No idea. 50lb of fat is probably a good fuzzy metric, but it’s not a goal. My health goals are more specific: I have some shirts and shortsI want to fit into. I want to get that 500lb deadlift. I’d like to run a 5k again. I’d like to think that I haven’t hit my last max on ANYTHING.

What part will the scale play for me? Surprisingly little; as it should. I’ll weigh in every week or two; see how things are going. The only takeaway from that number is “stay the course” or “make some kind of adjustment.” That gets added into the mix with “how’s that shirt fitting and how’re the workouts going?”

A final, big part of this is being kind to yourself. That number is not indicative of your worth. Great people come in all shapes and sizes, and so do jerks. You’re human and you have human engagements, activities and expectations. Is winding yourself up over whether or not you should have a piece of birthday cake really worth it? It’s cake. One slice isn’t going to hurt you or set you back. Savor it.

Weight is neither good or bad; it’s one of several factors that indicate overall health. I like to think of it as the check engine light in your car. There might be a problem, or your gas cap may be loose; talk to an expert and address it. Don’t beat yourself, or the car up.


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2 Responses to The Rules: Part One

  1. I literally weigh myself every day (unless I’m away or something). Keeps me in check. My weight doesn’t define me, but I try to stay below a specific number. More fat means more risk for cancer recurrence, so I need that daily “ok, you’re good”. Whatever works, right? (I missed this dialogue when you weren’t writing!)

    • Sean

      Thanks for the reply and I enjoy reasonable, polite discussions; too much time near FB and Twitter.

      My rules can’t apply to everyone. You want to stay within a range, which makes sense, and you want to be aware if you start unexpectedly losing weight. You’re not in the “I’m 150 lbs and should be 130 so I don’t look GROSS” demographic. That number isn’t tied to your self esteem. And I know people who see it as a call to action “better cut back on desserts and head to the gym.”

      A hard lesson I’ve learned is that any tool can be given more importance than it deserves. Heck, you and I lived by numbers from reports that didn’t reflect a single thing going on day to day, but held enormous power over those things.

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