By Priya A. Shah
My relationship with the scale has been complicated.
When I first joined a gym, I was scared of the scale. Then I was obsessed with it, hopping on after every workout. At one point, I let the number have too much power over me. It was like that boyfriend I wanted to break-up with, but kept going back to, even though he made me feel bad about myself.
We don’t see each other much these days. We’ll grab coffee maybe once a year to check-in, but it’s not necessary. Now, the scale is like that friend I say I’ve been meaning to grab lunch with, but never do. Deep down inside, I know that this friend isn’t a real friend. Just an acquaintance. And if we never meet for lunch, that’d be cool, too.
Think about your own relationship with the scale. Do you wake up and step on it every morning? Do you step on the scale with your head down, as if you’re in mourning, and beat yourself up for the rest of the day? Sometimes, we’re so focused on our weight that we forget to appreciate the journey and celebrate the non-scale victories.
It wasn’t until I stopped checking my weight that I started realizing what really matters. The scale wasn’t doing anything for me. In fact, it made me feel worse about myself.
When I wasn’t feeling great, I’d attract more things that didn’t make me feel great. I’d skip workouts. Go on a binge-eating spree. Then, I’d beat myself up for skipping workouts and binge-eating. All because of the number on the scale.
The cycle continued until, one day, I decided the scale would no longer determine my self-worth.
You see, when I hopped on the scale, I was chasing a number. When I celebrate non-scale victories, I’m chasing a feeling. Also, I never took into consideration that I I could weigh differently at different times of the day. Our weight fluctuates so much. Every time we poop, get our period, don’t get enough sleep, or get stressed out, our weight fluctuates.
When I finally stopped checking my weight, people started complimenting me. They would ask me how much I had lost, and I didn’t know the answer.
It didn’t matter anymore. You want to know what did matter?
- Lifting a set of heavier weights than I did last week
- Holding a crow pose in an yoga class for the first time
- Training for my first 5k and crossing the finish line
- Showing up at a runners group for the first time, terrified, but sticking with them (even if I was the last one!)
- Knowing that I’m all that and a bag of chips when I look in the mirror
- Not beating myself up for eating a bag of chips
- Owning the way my body looks, and loving it
- Owning my strength and getting stronger everyday
I rarely ever check my weight anymore. When I do, I gracefully accept whatever number is presented to me. At the end of the day, it’s just a number.
If you’re used to checking your weight constantly, take some time to break out of the habit. Stop always beating yourself up after stepping on the scale and instead, take a breath and let go of the number.
Small victories are worth chasing. Here are some suggestions to help you find yours.
Sign up for a race
Secretly, I have always wanted to be a runner. Specifically, to run a race. So last year, a few months before my 30th birthday, I decided I was going to run my first 5k. I signed up for the race before I had the chance to change my mind.
It was the most incredible three months (yes, I trained for three months for a 5k!) of pushing myself and crossing that finish line. Plus, it was a hot chocolate run, so I was rewarded with hot chocolate! Win-win!
If you’re already a runner, try a race you haven’t before. Hey — maybe this is the year you’ll do that half marathon, or full marathon. There’s always a way to make exercise exciting!
Bruh, do you even lift?
When you’re used to lifting the same amount, your muscles also get used to it.
One of my favorite non-scale wins is challenging myself to lift heavier. Sometimes, I have two sets of dumbbells in front of me: my comfortable weights and my heavier weights. I’ll lift with the heavier ones as long as I can, and then stop and switch.
P.S. It’s totally a misconception that you’ll get buff like a Jersey Shore dude if you lift. Lifting can help you look leaner (and be stronger!).
Get out of your comfort zone already!
Trying something new will help you feel empowered. I used to be afraid of being in the front of fitness classes. Now, I always HAVE to be up front.
If you’re only used to working out on machines, try a fitness class. If you’re only used to doing cardio, try doing some strength training. If you think you’ll be bad at yoga, sign up for a slow flow. If you’re always making excuses for why you can’t get to the gym, start working out at home! Popsugar Fitness has plenty of free workouts that you can do right in your living room.
Feel amazing in your clothes
You know that pair of jeans you won’t buy because you’re not at your ideal weight? Buy them!
Here’s a little secret: no one is going to know what size your shirt is or jeans are unless you tell them (or unless the tag is sticking out of your shirt, or inside out).
Every now and then, I’ll do a sweep through my closet. I love to have clothing that makes me feel amazing. Every. Single. Item. Even if it’s a pair of leggings or sweatpants. I want to feel like Beyoncé all the time.
It’s totally cool to work towards fitting into a pair of jeans as a goal — but you also deserve to feel amazing in the jeans you’re already in, regardless of size.
Love your clothes. Love yourself!
What are some of your non-scale victories? Share them with us in the comments!
Priya Shah is a Chicago-based freelance writer and serial blogger armed with a journalism degree and a strong background in providing clients with value, creativity, and a killer voice. She’s also a world-traveler, has lived abroad, and loves exploring other cultures.