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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

I'm breaking up with my scale...

This day is a long time coming. I've decided to break up with my scale… for a little while. And it's not because I don't like what it says. What it says is fine. Shoot… it never says anything but a number anyway. It's a computer. A calculator. It just give me a little bit of data. Why would I get mad at a computer that only does what it's supposed to do? The reason I need a breakup is because I've let what it says have too much power over me. It's because what it says has somehow defined whether I'm a success or not. It's because what it says has now become the single driver for all of the decisions I make throughout the day or what goals I set moving forward. I have given up some of my power to it, and I'm not ok with that.

For the longest time I've weighed every day. Well to be honest, I've weighed every night and day. And before you start shaking your head at me… yes, I know this is not a good habit. And I know that I'm not the only one out there that has scale habits like this. You know who you are, and I'm not judging. We all have our struggles. For years I have lied to myself and have said that it doesn't affect me but after a lot of soul searching lately I realize more than ever that it does.

Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly. The days where the scale went down, I would celebrate it. I was happy with the number. But what I realized was that I wasn't also celebrating the other things that I'd accomplished that were more healthy than just losing a few tenths of a pound. I'd essentially discounted the other things that were more worthy of celebration. Now, let's talk about what happens when the number on the scale went up. Instead of celebrating anything, that number would make me disappointed in myself. So what if I had a killer day at work? So what if I'd accomplished everything that day that I set out to do? So what if I hit a personal best in my workout or the best pace on a really great run? It didn't matter, because the scale said I wasn't worthy of celebration. That might be a little extreme, but it's not far off from the truth.

For the last few weeks I've been reflecting. I had a goal set at the start of the summer to be at a particular weight when I would start my training for the next half marathon. Training starts next week and I didn't make it to that goal. Frankly, not even close. My consistency in how I ate was not where it needed to be to get to that goal. And I'm an adult who makes her own choices, so I own that. I'm not even upset about it, because I have amazing memories of this summer with friends and my family. We've enjoyed some wonderful vacations and celebrations over the summer. And while I didn't make the best choices in food, I still kept up with my health. I've exercised like I needed to, I've worked on a lot of personal development, I've excelled at work, and I'm helping more people get healthy than I've ever done. But as soon as I get on the scale, all of those positive things seem to become diminished, because I didn't hit a target. And that's not cool. Not cool at all.

So how do I move forward? Well, first I have to measure success using other things besides a scale. My single personal goal right now is to run this next half marathon in the best shape I possibly can. And I can make that goal and put it up on my fridge or bathroom mirror, but writing it down and putting it out to see isn't going to get me there. It all comes down to the action I take and the systems I put into place. Setting goals is great, but the steps you take to get there are even greater. Ya wanna know why? Because with each step forward, I'm making progress. And each time I make progress I build momentum. And with momentum comes motivation to keep going. And ultimately I could hit a million targets but if the journey doesn't teach me something it's just check in a box. Something I get to cross off of my list.

So with action in mind I'm setting myself up to take the first steps. To get to where I want it's going to take a focus on training and fueling my body well. It's also going to mean focusing on resting well. I know that when I eat and sleep better, I train better. When I train better, I race better. So that's where my focus is. Here are my intentions.

  • Get to bed by 10:00 every night. Lights out, no phone, roll over and get some Zzzzz's. I know my body likes to wake up early every morning no matter what time I hit the sheets so this is going to be an important one for me. My body needs the time to heal from training and my brain needs the time to rest as well.

  • Run - run according to my training, because someone smarter than me came up with the regimen and I'm following it. And it's more than just running… it's stretching, strength training, and resting. I recognize that I'm not a pro when it comes to exercise science and I need to rely on coaching in some areas. This is one, so I'm going with it.

  • Fueling my body in the right way and doing it consistently. This is going to happen with meal prep every week and following the structure that I know works for me. That's eating early and often. It also means hydrating better… ahem… cutting out the wine. And all of this is total BS if I don't cut out the snacking.

  • I would think that this one goes without saying, but keeping myself protected from illness. Wearing my mask when it's necessary and staying home and out of large public gatherings.

  • Protecting my mind. Long runs are a mind game, but honestly so is the rest of life. So I'm feeding myself with the good stuff. I'm reading every day on some personal development. And I'm intentionally seeking out people who build people up instead of tearing them down. You don't realize how the negativity around you starts to show up in your own character over time. Or how it will build up anxiety. So, haters…. Not listening to or engaging with y'all for a while.

  • Being grateful. This is something I was doing every day religiously for a while and for some reason I stopped. I got out of habit. But I'm going back to it now. I'm going to start every morning with being grateful. Writing it down and saying it out loud.

You can see that none of these systems have anything to do with a scale. They have nothing to do with a dress size. They have everything to do with getting back to what I know gets me healthy and keeps me there. This is the intention for the next 12 weeks. And there will be times where I'm tested, but that's ok. I'm here for it.

So here is my challenge to you out there. If you're on any type of health journey, whether it's weight loss or a performance goal. Evaluate how you're measuring your success. And if that danged scale is an area you struggle with, use it with caution. Protect your heart and mind from having it define you. Because that number does not define your worth or abilities. It's feedback, it's data, and that's all.

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