Scale-free summer: UPDATE

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.

But wait…

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.

Now what?

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.


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10 comments on “Scale-free summer: UPDATE

  1. Amy @ The Little Honey Bee

    So happy to read this post 🙂 when I initially lost my weight, I weighed myself a lot to “check-in” — to make sure I was maintaining etc. I have really tried NOT to weigh myself this summer too and while my toes sometimes creep onto the scale I am doing a much better job of just listening to my body. And we can never forget about muscle but I always gain in my middle first too 🙂
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee recently posted…How to ZeggMy Profile

    1. BusyBod Post author

      I feel like checking in is such an addiction. I’m glad I’m not the only one. It’s like I know I can go by other things, but I don’t want to wait until my pants are snug before realizing I need to make a change! But I also think if you’ve fully embraced that the scale doesn’t tell you everything, checking in is ok, at least that’s what I tell myself! 🙂

  2. Davida @ The Healthy Maven

    The scale never tells the whole story. I have not weighed myself in 3 years (except at doctor’s appoints and once to prove to my Mom that I did not weigh 108 pounds at which point I would clearly need help!!!!) and it was the best decision I ever made. I think how you feel and how your clothes fit is a better indication!
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven recently posted…Tuscan White Bean SoupMy Profile

    1. BusyBod Post author

      Three years is amazing!! Maybe someday I can get to that point. It’s a hard security blanket to give up because I feel it can give me a warning sign before my clothes do, even though it only tells a teeny part of story. Maybe I should switch to checking in with inches instead of pounds.

  3. Christine@ Apple of My Eye

    I LOVE this post! Honestly, 5 pounds is nothing. I bet you that at least half or more is muscle gain from the training you’ve been doing. I think this just shows how much of an enemy the scale can be at times. By strength training you’re doing so much more for your health (hello, bone density increase!) and just because the scale says a slightly higher number than you’d like, you’re probably leaner overall :). Keep it up girlie <3
    Christine@ Apple of My Eye recently posted…WIAW & Thing I’m Loving on PinterestMy Profile

    1. BusyBod Post author

      Thanks! I think you are so right. Even though I definitely KNOW that the scale only tells you a tiny piece of the puzzle, my gut reaction was still to assume all the gain was negative. I’m glad my brain caught up eventually, because muscle rocks 🙂

  4. Erin @ The Almond Eater

    I love this and I think a lot of people can relate. I’m glad you aren’t upset about your gain–gaining can be good, like you said. The opposite happened to me last summer: I barely had the time to workout and I lost 5 pounds I was so mad about it because I knew the 5 pounds were mostly muscle that had been lost. But, like you said, 5 pounds can be semi-easily lost/gained back in no time.

    1. BusyBod Post author

      Ahh losing muscle stinks 🙁 luckily, it’s so much easier to rebuild muscle than it is to get it initially, so you will have it back in no time!

  5. Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome

    Yay for gaining muscle! I have such a love hate relationship with my scale and strive to avoid it everyday. I need to just have my hubby hide it as it doesn’t really tell me anything I need to know! you are so right to focus on the muscle gain rather than the number on the scale. It’s such a hard thing to do since we are so trained to worry about a number but muscle is so much healthier than fat 🙂
    Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome recently posted…Why I quite trying to name the way I eat.My Profile

    1. BusyBod Post author

      I totally agree, my gut reaction was still negative, and it took me a second to think rationally. I definitely suggest giving it up for a few weeks if you can. It’s definitely helped me reduce how often I hop on if nothing else.


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