Although many of you are fixated on a goal weight, fixating on this number may mean selling yourself short. Instead, aim to be in the best shape of your life. This shift in perspective from weight to shape can transform your lifestyle and boost your progress. I stopped staring at the scale and instead started to notice how my clothes fit. I started caring more about how strong I was rather than how skinny I was. I reminded myself that muscle weights more than fat but looks a heck of a lot better. (I’ll take toned arms and a tight butt any day over a dip in the scale.) Having the goal of being healthy and in shape is not only more attainable, but it will push you to remain healthy and to continue exercising long after you reach your weight goal. Here are a few ways to smash the scale and attain a healthy weight in the process!
1. You’ve Got to Move It…Move It!
Although many women struggle with getting excited about exercise, exercising has major perks. Exercise provides the perfect opportunity (and excuse) for you to focus on yourself for a few moments daily. Letting off steam through physical activity is therapeutic. And, although you may be physically exhausted before you hit the treadmill, the endorphins (feel good hormones) that your body releases during exercise will make you happier, energized, and healthier. Finding what type of exercise you like and getting addicted to it is another good way to stay in shape longterm. If Zumba is your thing, then swing those hips. If Pilates is more your style, then chatarunga and down dog away. The only way to find out what you might love is to try new things. Last week I gave Pure Barre a shot! This week was YoPI and TRX. Not only can trying new things be fun, it can also help you meet other women with similar interests and goals.
I already mentioned that muscle weights more than fat, but it looks a lot better! Not only does it look better, muscle can be your best friend when it comes to shedding the pounds. Muscle burns three times more calories than fat, even when you are sitting still. By building muscle, you will increase your metabolism and firm up your shape. Once I started incorporating weight training into my workouts I started to notice that my body shape was changing. The scale wasn’t moving much, but my waistline was shrinking (evidenced by my loose pants and confirmed by the tape measure!) Women are often intimidated by weight training, but we are also mislead to think that building muscle means pumping large amounts of iron in the weight room surrounded by Hulk like men. Weight training also includes using your own body weight in exercises like Pilates, Yoga and TRX. If weight machines and free weights are your thing, go for it, but many women love the long lean muscles produced from classes that focus on using their own body weight instead.
3. Be the New Kid On the Block
Be willing to try new things! Don’t worry if you don’t know what you are doing in an exercise class. Everyone else is caring far more about themselves than they are about how you are performing. You are trying something new for YOU, not to impress a group of people you’ve never met. If you keep that in the front of your mind you will push yourself to try new things. These new things might just make the difference in helping you reach your fitness goals. So what if you look stupid in the Pilates or Zumba studio. A few months down the road you are going to look pretty hot in your skinny jeans! Besides, you might find a class you love and in which you will eventually excel. Keep everything in perspective.
4. Don’t Starve Yourself!
Many women think that they have to cut out every calorie in order to lose weight. Fact is…YOU CAN EAT and still lose weight! Actually, you have to eat in order to lose fat. By starving yourself, your body simply holds onto the fat and gets rid of your hard-earned muscle. Eating enough food is a MUST for keeping your metabolism pumping. Try one of the calorie counters like My Fitness Pal that incorporates your exercise into the equation to track and see how many calories you should be consuming in a day. These calculators are great because they not only tell you how many calories, they also break down the number of calories from fat, sugar, carbohydrates etc. Getting the right calories from the right types of foods is incredibly important. 100 calories from a doughnut does not equal the nutrition of 100 calories from an avocado! Making sensible food choices will give you more energy and allow to see results more quickly.
5. Compete with Yourself, but Don’t Compare with Others!
Remind yourself that your primary goal right now is to be healthy. Don’t expect more from your body shape than it can realistically give. As women, we come in all different shapes and sizes. Fact: My hips will never be a size zero. If my best friend has the hips of a pencil, great for her! Work with what you’ve got. Frustration from comparing can sabotage your success. Applaud other women and their bodies, and then give yourself a pat on the back for how your body is reshaping. You only need to compete against yourself. Push yourself to reach goals that seem out of reach. But while pushing, make sure to set a realistic timetable and to set some goals that you know you can reach. For example, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure by signing up for a 10K that’s only two weeks away if you aren’t yet able to walk a 5K without passing out.
Although you have already SMASHED the SCALE by now (just in case you are hiding one in your closet)…don’t aim for rapid weight loss! Not only is losing 15 pounds in a week unhealthy, it is CRAZY! Often people reporting this much weight loss are simply losing water weight and lean muscle instead of fat. One to two pounds of weight loss a week is considered healthy. You can reach your weight goals; you just have to give it time!
Join me in a quest toward health! Exercise, eat healthy, try new things, and push yourself! SMASH the SCALE, and get your BEST BODY EVER in the process!
From The Mom in Me, MD