Being a coach has many facets. My favorite thing about being a coach, hands down, is knowing that I’ve been able to inspire someone to improve their life.
Whether it comes from reading a blog post I’ve written or seeing a pic of my progress if I can help just one person put their unhealthy lifestyle into perspective and decide to make a positive change my day is made.
For the past two years I’ve had countless people ask for my advice regarding how they can better themselves. They often want tips on how to eat clean and how to exercise to get in better shape.
In return, I ask for a general idea of their current diet and workout routines and what their goals are. Everything comes down to the specific goal they want to accomplish. Different goals require different strategies for accomplishing them.
I find out what they’re currently eating throughout the day. I’ll also ask what their workouts consist of, or if they’re even working out at all.
In general, the first thing that helps a person realize it’s time to get their health and fitness under control is the way they look and feel.
It could be that they don’t have the energy they used to, they don’t feel attractive, or maybe they can’t button the pants that fit just one year before. Or they’re unhappy with the way they look when gazing back at themselves while standing in front of the mirror getting ready for the day.
Then there’s the scale…
The Convenient And “Trustworthy” Scale
The scale is one of the most convenient ways to measure your progress in terms of how much you weigh. While the scale can be your best friend at times, it can also be your worst enemy.
It’s easy to get anxious in the beginning of any weight loss transformation and want to weigh yourself every day or two to see if what you’re doing is working. I understand this temptation, but I always advise against it.
You need to give your body time to adjust to the changes you’re making to sculpt your body into that sexy, toned version you’ve been dreaming about.
No Weight Change, No progress?
If you weigh yourself more often than once every week or so, there’s a good chance that you won’t see a major drop in your weight. You may not see a drop at all even if you’re losing fat simply due to slight fluctuations in water weight.
Sometimes the scale won’t show a difference after several weeks. That must mean you aren’t losing any fat, right?
WRONG! In fact, you could be doing getting the exact changes you need, replacing fat with muscle, and the scale just isn’t giving you the correct story.
This is why I believe taking additional measurements (and pictures) is crucial in any body transformation. Like BMI measurements, the scale doesn’t always tell truth. It often doesn’t, actually. So you need more information to tell you the whole story.
It hurts to admit, but I’m actually writing this because I recently had to remind myself of this advice I’m always so quick to give to others.
I’ve really been concentrating on the scale for the last few months while preparing for my competition. Every Friday I weigh myself. (You better believe that my stress level sky rockets Thursday.)
It takes every ounce of willpower to resist getting on the scale on Wednesday and Thursday just to see if I’m close to losing my goal of about 1-2 pounds per week.
This past week, however, I felt good! So good, in fact, I didn’t even have the urge to get on the scale all week because I just knew I hit my numbers. I. Knew. It.
My cardio was more intense, my weight training was on point, and when I left the gym I was SWEATY. I’m talking dripping with sweat! My kids wouldn’t even give me a hug when I picked them up from the daycare, so you know I was drenched!
I even visually looked better.
Friday came and I jumped out of bed from the excitement of getting to call my coach with fantastic news of 1-2 pounds of weight loss!
Lo and behold, I was wrong!
There wasn’t any change in my weight. NONE.
I was floored! Extreme disappointment doesn’t even come close to describing how I felt.
After being as excited as ever to call my coach with what I thought would be wonderful news, the last thing I wanted to do now was call my coach and have him take out more food from my diet. I was actually scheming how I could try and bargain with him if he mentioned reducing my calories.
I was more than willing to add more cardio as long as I could keep my food the same! If we still didn’t see progress the following week I’d reconsider.
The Scale Deceived Me, As It Often Does
It turns out, I was mistaken. Progress, as I know full well, isn’t just defined by the number on the scale.
It’s in your measurements, the way your clothes fit, how you feel, what your body looks like. Sometimes we get so caught up in what a scale tells us that we forget to gauge our progress based on the whole reason we started: to improve what we look like.
Look at yourself and ask, “Do I look any better? Do I feel any better?” If your answer is “yes” to either of those questions, the reading on the scale is irrelevant.
Even though I know this and give this exact advice to others on a regular basis, I was so caught up in my weekly weight loss (like a contestant on The Biggest Loser) that I failed to realize it myself.
So, about that call to my coach…
I was dreading it out of anticipation of the disappointment I’d hear on the other end of the phone.
To my surprise, all I heard was a calm, reassuring voice that told me to take my body measurements on Saturday and to let him know what they are.
We talked for about ten minutes. By the end of our conversation I actually felt relieved. I was reminded that no matter what the outcome was there are always ways to make improvements.
Because of how hard I am on myself, however, all night at work the only thing I could think about was that number on the scale. I’m not sure why, but that rather superficial number really does have a lingering psychological effect on us.
Still, I was holding out a small glimmer of hope. I kept hearing my coach’s voice in my head saying, “In a perfect world, Amber, your weight stayed the same and your measurements went down, because that would mean you’re losing fat while gaining muscle.”
You can just call me “Negative Nancy”, because that thought was immediately followed with this one: “Yeah, coach, in a PERFECT world… Like that exists”.
The Scale Is A Liar
So Saturday morning finally came. My husband and I woke up and did my measurements. I was in complete shock!
It turned out the scale lied to me, as it often does. Instead of being a wasted week, it was a PERFECT one!
My measurements dropped pretty drastically, including a 1/2 inch loss of fat around my waist, and over an inch lost around my hips.
I maintained (or gained) muscle mass while losing fat mass. The one thing that seemed to be impossible in my mind, because I made the mistake of believing the scale, and I did it!
Needless to say, I was more than happy to call my coach with those numbers. The best part: no change in my diet for the next week! And I didn’t even need to resort to my back-up plan of trying to bargain with him. 🙂
After an emotional whirlwind of a week I was reminded of a valuable lesson: The scale doesn’t define progress!
So don’t let a disappointing number on the scale discourage you or distract you from your goals. It’s easy to give up after not seeing your weight drop and the scale has deflated the motivation of many victims.
Hard, consistent work will get you there, even if the scale says otherwise. Don’t let the scale define your progress. Ever!