Unfortunately, my camera recently bit the dust. This means a lot less oh-so-adorable photos, but I did manage to snap one last crystal clear blog photo before my camera lens became perma-fogged:
That’s right, friends. My scale. This lovable little piece of plastic, glass, and metal sits and stares at me from my bathroom floor daily. I’ve already talked a little bit about how often I weigh myself and my obsession with those little digitized numbers. For the record, that weight is roughly accurate. My scale weighs me anywhere between 140-143lbs every time I step on it. It’s a different weight every time, and it changes from minute to minute or foot to foot (if I step on with my right foot I lose a pound! magic!), but it’s usually been falling somewhere within that range.
I don’t think I’m alone in obsessing over these numbers. And if it’s not these numbers, it’s BMI. Body fat. Measurements. I’ve done them all. But why? What do these numbers really mean? Why are women so afraid of saying their weight? Why do we constantly compare our weights to other people?
Let’s think about it logically. Weight doesn’t tell us much because of how much height can impact it. So we developed a BMI, and a healthy “range”, which is better than just weight, but still doesn’t always make sense for our body type. What if we’re heavy because of muscle? Well, then there’s body fat percentage. But body fat is always higher for women. So we can take measurements, but what do they mean? I have a tiny top and a big bottom. Even after all my weight loss, my hips are still 39″.
You get the picture. The sad truth is, all these numbers really are completely arbitrary and meaningless. They are good measurements for personal comparison, but as soon as you start to use them to compare yourself to OTHER people, they stop making sense. If you have huge ta-tas or a big podunkodunk, then chances are you probably always will, to a certain extent. I’ve actually come to like my butt, but that doesn’t mean that i don’t still, well, have one. That doesn’t mean you can’t tone and work on problem areas, but chances are, they’ll probably always be your problem areas. So, here’s my advice.
If you’re thinking of getting healthy, then pick a day you aren’t feeling bloated and do all the measurements you can. Take your weight, calculate your BMI, take your measurements (I do arms, chest, waist, hips, thighs, and calves, always at the largest spot), and caliper up your body fat. If you have a friend or significant other who is willing to do this with you, even better– as long as it’s someone you feel comfortable with! Then, after living a new healthy lifestyle for a month, record them again. Why do all the measurements?
Well, I weigh myself every day. And this month, I haven’t lost much weight. This could have been really discouraging, if I didn’t also do my measurements and see that I lost an inch off my hips and thighs! All the toning has been paying off, even if it’s not on the scales. You can also see where you are losing weight, where you aren’t, and adjust your toning to the areas you want to see your measurements go down. Body fat is another good measurement– over the past two months, I’ve gone from 26% body fat to 24%! So, I know that all my hard work is not in vain.
Also, keep in mind that these numbers mean NOTHING other than as a personal bar graph of your progress. Your first measurement is meaningless until you make your second and get to see what you’ve done. The hardest part is not being afraid of that first measurement– so many women I know live in fear of their scales. I know it’s hard to not see a number and just think “this weight means fat, this weight means thin”, but there’s so much more to it. Just try to tell yourself numbers are personal. Make your goals based on your numbers, not others.
So, here’s the challenge. Do these measurements. If you are feeling brave, post them on this blog post along with your healthy living plan for the month. And then, in a month, I’ll do a follow-up entry where we can see and discuss our progress. Here’s mine:
Body Fat: 24%
Chest (just under bust): 32″
Waist (1/2″ above belly button): 31 1/4″
Hips (biggest part of hips): 39″
Thighs (widest part): L: 22 1/8″ R: 22 1/8″
Calves (widest part): L: 14 1/2″ R: 14 1/2″
Upper Arm (largest part above elbow): L: 11 1/4″ R: 11″
For the next month, I’ll be out of town. That means no regular climbing, Y classes, or Bikram yoga. But changing it up sometimes is good. I’ll be writing an entry about vacation exercise soon! But, to summarize, while I’m gone I plan on doing a lot of basic strength exercises that use my body weight (like push-ups, situps, and squats) and doing a lot of running (my mom has a treadmill and there’s a beautiful park with a track nearby). I also will hopefully adventure to yoga classes, gyms, and indoor rock climbing gyms with some friends! As far as diet goes, I’ve been doing a lot of late night snacking with Ian that will probably end while I’m away, so I still have high hopes for staying fit on my vacation!
I’d love motivation, so please share! If you’re too shy to post measurements (or you think it’ll fuel unhealthy comparisons) then how about just your plan for the month? We could still share our progress!