One question I often get asked, from friends who visit my place, is “How come you don’t have a scale?”. The answer is quite simple: I don’t weigh myself. I stopped after my son was born and to be honest, I don’t miss it because my weight is not important to me anymore. “How is that possible?”, you might ask. Let me explain…
Following the numbers
Until about 4 years ago, my daily morning routine included stepping on the bathroom scale with an empty stomach, and basically, freaking out. I would end my day by stepping on it again, after dinner which made me nearly faint. Every. Single. Time. I had, until them, made a fatal mistake: I listened to my skinny friends talking about their weight and thought “we are the same age, therefore we should weigh the same”. As you can probably tell, I was frustrated.
When I started paying attention to the numbers on the scale, I tried everything to make them go down. I changed my nutrition, I did more sport, I eat very little for a long time (not healthy!), I drank more water, I dieted, I cried… but no matter what I did, my weight stayed the same. I did not lose one single pound. What I didn’t and probably couldn’t see at that time was I also did not gain a pound either. After all the stress and frustration and misery, there I was: still the same, in my old form, with the same number on the scale.
After my pregnancy, I moved to another flat and my bathroom scale was left behind. I did not fuss: if my weight was going to stay the same, day in & day out, why stress about it? After starting my journey into fitness, I finally realized what I had begun suspecting a while ago: being healthy, strong & fit does not depend on the number the scale gives you, but on how you feel in your own body.
In all truth, even if you weigh yourself every day at the exact same time, the number on the scale might go down or up, with no apparent reason. Stepping on the scale every morning, hoping for a lower number, can be quite stressful which can make your fitness journey harder! You might become discouraged, angry or upset by the slightest increase or decrease.
It is easy to be confused when this weight fluctuations happen. Most people don’t know that, when you start training, it is completely normal to gain a little weight at the beginning (blame water retention, for example). When your body gets used to exercising, you will lose weight, due to fat burning and then, you will gain again (!) because of muscle build-up.
For all these reasons, I’ve chosen a different method to keep track of my body: monthly measurements (MM). This means that, even if I gain weight, because of muscle build-up, I can still gauge how I’m doing month to month. This is how it works…
I write down my bust, waist and hip measurements, as well as my thigh circumference and my upper arm girth each month. From measurement to measurement, I can see where I’m losing and where I’m gaining. It is also easier to check your status: MMs are supposed to go down when you’re losing fat and up when you’re trying to build muscles. A quick pinch is all it takes! For those who are trying to slim down, MMs will allow you to track changes in your body, earlier and in a more reliable way than any scale in the world.
MMs help me maintain a healthy connection to my body on a regular basis. They have also helped me actually look at myself which makes me self-aware & motivated. Who cares about the number on the scale, if that sexy dress that you’ve been hiding, fits better? So, ladies, trust me on this one… It’s time to leave your bathroom scales, go out and get a little black book to write in and start measuring. You will immediately feel the difference!
Jana, owner of Cocos Cal Burn, is a certified fitness instructor, dance junkie & mother of a little earthquake of joy. She is a native German speaker who, nonetheless, feels passionate about offering women the possibility of exercising within a safe, fun, space in their own language. On her free nights, you can find her belting it out at the karaoke or on the dance floor in the coolest bar in town.
Photo credit: Hailing from sunny Florida, Loralee is an English & Spanish speaking family & children photographer who enjoys capturing bright colors, big smiles & childhood memories. She is a Munich resident since 2015 and mom to one very cute little girl. Find her work at Loralee Photography.