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Brace yourself – this is going to be a long entry. However I’ve seen countless twitter updates and blog entries about the bathroom scales and their lack of honesty or more accurately, just how useless they are in determining fat loss and I’ve been meaning to put together a piece for quite some time now, unfortunately for those ADHD sufferers – it’s not something I feel like I can brush over quickly…

Let me paint you a picture…

You’ve been training your tush off, yet according to your scales your tush doesn’t seem to be actually going anywhere. Say, you’re down to your last five kilos of fat loss to go and you hop on the scales one idle morning knowing in your heart of hearts that you’ve trained so hard and eaten the cleanest of foods but wait, WHAT THE FUCK?! You’ve gained weight?! How is that even possible? Why did this happen?  “How am I going to get through the day without actually losing my marbles”, you think.

And why wouldn’t that be your thought process; it’s depressing for even the strongest of us. You eat the right foods when everyone else is eating carb loaded processed garbage. When others go straight home after work to park their ass in front of their glorious 45inch plasmas and the newest episode of Gossip Girl, you head to the gym and train till you feel like you might collapse never finding out what actually happened with Blair and Chuck. On the weekends instead of going out drinking from Friday through to Sunday, like you used to do before your healthy conscience kicked your ass, you keep to the plan and you head back into that gym. In fact, you’re in there enough that your own family sees you less than the staff at your gym does.

So what in god’s name is going on with your body, huh? Better yet, what on earth is going on with your head? All these mind games can’t be doing you any favours; in fact they are almost enough to make you want to give up all together and go back to your old boozehound ways (Hello Friday night drinks and Saturday 3am kebabs). I mean, why not? You’ve put so much work into this and you seem to be getting nowhere fast. What’s the point?

Well, before you go to the nearest 7-11 and induce death by chocolate; ditch your fucking scales. Throw them from the greatest height and DO NOT LOOK BACK. Your scales are useless on your quest to transform and they are holding you back mentally in such a ridiculous manner that it likely will have a lovely side effect of holding you back physically too (We’re all guilty of throwing in the towel a little and having things to eat we know we shouldn’t or skipping training sessions if we just feel as though we’re not getting anywhere).

But don’t worry; you’re not alone in this – I am speaking from great personal experience here… The scales have been my best friend and worst enemy for many years; some times they are the same thing at once. I remember days when I used to weigh myself two or three times a day, and beat myself up emotionally when I was a kilo or two heavier at night than I was in the morning; even though in reality that would be exactly what would happen to anyone over the course of a day.

This is not a normal habit. This is something I was guilty of in the very worst of my days and it’s not healthy. We are not on a quest to be skinny; we are on a quest to be fit and healthy. If you think that playing mind games between yourself and the scales is a good idea, you couldn’t be more wrong. What’s the point in putting so much effort into bettering yourself only to be so demotivational?.

So why should you ditch the scales? Other than the reasons I’ve given you so far…Well we all KNOW muscle weighs more than fat. We also know that training in the gym is not going to get you to lose muscle, so the more you train – the more muscle you gain, now let’s put two and two together and that would explain a lack of decrease in your scale numbers. But for some of us that logic just isn’t enough to break a habit we’ve probably had since the day we learnt what the word calorie meant.

Let me tell you a personal story to prove a point…

I’d been saying to myself all year that I want to hit under the 60kg mark. If I didn’t get there; I was writing myself off as a failure. I started the year at about 67kgs and recently I actually got down to 60.5kg.  Exciting, right? ALMOST THERE. I was overjoyed. I loved what I saw when I looked in the mirror, everything fit better, everything suited me – I was smiling constantly. Until my next weekly weigh in (yes, I had enforced a once a week and no more rule) where I expected to be under the 60kg mark, but instead it clocked me in at 63.5kgs. You can imagine the fury, in fact I think you could almost see the steam coming out my ears and my eyes turning red the moment I stepped off the scales. I cried. I literally took one look in the mirror and decided that the body I saw was a totally different one to two or three minutes prior. I was now disgusting and embarrassed to leave the house. In my eyes I couldn’t see the difference between 63.5kgs and 105kgs. How could I be so massive suddenly? I put on the loosest clothing imaginable and headed into work deciding that I wouldn’t take these head games any longer. I just couldn’t continue to be so reckless and allow my thoughts to be dictated by a number.

Jump back three months prior to this; I had had a Dexa Scan… I’d read about them online and I was interested in a method that would accurately gauge my weight loss as I deep down never really trusted those nasty scales (yes, I’ve always been aware they are stupid – yet for some reason have always aloud them to dictate my moods and self confidence). For those of you that aren’t aware, a Dexa scan is an x-ray which determines exactly what your body is made up of, it will show you how much of your body is comprised of bones, what your bone density is like, how much is of you is made of muscle and how much is (insert cringe) fat. But more than that, it takes into account water retention; it shows your symmetry (ever wondered which leg is bigger than the other or if your right arm has more muscle than your left? Wonder no more). I went into see Dr Jarrod Meerkin at Measure Up in Sydney where he politely asked me to jump up on this very modern looking bench which would scan over my body as I lay still and a few minutes later gave me a detailed description of what was actually going on. Easy. He would even give me an idea of how many calories I should consume a day and what my macronutrients should be according to my goals.

So when three months later I had my princess moment with the scales I decided enough was enough; if I was gaining fat I needed to know and I needed to change whatever it was that wasn’t working.

Luckily for my sanity, Jarrad had availability that day at lunch for a follow up scan, I held my breath, crossed my fingers and pray to God, Allah and Buddah that there was something wrong with my scales and my efforts had actually resulted in a loss not a gain.

What I found out that day was that my weight had in fact gone up, KILL ME NOW, right? No. My weight had gone up but my body fat had decreased by several kilos and a total of 4%. The increase in weight was caused by a significant increase in muscle mass (well, what do you know? All that weight training and I’d gotten bigger muscles – one would think I could’ve put that together on my own).

Not only that but my body had evened out and become completely symmetrical when before I was holding a lot more fat on the right leg and arm.

So essentially what I had been doing was working, and working really well. My goals were to increase muscle mass and decrease fat, which I had done and very successfully over the course of 12 weeks. Not only that but as I had increased muscle, my body was burning a greater number of calories daily all on it’s own (this is why you want to weight train ladies; muscle BURNS fat. It’s like the Rock/Paper/Scissors of body sculpting).

At the end of the day we need to realize that the number on your scales is not going to really indicate what is going on with your body at all. If you’re like me and you have 5kgs or so left of fat to lose then you aren’t really even going to see these numbers shift at all; you might spend months training weights and cardio and stay at the same weight and yet completely decrease your body fat percentage and your actual shape will change all together.

It comes down to remembering that your health and peace of mind is more important than your body fat percentage too though. More importantly than your quest for weight loss is your health, and that includes the way you perceive yourself in the mirror and inside your mind. What my experience taught me is that patience is a virtue and whilst I have very little patience, I need to work on developing that as at this point in my journey, things take a long time. I will likely not notice results in the mirror that I look at EVERY day and the way I feel, be it grumpy or elated, will always dictate the reflection that I see staring back at me.

So let’s all make a pact now to get rid of those bathroom scales because they lie more than your ex-boyfriend. And let’s spend time enforcing positive affirmations and working on body confidence. Make your goals about training rather than about your body, aim to achieve a faster time in your running, or a greater weight lifted… and let go of your weight loss nonsense but remember to eat clean and train hard and rest in the faith that you are doing ALL that you can; because when push comes to shove, that’s exactly all you can do. Be your best and be patient and in three months time, then look at your results. They might surprise you.

 

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“Now if you are going to win any battle you have do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”
-George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian.

 

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Last time I checked in I spoke about my extreme training week; you can see the details here… In short I basically challenged myself to attempt to preform 8 training sessions in a week.

Why? Let’s face it, I love to eat. I don’t love to diet (I hate this word more than you can possibly imagine – but more on that later) or restrict myself, don’t get me wrong I eat clean and love to do so… I’m always trying to find new ways to prepare healthier dishes, but at the end of the day if it means the difference between having dinner with a little sweet potato, or a light creamy sauce (extra kilojoules) I’d much prefer to do that than eat a bland combination of protein and vegetables with no flavour – I’d rather just work out harder than tell myself I’m not aloud to have certain things.

It’s a lifestyle choice, you can choose to constantly restrict yourself to lose the weight but you’re also setting yourself up for failure. Or for a competition body; and that sort of thing comes with knowing more about your body than most people ever discover in a lifetime so that really isn’t what I’m talking about. Women that compete are so in tune with their figures and diets and training schedules that it isn’t about weight loss so much as it is an art form – what I’m talking about is day to day loss.

My extreme week was hard, by Friday I wasn’t sure I would get through it – I thought I’d torn my rotator cuff – turned out it was more of a simple injury *thank fuck* but it meant I had to switch my rest days over, one day off and a lot of painkillers later and I was through the 8 sessions.

In the clear.

And what came from this was something more appealing than I could’ve ever expected. The week went so quick, and I’ve never been so exhausted but it was rewarding on many levels.

 I was mentally clearer than ever, happier, I pushed myself harder than ever in my training sessions – even though I did twice as much, session wise, I also did twice as much, effort wise.

Not to get TMI on you guys, but it was even rewarding in the bedroom.

Funnily enough; instead of let myself rest after getting through it I’ve decided to do it all over again, harder this time. More intense sessions than before.

The pay off was well worth it- I’m currently at the lowest weight I’ve been in years and the definition in my body has changed entirely over the past week, muscles I didn’t know existed are making appearances. There is even a little two pack appearing in my abdominal area (YOU WILL BE A SIX PACK BY SUMMER! In the meantime though I’m enjoy the fact I have my own personal tupac, geddddit!? Ohhhh, I kill me).

Cannot wait to see my results in a months time. I can only hope you guys are getting as much out of your training as I am and if not; maybe it’s time you ask yourself why you’re flatlining and you shake it up?

My advice though, for anyone else trying to get through a heavy week of training like I did is to fully commit to it with planning – both nutrition and exercise, write your schedule and know  your macro nutrient needs. I would’ve died if I didn’t have the amount of protein I was getting last week. And without proper planning it can be hard to ensure you get your daily needs especially when training at a high intensity.

I’m going to start posting more on this site, I’m obsessed with taking photos of my meals and I want to start to share that stuff with you guys too.

Til next time, train hard, play hard…

 

Image Source: Courtesy of  www.crossfitfeelgood.com.au/

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