Why you shouldn’t measure success by the scales

Do you attribute success at work purely based on how frequently you receive a pay raise?

I very much doubt it.

And why don’t you?

Well, for many reasons… There are a lot of factors that contribute to a pay raise, many of which are beyond your direct control. For example – How well is the economy doing? How financially secure is the industry you are employed in? How is pay structured at your organization? Of course, your performance at work contributes to a pay raise, but it contributes not dictates. Let’s pretend that these four factors are the only criteria in determining your pay raise, you are only in direct control of 25% – a quarter of them. So if you don’t receive a pay raise weekly (and if you do, let me know – I want your job!) how do you go through your career feeling successful? In many ways: solving problems; helping people; educating; learning something new; generating income; collaborating…. The list is endless. Sure, some days might be ‘unsuccessful’ but we don’t define our successes purely on the number of dollars on our paycheck, and rightly so.

With that in mind, in health and fitness, why do we measure all our success on what the scales say? Like a paycheck, it gives us a definitive number and something we can both measure and compare, but we seem fixated that the scale is the only measure of success. I too am guilty of this. Until recently, if the scale showed me a value higher than the previous week, I would be devastated. So devastated that I would cancel plans and it would completely wreck my confidence, a mindset that is neither helpful nor healthy.

Firstly, scale weight is forever fluctuating and is influenced by so many factors.  Secondly, there is SO much more to health and fitness than the scale. Are you feeling better? Do you have more energy? Is your skin clearer and more radiant? Are you stronger? Are you more flexible? Are you sleeping better? Has your body changed shape? Do your clothes fit better? Are people commenting that you seem happier?  Are you eating more?

If you are able to answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions but the number on the scale isn’t what you desire to see, does this make you unsuccessful? Of course not. Just like success at work, success in health and fitness is not defined by purely one outcome.

In the picture below, I weigh 6lbs more on the right. In which picture do I look better? In which picture am I stronger? In which picture am I eating 1000kcal extra per day? And most importantly, in which picture am I happier? The picture on the right.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x


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