We are continuing with our Core Value Series where we’re diving a bit deeper into each core value of Worth the Work Fitness in order to help you get to know us better, and to help encourage you towards a healthier mindset with your health and wellness journey. Each week we are sharing one of our nine core values that are a part of the foundation of why we do what we do, and expanding on why each one is so significant to us and why we believe each can be significant to you as well.
We focus on the feel-good, rather than the scale. The number on the scale is NOT a measure of your worth. What’s more important are the non-scale victories - things like clothes fitting better, getting off medications, having more energy, sleeping better, seeing a difference in the mirror and in pictures, recognizing positive changes in your mood, keeping up with your kids or grandkids, doing the activities you’ve always wanted to do, or other people noticing the changes you’ve made. Those are the victories that matter most.
Oh, the scale. Such a fickle friend. It’s more often than not that people have an unhealthy relationship with their scale. Sure it seems like a good relationship when it shows us what we want, but as soon as it shows us anything different, we suddenly spiral into feelings of disappointment, frustration, anger, confusion, or stress. I know firsthand how aggravating and disheartening it can be to put in hard work, but not see the number budge, or worse, go in the opposite direction than we want it to. Like many of the methods or tools in the fitness industry we’ve mentioned throughout this series, it’s not the method/tool itself that is a bad thing, but it’s HOW we use them that can become a problem. It’s our mindset that can cause us some trouble. Let me give you an example.
I was talking with a client once when I worked at a brick and mortar gym. She had been coming to classes for about a month, so I checked in with her to ask how she was feeling. Her response: “I’m feeling the best I have in my entire life!” She went on to share how other people had been noticing changes in her; how her clothes were fitting better; how she was sleeping better and had more energy. The more she shared, the more she was glowing. Then, two days later I saw the same client and I could tell something was off with her. When I asked how she was doing, she told me she was miserable. We sat down again to chat, and I expected to hear about some family or work stress that caused the sudden shift in her attitude. But no. I came to find out that she had stepped on the scale that morning and she hadn’t lost any weight from the week before. Mind you, she had already lost nearly 10 pounds in her first month at the gym, but having one week of no change on the scale was enough for her to toss out all of those victories we celebrated a couple days prior, and focus on how miserable the scale made her feel. Soon after, she stopped showing up as consistently to classes and within two weeks she ended up cancelling her membership. Just one week of assumed stagnance was enough to halt her momentum and derail her from her journey. When she focused on the non-scale victories and how she was feeling, she had a glow about her and a skip in her step. But when she shifted her focus to the scale, it made her feel like the work she was putting in wasn’t worth it, and it led her to give up.
This story feels all too familiar to too many people. It’s because weight loss tends to be the primary focus in the health and fitness industry. And the most tangible way to measure that is through a scale. So as a result, we put a lot of weight (no pun intended) on it as a measurement of our success. Even if we celebrate the non-scale victories, we still often let the scale have the final say. And yet, a scale only tells one small portion of the story. There are a wide variety of ways to measure your progress when it comes to your health. Here’s a small list of some examples:
If you are seeing positive progress in even just a few of these areas, shouldn’t that hold more weight than the number on the scale?
It’s also worth mentioning that there are many different variables that can cause your weight to fluctuate. Things like water retention, stress levels, what time of day you weigh yourself, how recently you used the restroom, how recently you ate, what you ate, and menstrual cycles can all impact your weight over the course of a day (or even over the course of a couple hours). So shouldn’t we hold that measurement a little more loosely?
At Worth the Work Fitness, we want to see you freed up from finding your worth in the number on the scale. We want to help you sever ties with the thing that may be dictating and limiting your abilities, self esteem, potential, and value as a human being. Because we want to see you live a wholly healthy life. And trying to control your body weight doesn’t fit into that because it doesn’t equate to health. Instead it can lead to a mess of unhealthy effects that hinder not only your physical health, but also your mental, emotional, and relational health.
So we want to challenge you to change the script. Literally. Change the dialogue in your mind about what happens when you step on a scale. Take some time to reflect on your relationship with that hunk of plastic and determine if it’s causing you more harm than good. Is it controlling your mood? Is it ruining your day? Is it leading you into stress (that ends up causing you to retain weight)? Is it supporting any self deprecating thoughts? If it is, we’d encourage you to take a step back and limit how frequently you utilize it. Maybe only weigh yourself once a week, or once a month, if you still want to track progress in that way. Or better yet, maybe you decide to throw it in the trash and not use it at all. Because in our humble opinion, there are far better, more valuable ways to prove just how awesome of a human you are.
So let's put this into practice. Let us know in the comments: what is one non-scale victory you can celebrate THIS WEEK?
Written by Brett Henderson and Kelly Pruim