Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why I Hate the Scale (but keep going back for more....)

Everyone in my family is tiny. The eat a whole pizza and still stay skinny kind of tiny. Built like marathon runners, naturally thin, lithe gazelles like creatures. And then there was me....who tends to take after my Dad's side of the family as in if I think about eating a cupcake I will probably gain five pounds. They workout and get leaner. I work out and put on muscle pretty fast. I tend to get bulkier before I lean out. (At least that is what I keep telling myself.) I am just bigger than everyone.

And that has pretty much sucked my whole life.

Especially when your great grandmother tells you it's unfortunate that you inherited her thighs. (I mean seriously. I was in high school. Who says that? I was pretty small then and thought I was doing okay. I had a lime green mini skirt and rocked it. Man, I loved that outfit.) And this is the memory I am left with about my deceased relative decades later....

But seriously. Now, as a grown up, I am less worried about how my thighs look and much more concerned with my health. (At least that is what I say out loud....because let's be honest, if I were able to rock a pair of booty shorts I totally would. I would never take them off. Even in the winter. Maybe it's  a good thing for everyone that this isn't going to happen. There will never, ever be any thigh gap here.) My relatives aren't exactly known for longevity. Heart disease has pretty much blanketed my family tree and cancer is right up there too. So the realistic and rational part of my brain is all, "Hey Sara, maybe we should get a jump on this. You know before your doctor is drawing THAT line in the sand."

And so I plug on. Getting my workouts in. Eating clean most of the time.... (I mean there are gelato emergencies. Don't' get me wrong.) In all seriousness I do try to live by the 80/20 rule. Try to eat well 80% of the time and the other 20% is for fun dinners out, traveling, vacations, barbecues and beer. (Because there are Shiner Ruby RedBird emergencies too. Life is supposed to be enjoyed. And if I can't have an awesome ginger beer on a hot summer day then I don't want to be any part of that.)

But what amazes me the most is how I still continue to hang onto the number that I think I "should" see on the scale. So many women have this magical number. Who knows where it even came from....maybe it is our high school weight. Or the weight we were at during a happy time in our lives or just a number we picked out of all of the numbers that we think we should weigh. But let me tell you a little secret right now. The scale is a liar.

When I was first asked to take pictures at the start of my first challenge group, I was SO freaked out. I didn't want to take pictures. What if someone saw them? So they got buried in files on my computer. And I held my breath as I emailed them to Katy while all these thoughts were running through my head. What if she mocked me? What if she saw them and was all "wow, Sara is pretty fat. I mean she really let herself go." Or what if she thought I was a total lost cause.

The irony here is that people saw me every day. My clothes weren't magical things that made me appear tall and lean and super model gorgeous, like with the right outfit I was fooling people into thinking I was actually a size 2.

In hindsight, the pictures I took have become my greatest source of motivation and encouragement. I was with  these pictures I was able to see that my hard work was paying off. That my body is changing. That I am making things happen.

The scale wouldn't have told me that.

I am able to lift heavier weights. Do longer spurts of cardio. I am able to pick up my knees just a little bit higher. Move my feet a little bit faster.

The scale wouldn't have told me that either.

I am able to chase my kiddo on the playground. Climb up the rock wall after her. Pick her up and spin her around....and I don't lose my breath or need to stop for a minute.

The scale would NEVER have told me that.

It also wouldn't have told me how much better my quality of life would be.

It was on a very bad day when I decided to look back at where I was last year....I was angry. I was frustrated. I wanted to throw things. I was upset that my weight really hadn't changed in the last year despite everything I was doing. Of course, it fluctuates based on things like how much salt or water or sugar I had eaten the week before.... like weight tends to do, but never really moves. I pulled out the old pictures to put in for my free shirt I earned when I finished Insanity (and never claimed) and I was shocked at the difference a year (and no difference on the scale at all) can make.

I still haven't been able to get rid of the scale completely. I really try to not let it ruin (or make) my day. I try to remind myself of all the things I have accomplished that have NOTHING to do with the scale. The inches, the sizes and the pictures tell a much richer story that that one little number. It also doesn't' tell me what kind of role model I am for my daughter, what kind of ripple effect the changes I made in my life has on my family's lives, or what kind of influence my story may have on another.

And that allows me to step off the scale with a smile on my face, despite any number that might show up down there. Even if it hasn't changed at all.

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