Now that I have all that shouting out of the way allow me to present to you these photos. I've been doing a LOT of thinking lately about calories and pounds and maintaining weight and how my own journey with fitness and food and weight has evolved over time.
These are pics from every day this week. As you can see, I weighed in different each time I stepped on the scale. My weight fluctuated five entire pounds within a couple days. Why is this??? Did I gain? Did I then lose? And then gain again?
If you struggle with trying to make the scale come up with that one special number, please know that your weight will change based on...
- Water retention
- Sore muscles
- Whether or not you've pooped (yup I JUST went there)
- What time of day it is
- Your stress level
- What you have or HAVEN'T eaten
- How long you've been awake
And any other number of things.
It is physically impossible to gain five pounds in a day or two. It's also impossible to gain it in a WEEK.
Why do I share this? Because I know that for some people this relationship with the scale is a negative thing. It has a negative impact on their life.
When I decided I wanted to lose weight I strictly counted calories. I tracked my calories religiously in MFP (My Fitness Pal). I weighed every Friday morning and when I got to record a loss it was FABULOUS. It was working!! For the first time in my life this weight loss thing was working. I eventually met my weight loss goal when I saw that number I wanted to see. And then I knew that I could keep tracking calories and keep weighing that number.
Understand that when I was religiously tracking, I didn't always necessarily care WHAT the calories came from. 400 calories from a salad was the same to me as 400 calories from a sandwich cookie.
I learned very quickly that tracking to only net around 1500 calories (that's what mfp says a person of my height and weight should eat to maintain) was kind of unsustainable. And I hadn't figured out yet that fluctuation in weight is NORMAL. So it was making me crazy. If I went a couple hundred calories over one day, and weighed a half pound heavier the next day, I thought I knew exactly why. Too many calories.
So dumb guys. So dumb.
Eventually I got plugged in with a great fitness community online and started learning about how to clean up my diet. I leaned that the quality of food is important and that even if something is higher in calories it doesn't mean it's unhealthy, or that it will make me gain weight. And I learned that if I do see a "gain" it's probably any number of things my body is doing that has nothing to do with a couple hundred "extra" calories.
I weigh myself randomly. Sometimes it's once a month, other times it's every day for a week but gaining confidence in my diet and my habits, growing in my physical strength and understanding more about how bodies work gives me SUCH FREEDOM AND PEACE. I am not married to my special number. I admit to being interested to seeing how it fluctuates and know why it does, but it cannot and will not ever bother me like it once did because I have confidence and faith in my daily habits!
Bottom line is this: your number does not have to define you. No one sees a number when they look at you. When you follow a lifestyle that is rich in healthy, nourishing foods, regular exercise and movement, and you are surrounded by people who encourage you to live your best life every day...you will not need to stress about maintaining weight. People always say that maintaining weight is harder than losing it, and that may be true but ONLY if you are looking at it as though once you hit your number you all of a sudden want to go back to bad habits that got you heavier in the first place. When you are COMMITTED to living healthy, your healthy weight will find you. And you will be FREE of your number.
If you like what you've read we encourage you to follow Danielle on Facebook at Take Charge Fitness or you can email her directly.