Back in July, I told you all about how I was going scale-free for the summer. Now that Labor Day has come and gone and fall has unofficially arrived (despite the 92 degree weather around here), I figured I owe you an update.
During my eleven weeks in Boston this summer, I didn’t have access to a scale. Since I had already reached my goal weight, and tracking my calories was difficult, I decided to give them both up for the summer to see if I could maintain my weight all by myself.
Well, a few days after we got home, I hopped on the scale to see how I made out. Drumroll please!
5 pounds gained
At first I was upset (but not particularly surprised; in some ways, I was just relieved all of those work lunches and post-work snacks at South Station didn’t add up to 10 pounds). After all, a gain means I failed at weight maintenance right? Plus, I know that 5 pounds may not sound like much to some people, but I worked really hard to lose that last bit, so hard I overtrained and had to take a long break. So my first reaction was to beat myself up over the lost progress.
As we all know, the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. After initially pouting, I got to thinking and I realized I was forgetting something: muscle. To help prepare for the Super Spartan, worked hard to build my legs all summer, and I have definitely gained some muscle. My legs aren’t noticeably bigger, just stronger, so if I’ve lost fat and gained muscle, that should account for some of the gain. That’s something to celebrate! Not be disappointed about. I <3 muscle!
That being said, I have felt at times lately that I’m also carrying a little extra on my middle. That’s where I gain weight first and where I’m always fighting to lose it, so I know muscle can’t account for the whole gain.
So overall, there are a few pounds I want to lose. But, as I tried to decide what to do about it, I realized there was one more mitigating factor that I had forgotten. All summer long, I did a LOT less cardio (and fewer workouts overall as a result). I struggled with workouts in general, and I wasn’t teaching Zumba. Since I burn 500-700 calories per class teaching, and I was teaching 4 classes per week, that’s over 2000 calories a week I stopped burning. And that’s just Zumba! If I had maintained my exercise routine over the summer, I don’t think I would have gained anything at all.
So, what now? In light of my last revelation, I’ve decided to start by doing… absolutely nothing! The more I thought about it, the more I don’t think I failed at all! I kept my diet roughly the same (with a little more indulging than usual), and only missed maintaining my weight because of my workout troubles. Now that I’m teaching again, I think the increase in my workouts will take the non-muscle pounds right off. In fact, I may have to make an effort to eat MORE to fuel my body and maintain a healthy weight once my teaching schedule is back in full force next week.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t need the scale or calorie counting to maintain my weight. Does that mean I will give them up altogether? No, but it has definitely been a liberating experience. It feel like another milestone on my quest for a happy and loving relationship with my body.