Over the course of 20 years and a dozen or so trainers, I came to hate enforced weekly weigh-ins. I was always filled with dread before I begrudgingly set foot on the scale, knowing that my self-worth and mood for the entire week hung in the balance.
On the rare days I lost weight, I felt elated. Most of the time, though, I either gained weight or hit a plateau; and on those days, in my mind, I became a "fat failure," even if I thought I looked amazing in the mirror. I would let the scale distort my self-perception, leading me down a dangerous path of self-loathing and depression.
In an attempt to lower my stubborn scale readings, my trainer adjusted my program on a weekly basis. Usually this meant more cardio and fewer calories. Unfortunately, these weekly changes seldom achieved their desired effect. What did result was chronic irritability, depression, disordered eating, and exercise obsession.
Fitness, something I used to adore, became something I abhorred. I believed that if only I could lose the weight, I would be happy. And I was anything but.
A Big Weight off My Shoulders
After enduring this for a year, I finally hit rock bottom. I just couldn't do it anymore. So I did some research and implemented the following changes: I put an end to the mandatory weigh-ins, the two-hour daily cardio sessions, and the severely restricted diet that failed me for 52 solid weeks. I replaced them with my mirror; 20-minute, high-intensity home workouts; and intermittent fasting.
Guess what happened next? I lost all the weight, regained my sanity, started finding pleasure in fitness again, reestablished a healthy relationship with food, and once again became the happy Sara my family used to know and love.
Through this experience, I learned that a cookie-cutter approach does not exist. What works for one person may not work for another. But no one should become a slave to numbers on a scale. Curious as to whether I was alone in this battle, I asked some fellow fitness personalities about their relationship with the scale.