Monday, 3 June 2013

Numbers - naughty or nice?

Don't stress, I'm not about to embark on a maths refresher course (yes, you can wipe the nervous beads of sweat from your brow!).  I'm talking weight loss numbers.  Let me set the scene a little.  For seven consecutive days, I have busted my butt in every training session.  I've given all I had to give, every time.  I've tracked every single morsel of food that passed my lips, and kept to my allotted calorie count for the entire week - not one calorie over.  I'm feeling so pleased with my efforts, and as I go to sleep on Tuesday night, I know that when I hop on the scales on Wednesday morning, I'm going to see at least a 1 kilo loss for the week.  Right?

Being as smart a cookie as you are, you can probably see where I might be about to go with this, so I'll get right to it.  I'm naked, I've weed, I'm standing expectantly on my scales and the number that pops up..........drum roll please, is a GAIN!  What?!  Heres where it gets hairy.  Have you been here before? Do you visit this place daily (I confess - I have had a habit of jumping on the scales every day)?  What thoughts are instantly in your head when you see that gain?  Just pause here for a moment.  Is it - 'OK, well that's not quite what I was hoping for, but I know, that I've been consistent each and every day and made choices with my exercise and my nutrition that support my health and fitness goals, and although the scales aren't registering those choices today - I know I'm making changes to my insides every day, that improve my life for the long term.  And besides - I feel like a damn hot rock star for all the hard work I've put in, and I know the scales will catch up."  Or perhaps the converstation in your head is a little more like this, 'What the hell?  I've busted my butt, I've eaten all that healthy food and its all been for nothing!  This is ridiculous, I'm never going to succeed at this, I knew I wouldn't be able to lose this weight, why did I let myself think that I could?'  How far is it from that sort of thinking to a bag of chips or a block of chocolate?  Probably not too far.

Why is it that all the hard work we've put in, suddenly means nothing because of a number?  That work wasn't wasted, its freaking awesome that we worked hard, pushed our bodies, nourished them well.  The number is just that - a number.  We sure give them a lot of power sometimes.  Now, the maths is - it takes a 7000calorie deficit, per week to lose 1 kilo of body weight.  Sure, that is the maths.  But last time I checked - my body is not a calculator, and for all sorts of reasons - you might put all the right things into the equation, but not get the answer you were looking for.  Its that time of the month; you've been training with weights for a while now, and you've built some lean muscle(which weighs heavier than fat); you ate something really salty yesterday, and you're holding onto a bit more water than usual.  See what I mean?  All kinds of things can effect what we see on the scales.  If only we could peer inside ourselves, and see the changes we'd made on the insides that week - our hearts that pump blood more effectively because of all that cardio we're doing; our organs that work more freely now because they aren't covered in a layer of fat; the muscle fibres that are growing little by little every day that increase our metabolic rate because it takes more energy to feed muscle than it does fat. 

If you hop on your scales, tomorrow, anytime - and you've rocked your week - feel like the rockstar that you are - the number is just a number.  You're a superstar for making choices that care, nourish and support you - the scales will catch up.


  1. Great post! So true how the numbers mess with your head. Last week I was really disappointed with a small number and this week I can't believe the big number and think I've made a mistake. Never happy are we lol!! When I get to my goal weight/size, I'm seriously considering getting rid of the scales altogether and just going by how I feel and how my clothes fit.

  2. Great post! It's amazing, last week my loss was quite small and I tried so hard to just take it in my stride but I couldn't help having a couple of niggling thoughts telling me that I didn't do well enough when I know that I did! I just stuck to it though and this week was better. It will get better for you too, it's a slow process but it works and our bodies are getting healthier and stronger in the process.

  3. Thanks, this post was refreshing to realise I'm not the only one who totally overreacts and gets all out of perspective when stepping on the scales. I battled a couple of days with a gain this week, but feeling ok about it now!! It is good to always remember the non scale wins we're having each and every day.