Friday, December 31, 2010

New Numbers Fitness: Ditch the scale

Or maybe you just want to tell your scale that you shouldn't see each other exclusively.

One of the biggest problems in our fitness culture is that success is defined by one number. Think about it -- we evaluate our bodies almost entirely on weight. From miracle diets to obesity-busting reality shows, they all focus on pounds to lose.

What's wrong with this picture? There's no way to measure the positive impact of your body getting stronger. Where's the tool to measure an energized day, a wonderful bike ride with your favorite person or the thrill of glorious sunset on an evening walk?

If you're willing to take a shot at lifelong fitness, you're going to need these other yardsticks when the scale sneers at you. And it will. About six months into my 2009 weight loss adventure, I hit a huge plateau. Even though I was running longer distances more often than I ever had in my life, my weight refused to budge.

I exercised harder. I pouted. I whined to Hot Husband. I shook my fist at the scale and the sky. Nada.

That's when I ditched the scale.

I realized that everything else, workout-wise, was going along smoothly. My quads were powerful, my abs had definition. I could fit into pre-pregnancy clothes again, and I was feeling great.

So I stopped weighing myself and I chose to focus on the good stuff. That's the heart of New Numbers Fitness.

If you're interested in trying this new way being in shape, your teeny-tiny mission today is to take the old measurements, file them somewhere safe, and forget about them for a while.

We'll be looking at the old numbers again after about a month of regular, manageable workouts so you can see objectively that the progress you're feeling is real. But I do NOT want you stepping on the scale every day or week, attaching your self-worth to the readout.

Some old numbers to consider today:
  • weight
  • body mass index
  • clothing size
  • waist (use tape measure)
  • quads (ditto)

Remember, we'll be starting your Action Plan on January 16, after you've had a couple of weeks past the holidays to settle into your schedule.

Happy New Year!


  1. Haven't looked at a scale in 2-3 years now. Don't care, as long as I fit into my clothing and feel good, Happy New Year and happy cyling!

  2. I'm with you -- we don't own a scale. Don't like it when the clothes fit tight, though...And they're tight right now :)

  3. Velouria--Good for you! The scale was good wake-up call for me, though I could see what was happening on my body without it.

    Minor--The holidays can be so cruel. My clothes are slowly fitting better, but some weeks are better than others.