As the workout ended I said, “Great work today Sally, but you know what time it is!”
Sally responded like most clients do. “As you know Dusty, I just got back from a work trip and we drank every night.”
“And…?” I said with a smirk.
“I don’t think I should have to get on the scale today”, Sally said sheepishly.
“You know that we get on the scale every workout, no if’s, and’s, or buts'”. I said as Sally walked to the scale.
Resistance to getting on the scale is one of the most common complaints we get as trainers. I’m not here to argue if it’s the best tool to gauge progress but it is one of many that we choose to use. We get on the scale because it’s a great tool to learn your own weight fluctuations from day to day. Resistance rears its ugly face when you know you’ve had a bad week or weekend. Birthdays, holidays or vacations are all excuses people try to use against getting on the scale. We all know this. Why should we allow those excuses to alter our goals? Obviously, we shouldn’t let that happen, but at the end of the day, life happens.
When we ignore the little doses of resistance along the way it tends to build up and become much more powerful. So powerful that it limits us from doing simple goal check-ins such as weigh-ins or benchmark workouts. Think of it this way, each time we ignore the little battles against resistance, those little losses lead up to losing the war on resistance. If we want to win the war and conquer our goals we need to win those little battles.
Have I lost you yet? I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m talking about. I’ll give you a few examples. Let’s first describe what I mean when I write about resistance. You’ve all felt it before. In most cases, resistance is the feeling of your stomach in knots or as I like to call it butterflies. Most of the time you’ve heard of this when people talk about being nervous and anxious before they give a speech or competing in a sport. The butterflies or more accurately, the anxiousness you feel before getting on the scale is the resistance I’m talking about. We could discuss why you’re feeling anxious before getting on the scale, but you already know why. You felt little spurts of anxiety but most likely didn’t pay attention to them. Even worse you may have chosen to ignore those feelings. That’s the battle you need to win.
You may feel resistance right before you buy that donut. You most likely feel the resistance, the anxiousness, right before you bite into the donut you shouldn’t have even bought. Why are you anxious? You know that eating that donut, giving into the craving versus listening to the resistance will show up on the scale. Giving in can and will most likely sidetrack your results. It’s knowing that and ignoring that fact that causes your anxiousness before your weigh-in. Do you see how you can stop this feeling? All you have to do is not give into the craving. That’s the hard part. We blame the scale. The number on the scale is just a number but we tie so much emotion to that number. We overemphasize the number and it overshadows the precursor to getting on the scale. That’s the key. Curbing your cravings. How can we curb your cravings? That is the right question.
Cravings happen all the time and there are many ways to curb them. At least, they sound good in theory. Some say eat half the donut or a quarter of the donut and that should cure the craving. Not sure if that works for you but it doesn’t for me. If I were to do that I’d end up eating the whole donut in quarters. So that technique wouldn’t work for me and it may not work for you. Another one is drinking a glass of water before you give into that craving. I’ve even said that before. The bodies mechanism for thirst and hunger feels the same to us. That one may get you to drink more water but most likely won’t curb your craving. I could keep going on about these different techniques and why they may or may not work for you. Truthfully, what needs to happen is you need to be aware of what you’re doing. You need to be in the moment. That’s the key. Most of us don’t live in the moment. We need to be aware of our actions and what those actions, good or bad, may lead to. That’s when you need to be most aware of resistance. You need to win that battle so you can win the war.
With that said, we will win some of those battles and lose some of those battles. The key is being aware of all the little doses of resistance and knowing what to do in the moment. Also, we need to be ok with the number we see on the scale because we know we did the best we could do. Each day try to win more battles than you lose. Each week try to do better than the week before. The more times you win, the more momentum you’ll gain against resistance. That momentum will carry to your goals. That’s how you win the war against resistance. From here on out be aware of each choice you make. Will this decision bring you closer or further from your goals? That choice is up to you but don’t blame the scale. The scale is just showing you a number. We are not defined by a number or cravings because we’re aware of our actions. Since we’re aware we can win the war.