Saturday, February 5, 2011

Step Away From The Scale!

A Guest Post by Dori

I don't know about you, but I've always been more than a little annoyed with those articles about celebrities losing weight and whenever someone asks them how they did it, they seem to always respond, "I got rid of my scale." Yeah, like that's going to help you lose weight! Well, it turns out, they might have a point. This post is about how I lost "inches" by getting rid of the scale.

Jack and I started Whole 30 on January 3rd after Ashley announced that she was trying to get people to join in a paleo challenge. Right before we started Whole 30 I was in a bad place from a health standpoint. I was working all the time, not exercising enough, eating pretty terrible food on a consistent basis and experiencing a horrible bout with insomnia.

I decided I would not weigh myself (which I had been doing everyday and sometimes several times a day). Not weighing myself made such a difference. Instead of focusing on what the scale was telling me, I was paying attention to how I looked, how my clothes fit and how I felt...and I felt fantastic. I began sleeping again, FINALLY! I found myself smiling at the beginning of every day and after a long day at work, instead of digging into a pizza, I couldn't wait to get to the gym!

A lot of people comment that they feel weak when they start paleo; I can't say I had the same experience. I've had huge strength gains in the past month. I got my first ever dead hang pull up and have seen improvements in my other performance as well. I tracked my food on My Net Diary while I was on the Whole 30. I think tracking can be important when you're first starting out because I noticed I often wasn't taking in enough calories and needed to eat more. I think that's why a lot of people feel weak. They take out bad foods and forget to add back in calories from other sources.

The past few years dieting has always followed a similar pattern for me. The first two weeks would be a huge success where I'd lose several pounds (mostly water weight) and then suddenly stall out and not lose any weight, or worse, start to gain the weight back despite my diet and exercise. Seeing the scale go up and down would frustrate me to the point of giving up before I could see any real results. This time I weighed myself at the beginning and used a measuring tape to take my measurements. I did not weigh myself until I finished the entire Whole 30, but I knew I was losing weight because I could actually see my abs again and clothes I hadn't been able to wear for awhile suddenly fit again.

At the end of the 30 days I took my measurements again and I lost a total of 4.75 inches!!! I took pictures before and after and could see visible results. So how much weight did that translate into on the scale? A whopping ONE pound!!! That's right folks, I lost one pound in 30 days of paleo. If I hadn't taken my measurements and my pictures I would have thought the whole thing was a complete failure, despite how good I felt on paleo. This past week I've fallen back into the habit of weighing myself daily and feeling frustrated with the numbers and then I read Nelly's post and it reminded me that the number on the scale is good for knowing what a bodyweight lift should be, but other than that it provides pretty useless information. I'm putting the scale away and sticking to what does matter, how I feel, how I perform and how my clothes fit.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I didn't run out and have some huge carbapalooza after the 30 days. I have absolutely no desire to do that, I feel too good. I've been experimenting with adding different things back in to see how I feel. It's nice to be able to tell how your body reacts to certain foods.

I highly recommend Whole 30 for anyone who's thinking of trying it and when you do, make sure to ditch the scale!


  1. Great post, Dori! And thanks for the shout-out :)

    I'm still pondering whether or not to track my food (probably with Daily Plate, since I've used it before) next time I do Whole30. I didn't track or measure anything (except against my palm or thumb!) this past bout, but I think it would be interesting to see what kind of numbers I get. Probably not as an ongoing thing, though; there's too much in common with obsessively weighing.

    Awesome job on the deadhang pull-up! I'm still getting there...soon, though!

  2. Nelly,

    I totally agree that tracking your food can get obsessive and I'm not a fan of weighing and measuring, but I think it can be helpful when you're first making changes to your diet, especially with the paleo diet. I found I wasn't taking in nearly as many calories as I thought I was. Now that I've gotten a feel for the amount of food I should be eating I'll probably quit tracking.