Ditching the scale
Yep, that’s me.
I am moving forward with my fitness and my wellness goals, and I think an important step to that is to ditch the scale.
Let me tell you the story behind this decision.
I may have referenced this before, but Anthony and I decided a couple of months ago that it was going to be healthier for me psychologically if I declined to weigh myself for a while. The goal we set was for me to hop back on the scale after my green belt test, which will be this Saturday.
Previously, and this is why we decided to nix the scale, I had been weighing myself daily, sometimes more, and every time I stepped on that scale a little piece of my heart broke. I was sitting at 150lbs, and I was starting to hate myself for it. It was a good decision. I immediately felt better when I didn’t have a weight scored into the back of my retinas. I stuck pretty well to paleo, had a renewed enthusiasm for Taekwondo, and generally felt better about myself, my body, and my life.
I kind of ruined that the other day.
I wanted to measure my body fat percentage for some weird reason. I forget. The calculator I found required weight. I figured it’d be okay to weigh myself. Almost everyone I had seen since I’d been back kept commenting on how much weight I had lost – I was thinking I had lost about ten pounds. So I asked Anthony’s permission and hopped on the scale.
140, it read, and that meant I was sitting at 147. I had essentially lost three pounds in almost seven weeks.
I was a bit grumpy.
That same self-defeating, self-loathing, anger set in again. I knew, consciously, the scales aren’t a good thing and that weight is a pretty arbitrary measure in and of itself, and a pretty useless metric for health. But for whatever reason, it still mattered. I started this thread to get some backup. And backup I got! I think this one is my favorite:
If you were on the moon would you be any more attractive? You’d weight 1/6th of what you do now.
If you were on Jupiter you’d be morbidly obese.
I think it’s a cheeky, fun way of putting what should be obvious: what matters is less what you weigh (or even how much mass you have), but rather what you consist of. This one also is good:
Why I don’t weigh my self…. last year at this time I was around 172 size 14. Now I’m 168 and a size 8. I’d be depressed if I followed a scale.
I don’t want to be depressed. I want to be happy, healthy, fit and capable.
But if not weight, then what?
That is a really good question, and one I haven’t quite figured out myself yet. I have some very vague fitness goals. I’d like to achieve a monk-class fitness/physique. I also, very seriously, would like to survive a zombie apocalypse. More to the point, I’d like to be able to survive if the United States collapses into a third world country. No, really. I’m serious.
Apart from the survival aspect, I want to be a martial artist. I’m going to continue with martial arts. I have a goal to complete a black belt in five different martial arts before I die. I know that in order to do that I will have to work separately on my fitness and strength. The only question at this point is how to do that. I am very, very adverse to traditional workouts at this point and probably will be for the foreseeable future. So, basically, I’m attempting to trick myself into being fit and strong. Here are a couple of things I would like to do:
I would say this category is largely “Cardio” but it’s not quite. Not in the “I can jog ten miles” kind of cardio. It’s more like “keeping my body going without getting out of breath or fatigued.” I’ve already made considerable steps towards this, but I think I could get better by implementing the following:
- Make biking my main form of transportation
- Go Hiking at least twice a month
I actually like sprinting — always have. There’s something hella exhilarating about going as fast as you can. I remember sprinting as a kid and feeling like I was floating on the tips of my feet. I’d like to do this again. i’m not sure how I would do this.
I don’t intrinsically like to bicycle, but I think that if I make biking my main mode of transportation, that would go a long way. Biking would give me a sense of independence that I lack having to wait on MARTA. Plus, with the hills in Atlanta, it’d get me in good shape fast! Things in my way: cost of a good bicycle and lack of health insurance.
I really do like hiking, but my lack of fitness has put me off of it in recent years. I like hiking, camping, the smell of a camp fire, and taking pictures at the top of a mountain. This is something I definitely should do in the fall, as the hot weather won’t be a deterrent. But there is the matter of where, when, how, and if anyone would go with me.
This doesn’t require too much explanation. Strength is important. Duh. The biggest problem with these goals is that I’m not sure what is is I need to be striving for in order to get what I want. I essentially want two things 1) to be stronger than the average, untrained male and 2) to be strong as I need to be to be a good martial artist.
Here’s the big issue. Most likely the most efficient way to get stronger is to do “workouts.” Essentially, repetitions of a certain movement, either with body weight or with weights. The thing is, I CAN’T STAND those kinds of exercises. They are boring and usually put me in tears by the end of them. No, seriously. I would estimate at least 50% of the warmups for taekwondo make me cry or get me very close. This rate shoots up when I attempt to train by myself. I am not 100% sure what causes this, but I think part of it is inadequacy. Whether I’m by myself or in TKD and doing reps for warmup, it doesn’t matter how many I do, or even, I would say, if I am successful, I always feel inadequate and frustrated. I put up with it in TKD because I LOVE TAEKWONDO. And that’s the cold hard truth.
I do not want exercising to be something that has that kind of negative connotation in my mind, so I avoid those exercises when I can. It’s as simple as that. So, because of that, I will have to accept that building strength is gonna take a bit longer for me than for most others. One thing that I know I would like to at least try that will build strength.
- Rock Climbing
I think I would like rock climbing, but I haven’t tried it yet. The thing that is in my way there: I has no full time job, so has no money. Going to a rock climbing gym costs money.
One final note on strength training: I am not saying that I will never ever strength train EVER, but more that right now it’s not something that I commit to. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be itching to run and having to tell myself not to, I’d call you crazy. So maybe sometime in the future I will get myself to the point where doing rep exercises won’t be such a burden. Maybe after I’ve done some rock climbing. 😀
More nebulous things
Most of my fitness goals have to do with survival. I want to focus on what I can do, not what I look like or some arbitrary measure of health. I do want to have less fat on me, but I am not sure if having an arbitrary “body fat percentage” is a good idea. Same with BMI (and that’s an even worse metric). Based on my last measurements, I know that I am healthy by both random metrics. I have a 28% body fat and weigh 147lbs. I’m not going to keel over. After that point, I do want to focus on what I can do. (My arbitrary goal for BFP is to be less than 25%).
However, I can’t deny that appearance is something that I think about quite a bit, so I think I will have, somewhere in the back of my mind, what I’d like to look like. Muscles are included in that. Fitting into a normal bra is a part of that, though that dream is looking to be less and less likely.
So that is where I am. I have ditched my scale and am on my way to some of the more REAL goals I have, and have always been striving towards. Will I lose more weight? I don’t know — that’s not a concern anymore. But even if I don’t lose another pound, 147 is a great place to be if I can survive the zombie apocalypse.
I have no illusions. Doing things without repetition workouts is going to take me a while, a lot longer than if I did them. But that’s okay. If I enjoy the journey, I am more likely to get there, stay there, and keep moving forward.
And that sounds really good to me.
In case you’re wondering, my final stats are:
Weight: 147 pounds — 45 pounds lost
Body fat Percentage: 28.%
Bust: 35.5″ — 6.5 inches lost
Waist: 28.5″ — 5.5 inches lost
Hips: 41″ — 6 inches lost