That time of the year is creeping upon us… bathing suit season. I haven’t been in a bathing suit in years. I haven’t had time to sunbathe or be in a pool since my mid 20’s. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not just pale, I’m becoming transparent. It’s probably not healthy to be this blindingly white.
A lot of folks make that New Year’s Resolution to themselves to start January 1st to get back in the gym and start to lose that weight to be bikini season ready. This is why you’ll see your weekly ad for Target the week after Christmas, but before New Year’s will always have gym clothes, workout dvds, water bottles, weights, yoga mats, and FitBits on sale. They know people will buy this stuff with good intentions to workout, but really, the gym clothes see more action running errands than running laps and that FitBit will be in a junk drawer in a month. This is also the week you won’t see your normal gym goers because they get annoyed by the New Year’s peeps who flood their gyms. No worries from me, I don’t go to the gym… they have mirrors and people who judge.
I had a whole different perspective on things. I started with good intention a year ago to try to start slimming down in hopes my boyfriend would propose and I didn’t want to be scrambling trying to lose weight quickly and in an unhealthy way to try to be wedding dress ready. I started with Weight Watchers (doing it on my own with low cost apps and Pinterest recipes because I’m not paying and arm and a leg to join something that’s meant to be motivation…. and the only Weight Watchers near my house is beside of a McDonald’s, that’s just mean). I lost a few pounds and fell off the wagon.. hard.
My boyfriend, now fiance (yeah that did happen) had heard of the Keto Diet and while he didn’t have much to lose, he convinced me to try it with him. He shed a crazy amount of weight that I wasn’t aware he possessed. I lost a few, but felt so deprived and like I was no longer walking, but gliding on a grease track from the amount of coconut oil, butter, and bacon grease I was consuming. I was drinking Bulletproof Coffee, people (coffee blended to frothy perfection with coconut oil and butter). So again, I jumped off the wagon and went back to the land of breads and pastas.
Currently I try to stay under 1,500 calories a day (suggested through My Fitness Pal) and I finished a 6 week combo of Beachbody programs: Cize and PiYo. Shaun T and Chalene Johnson are amazing for motivation! I am currently in my 3rd week of Jillian Michaels Body Revolution. Talk about getting your ass handed to you! While I’m back on track and have been for weeks, the scale isn’t budging the way I was anticipating, which is completely infuriating. I’ve had to calm myself down from going into total fits of rage and emotional breakdowns by reminding myself that it’s not all about the number on the scale.
So here are my Top 10 Scale-Less Victories
- Post Workout High – Some days, no matter how much I love Shaun T, Chalene or Jillian, I don’t want to workout. I’ve had a long day at work, the commute home has pissed me off because people don’t know how to drive, I’m sleepy, and/or I can think of so many other things I need to be doing. In all honesty, none of my workouts take very long – all are less than an hour. Sometimes I just have to push myself to press play because I love the way I feel afterwards. I get that “Post Workout High”. I’m sweaty, I feel like I did something good for myself, I burned calories, but I feel electric light bursting out of my pores. I feel happy, I feel more energized than I did before and I like I can take on the world! Once you start getting that feeling on a regular basis, you don’t want to take rest days and you’ll push your tired, yet fabulous, ass off the couch and get some of those feel good vibes.
- Feeling Healthy – I think it’s the work of a subconscious genius at work that makes you start to make healthier eating decisions when you workout. Almost a little angel on your shoulder whispering, “why do you want to undo everything you just worked for by eating a large pizza dipped in Ranch by yourself?” I’ve started eating healthier breakfasts, the new Marketplace Lean Cuisines and fruit is my go-to for lunch, and dinner normally consists of a grilled meat of sorts, brown rice, and vegetables. Nothing is bland, things taste good, and I started taking vitamins for good measure. However, if they didn’t want people to overdose on vitamins they shouldn’t have made the gummy vitamins so damn delicious. They say the workout isn’t the hard part, the “diet” part is way harder. I agree. I can move my ass, ok? I don’t always want to keep in mind the amount of calories I’m actually consuming. Tracy Anderson had it right, you have to have a good relationship with food. Working out is something you have to do, but it’s bad to use words like “cheat” or “diet” because it weighs heavy on your relationship with food because you feel like it’s forbidden or bad. Aside from making healthier food choices, I’ve also noticed I’m drinking more water, have better strength and flexibility, and am sleeping better.
- More Confidence and Higher Self-Esteem – When you’re overweight, you feel like you’re constantly being judged. You’ve had people tell you, “oh you’d be so much prettier if you lost weight”, you have felt the eyes on the back of your head (or on your ass) when you order what you really want at a restaurant, or people assume that you must eat anything and everything in sight to be as heavy as you are. When you start to workout, that starts to go away. I don’t care if people look at me when I order that burger and fries or a plate of nachos. I know I burned off the calorie equivalent to that donut that’s sitting pretty on my desk this morning. I know what I eat because I track it. *Side Note: Yes, it is a pain in the ass to start food tracking because they will be times you forget to track your meal or you won’t have a calorie count at your favorite local restaurant, but apps like My Fitness Pal make it really easy and after a small amount of time, it’ll become second nature to track* I know that I workout and while I may not be a size 2 (I’m a large frame build and 5’10” and personally think I’d look sickly if I was ever that small) I know I’m getting healthier and sometimes that means more than the size of my jeans – which will never be universal because that would make sense if all brands were consistent in their sizing.
- Fun Workout Communities – One of the greatest keys to success is support. It’s hell being the only person in your household or out of your group of friends who is working out or trying to eat more healthy. Sometimes it feels like everyone is out to sabotage your efforts, “You don’t need to workout today! Just be lazy!” “It’s one cheat meal, it’s not going to hurt you!” Oh, if they only knew that the one cheat meal they were referring to makes the scale jump 2-3 pounds the next morning and takes a couple of days to come back off the scale. One of my friends created a Facebook Page of her friends so we could all motivate and congratulate one another. It may sound “nerdy” and “uncool”, but it’s nice to have a place where people want to be supportive of one another is refreshing compared to the body shaming we get in every day encounters.
- Becoming Inspiration for Someone Else – I’m not saying it’s cool to be placed on a pedestal because that’s weird, but sometimes it’s nice to have your hard work admired by someone else in a similar position. I have friends who have inspired me to get off the couch and try something new and see my own results. I’ve also had others tell me I’ve done the same for them. Maybe it’s just the word “Inspire” that does it for me…. ya think?
- Compliments – This could easily go for number 5 because it is a compliment when someone tells you that their hard work inspires them, but sometimes a compliment can be taken negatively too. I recently came back to work with people I hadn’t seen in about a year and they all said, “Wow! You look great! Such a skinny mini!” Sooo, was I a hippo before? Fatty Fat Fat? I wasn’t sure how to take it, so I took it with a pinch of salt and shot of tequila. It does feel good that while the scale hasn’t moved in weeks, people are noticing that you look smaller. My fiance told me last night, “you’re really starting to look more toned.” I was so focused on losing fat I hadn’t noticed the added bonus of toning up and adding some sexy muscles to the party.
- Loss of Inches – I started keeping track of inches lost because when the scale fails, I often see a loss on the tape measure. I hate the saying, “Muscle weighs more than Fat”. No… no it doesn’t. Which weighs more? A pound of feathers or a pound of lead? They weigh the same. It takes way more feathers to equal that pound and just a small little piece of lead and fat and muscle is no difference. Fat takes up more room and muscle is more dense and therefore doesn’t take up as much real estate on your ass, but a pound is a pound. If you’re interested in the areas I measure weekly it’s: neck, right and left bicep, chest at the armpits, chest at the nipples, diaphragm (under bust around the rib cage), waist at the most narrow point (about an inch above your belly button), abdomen (lower abs), hips at the widest part around the booty, right and left thighs, knees (right above the knee cap), and calves (fullest part of your calf). Trust me, it’ll be that scale-less victory you will treasure.
- Fitting Into Old Clothes – I have some really pretty clothes that I bought in my skinnier days and I haven’t worn in years. I use these as a gauge for success. It’s like obtaining a whole new wardrobe without the cost! Yay for Saving Money!!! However, if you find yourself not liking the old clothes, even though you fit in them again, please consider donating them. I suggest a homeless shelter or clothing closet at a church. Goodwill sounds like a great idea, but really, most of the time the associates who work there pick through it first and it’s not going to those most in need – if you can pay for it, you’re not the most needy population.
- Cute Workout Clothes – I love shopping for workout clothes. It’s like a little treat to myself. Between Marshall’s and Target, you can get some cute and yet durable workout clothes. Now, I did have my favorite sports bra. It was my favorite because I never used it for it’s intended purpose which is to keep the girls down during the workout. When I started doing Cize and PiYo, I realized that while cute, this sports bra was freaking lame! It was for those women who only want to be seen in sporty clothes at the grocery store. I couldn’t get into Downward Dog or do the Cize Bounce without my ladies popping out. Not cute. When I realized that my workouts were becoming more regular, I splurged a little on a new sports bra and it was worth every penny! There is no crazy jiggling, there’s no pain, and no more having to spend half the workout adjusting the goods.
- Not Feeling Dessert Guilt – I just burned almost 400 calories. Trust me, I earned those few sweet bites of gelato or that glass of wine. I know, I’m not a dog and don’t need to reward myself with food. I don’t see it as a reward. I see it as me living my life and my life includes guilt free dessert. My dad has always had a good outlook on food and what seems to be a healthy relationship with food. He eats breakfast every morning, loves vegetables, eats a variety of cuisines, and he’s not big on sweets. He claims it’s good to have what you want, “in moderation”. This is coming from someone who is not a dessert person – he’d rather have key lime pie or some sort of fruit cobbler as opposed to ice cream, cookies, or cake. I had hoped his views on food would rub off on me, but alas, they did not. I have a huge sweet tooth and love the savory just as much. I refuse to feel bad over my love affair with coconut cake. After all, there are 2 “s”‘s in dessert for a reason.