A few people have told me recently, “just look in the mirror” to see results. They tell me not to worry about the scale or body fat measurements, particularly since I have been focusing more on building muscle in the last few months. I will tell you, though, it is very difficult for me to look in the mirror and not just focus on flaws or areas I want to improve. Progress pictures have helped me, because I can look at them and see where I have changed. But I still get on the scale and track my body fat with calipers. And it really messes with my mind!

I came across an article by Nia Shanks, a Strength and Conditioning Coach, that challenged me to get a “new scale”. It’s a great article — if you also struggle with this, I would encourage you to click over and read all of it. Here is an excerpt:

“When I was in college several years ago, I took a lab class that included measuring body fat via hydrostatic weighing. My lab partner was an athlete on the University of Louisville swim team. She was lean, strong, and confident in her appearance. She had no problem putting on a swimsuit and walking around a class of about 25 individuals as she approached the tank.

A few minutes later we had the results from the test and her calculated body fat percentage was right around 20 percent. She looked horrified when she heard “20 percent body fat.” Her demeanor quickly changed, and she didn’t smile a single time for the rest of the class period.

This young athlete was all smiles before the test because she knew she looked great, and she felt strong and confident. However, the body fat percentage that was revealed quickly and drastically changed her perception. Why, all of a sudden, did she feel insecure from a number? What did it matter that she was 20 percent body fat when she felt, and looked, absolutely fantastic and performed well in her sport?” – Nia Shanks, Stop Weighing on the Scale – Why, How to Get Better Results, and a Challenge

I love the challenge she gives in the article to get a “new scale”. . .forget about the scale and body fat measurements. Instead, she encourages us to look at these areas as your guide (my comments are italicized next to Nia Shanks’ list from her blog):

  • How you look in the mirror: My advice – take progress pics so you can compare; you don’t have to share them with anyone.
  • How your clothes fit:I’ve been feeling “fat” lately because the number on the scale has gone up a few pounds, but all my clothes still fit fine and I tried on a dozen outfits today that all fit perfectly. Maybe those extra pounds are due to strength-training. . .I hope so!
  • Are you following simple, stress free nutrition guidelines? Updated September 2015: I currently follow the 21-Day Fix eating plan.
  • How you feel. Do you feel strong and healthy? Do you feel better than ever? Do you have more energy? Are you performing well in the gym, or other activities? Do you find daily tasks easier?
  • Focus on your actions. Are you eating well? Are you training consistently? Are your actions in line with your goals?
  • These aren’t necessary, but some people like to track some number. In that case, keep track of a few measurements like waist, hips, thighs, and arms.

So, are you up to the challenge? I’m going to give it a go and see what happens.
Elastic Tits

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