Scales are Ignorant Pieces of Scrap and we should Destroy them All. Obviously.
“I wanna lose weight” May be the most commonly spoken phrase of all time. Perhaps that’s a bit of an generous estimate on my part, due to the industry I work in and live my life around. That, however, does not change the fact that “weight loss” is a very common sentiment among us as people. Businesses and marketers also know this. As a result, we live in an age where we are inundated with ads for “weight loss" shortcuts, getting the “perfect” body, and new “hottest” fitness trends. Forgive my quotation-happy fingers as I’m doing my best to make a point. These are misnomers for what we should be focusing on: better overall health and longevity by way of physical fitness. The point of this article is to take these misnomers (let’s focus on weight loss and the perfect body) and redirect how you think about them next time you see them out in the world.
Wait on the Weight, Compose the Composition
Have you ever said, “The number on my scale at home is not what I want it to be!” or “My number is waaaay higher than it SHOULD be”? That’s totally fine, all of us have. We were raised (and continue to be taught) that the number you see on the scale is the ‘end all be all’ indicator of your health. Naturally, society has misled us all not only with the number on the scale but also with the measurement of BMI (which I’ll touch on later.) What we all need to focus on instead, is Body Composition.
One of the most difficult tasks in all of health and fitness is the ability to realize that your body's composition of Muscle Mass and Body Fat are the key factors in overall health and fitness.. Reaching this place of enlightenment (where you disregard the overall number with a triumphant scoff) is tough but very doable.
The best avenue to reach this, is by consistently tracking these metrics of muscle % and body fat % as you progress through a training regimen. In many cases, somebody’s overall weight may GO UP! Yet, their clothes now are looser, pant size has gone down etc etc. Gaining lean muscle along with solid nutrition is naturally accompanied by fat loss. More lean muscle mass equals a higher metabolism. Then fat loss becomes easier. You see where I’m going with this now… Losing Weight is an easy wording error for what people are truly seeking 99% of the time, fat loss. So the next time somebody tells you they “really wanna lose 5 pounds” you can flex your brain muscle for them.
The Only Perfect Body is Your Body
If every human was a clone, than we could finally look like the people we see in the magazines! Cause well, they’d be our clone! Yet somehow I’m sure they’d be photoshopped to look “better” than us. With the exception of twin Olympians who have lived and eaten together since the womb, the chances of our bodies being copies of someone else is impossible. So, I need to ask the world, "Why, why, why do we keep comparing ourselves to everybody else?"
The hard truth is that there will always be somebody who can lose fat, gain muscle, run farther, and jump higher than you. This should never be discouraging though, because the only person you can physically and scientifically compare yourself against is YOU.
Focusing on the the success of others for motivational purposes can be great! More times than not, however, it can be detrimental and discouraging to a training program if you don’t see results as quickly.
“Me and her/him train exactly the same, and I even eat better/cleaner than them! But they’ve progressed soo much faster than me!”
This type of thinking is common and understandable, especially when you're working your butt off for your goals. If we examine that quote again, we can see an amazing hidden gem that the person saying this clearly isn't seeing.
"They've progressed sooooo much faster than me!"
This may be true, but this also means that the person comparing themselves has also progressed. They need to turn their gaze back to themselves and their goals and see how much they stack up against their previous self. Progression towards any type of goal, no matter how little, is a big accomplishment. As long as you're seeing that progression against YOU. As I noted earlier, once you get past the misnomer of "weight," or rather, "comparing yourself to somebody who isn't yourself"), then you'll truly be free. You'll hit fitness Nirvana. (Probably won't smell like teen spirit though, mainly sweat)
I’m 6’6” and I like to Deadlift. Being this tall comes with pros and cons. PRO: I can see over crowds and grab the cereal on the top shelf of the cupboard. CON: Big compound movements in training like Deadlifts, Squats, Pull Ups, and Pressing become significantly more difficult. This is because I have longer levers (arms and legs) and, as a result, a mechanical disadvantage compared to someone who is shorter than me.
I’m not complaining about being a tall fellow. I'm simply stating that it would be ridiculous for me to compare my training regimen to somebody who is physically shorter than me. All I can do is compare the Brandt I am today with the Brandt from yesterday and hope that he’s better.
What’s the Point?
Take back your sanity by focusing on the realities behind the misrepresentation of "weight loss" and the "perfect body." What your body is made of, not what it weighs, is how to accurately measure your health and physical fitness. Once you can conquer that number, discouraging scale-driven thoughts will be a thing of the past. You’ll have an easier time focusing on the task at hand: your goals. And whatever those goals might be, remember that they are YOUR Goals and YOURS to achieve.