Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Reminder of Why The Scale Is Not a Good Measurement of Fitness

Each Tuesday morning I weigh myself to keep track of my fitness. I started doing this over a year ago and have been pretty consistent with weighing in each week. I did this back when I started my marathon training and was always so befuddled with my weight going up and down weekly.

I know that my eating habits are in need of change. I don't eat terribly. Actually I do eat pretty healthy about 95% of the time. My problem lies in the quantity of food that I consume. Yes, My consumption has had to increase with my training for my half Ironman, but I also know that I eat more than maybe I need to. However, it keeps me happy and I don't feel like I have really hurt myself by ruining my training. Yes, I could be more fit and more slimmed down, but at what cost to my mental happiness? I am not sure it is worth.

I do beat myself up about my eating and many of you probably get sick and tired reading about it in my blog posts. This morning I decided to do a little back digging to see how things have progressed.

John Byrne posted a photo of the 4:30 am running crew last Saturday on his blog and I was in the picture. I started with that photo because I distinctly remembered instantly that I wore that same shirt for the Bix 7 race last summer. I went back and tracked down the Bix picture from last year.

Here it is. I remember this picture because I hated the way I looked in this image. I could not believe that with all my marathon training at that time that I still looked not fit in my mind. I am not saying I was fat, but I still remember vividly not being satisfied with my body and thinking that if I was more fit I could run faster. I ran a PR of 52:36 last year, but it gave me something to strive for.

Fast forward a year in which much as changed. The mindset of doing triathlons kicked in, I ran all winter for the first time ever. I bought a bike, blah, blah, blah.

I continued weighing in each Tuesday. My weight still went up and down in the exact range as always. My lowest being 203(Amanda said I looked like death) and my highest being 216(I seem to hit this weight about every 4-5 weeks). It is a pretty typical pattern. I hit 215-216, panic, drop down to my usual 211-213 lbs, have one week in the 205-209 range, and then spike up to 215-216 again, repeat cycle. Over a year of data shows this.

My goal for Racine was to race at 200 lbs. That is not going to happen and I am okay with this. However, I did not want to be at my current weight either.

Here is the crazy thing. I weigh the same weight as I did for the Bix a year ago. The picture below is from last Saturday.  I know the lighting and shading helps a bit, but I look much more fit. My body has changed, but my weight has not.

I am told all the time that I am shrinking away, I need to eat more, how many calories are you eating, how did you lose so much weight, are you training too much, etc.

People look at me like I am lying when I tell them I weigh the same as I did a year ago. My body has changed and modified to my training. I have lost the belly fat that I had in the picture above and I think that I must have gained some muscle from the swimming and biking. That has to be the change. I don't lift weights(although I really need to big time).

So, this big long post is just a reminder to myself and maybe to some of you out there that the scale cannot be your everything in terms of measuring your progress. Yes, we all want to lose weight and look great. However, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life and looking the best I have been in a while and I have not lost a single pound in over a year. It is a reminder that I am fine. I beat myself up sometimes when I see the numbers, but looking at the pictures is more than enough proof that what I am doing is working. I have charted my progress through pictures from back in January of 2011 up until last month. It is crazy how the body changes. You don't realize the changes yourself unless you take the pictures and measurements. That is key. I feel like I look the same from a year ago, but the pictures tell a different story.

Alright, my rant is done. I have a million thoughts in my head these last few days as I am trying to avoid the nerves that are slowly settling in for the race this weekend. Be prepared for more posts that come from the nervous chatter in my head.

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