Balancing the Scale

I have a confession to make.  This won’t be easy and some of you may be surprised while others may completely understand.  Here it goes…..  I have been lying about my weight for most of my adult life.

Now this is the thing.  I am 5’9”.  With heels on I am close to 6 foot.  When I would go to auditions I was always heads above the other girls and most of the men.  I needed to appear smaller, so….I lied.  There are very few jobs where when you go in for an interview you need to present a sheet a paper with your height and weight.  And I also know quite a few producers that would call you out on it if they thought those stats were a lie.  But because I was tall and slim I got away with it.

At first I was only lying about 10 lbs.  I weighed 145 and would put on my resume 135. The truth is I haven’t weighed 135 since I was in high school and honestly I would probably look emaciated if I did.  But about 5 years into my professional acting career I found Bikram Yoga.  Now, for those of you who don’t practice this yoga or may have just started, Bikram Yoga will make you gain weight.  But weight in the sense that you will look and feel better than you ever have before.

Systematically working every cell of your body within the 90 minute class means that every muscle and tendon will have its moment to become a wee bit more flexible and stronger with each session.  So as your practice progresses, those muscles that may not be used when running or lifting weights finally become fine tuned, stronger, and with that, heavier. In other words, as muscle weighs more than fat, you might find that your weight increases as you develop this new muscle density.

As my practice went from every once in awhile to 5 or 6 days a week inevitably the weight on the scale went up.  I was now more 150 than 145 and obviously now nowhere near that 135 white lie.  But when I looked at the mirror at myself I couldn’t believe those were my legs!?!  And my shoulders, abs, and back had definition that was not there before.  Even my face looked slimmer, showcasing cheekbones that had previously been non-existent and dimples that enhanced my smile.

As my practice progressed my reliance on the scale took a backseat.  Who cares what its says when you never have to worry about fitting in your clothes, you feel great, and you’re getting stronger not just physically, but mentally as well?  It’s just a number.  It’s not who you are.  You are much more than that.

Now that I teach, I hear from students that they have been practicing like crazy, but the scale is going in the wrong direction.  “I’ve gained 5 lbs. since I started.  What am I doing wrong?” is something I hear at least once a week.

Instead of consulting the scale ask yourself this:  How do you feel?  Are you happier, calmer, feeling less stressed?  Are your clothes still fitting or did you go down a few sizes?  This yoga might never satisfy you if you are looking for it to produce a number on a scale.   It’s not about dropping weight it’s about changing your life for the better.

I know many people come to the hot room in the hopes of dropping weight.  And the truth is if they put the time in they definitely will.  You will be dropping the weight that said your weren’t good enough, pretty enough, talented enough.  The negative emotions that keep us stuck.  But you will be building weight that will increase your strength, flexibility and overall wellness.

So today I am a proud 148 – 154 lbs.  It goes back and forth.  I will never match the 135 lb. mark that is listed on my resume and my driver’s license and that is completely o.k. with me.  My life has more balance and is loaded with peace, happiness and good relationships.   I’ll take that over weighing some crazy number any day!

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy reading:

Proof is in the Picture

The Inner Monologue

Life’s Greatest Adventure is When  We Work With Change Instead of Fighting It

14 thoughts on “Balancing the Scale

  1. Great post as always. To share a similar but different experience, in my first 18 months of practice I lost about 80 pounds. The number on the scale was never my fixation, just getting healthier, fitter, in better shape, and most importantly FEELING BETTER. I had all that weight to lose because in the previous 10-15 years I let myself get slowly but surely more and more out of shape and added more and more dumb careless weight. I’m down to 185 from 265 and for the last 7 months or so my weight has been stable in spite of averaging very close to a class a day. When I do a BMI calculator, I’m told my base weight should be 175, so I’ve been trying to drop the last 10 and it just ain’t happening. I’m not worried about it because I never focused on the number on the scale but its just a curiosity now…maybe I can, maybe I can’t, maybe I will, maybe I won’t. What I can attest to, as you say, is the muscle gain and toning that occurs the more you practice. My arms and legs are taut and firm like never before, my abs are more defined than ever (never thought I’d be accused of having “abs”, lol). I feel incredible more than I ever expected so, yes, you can use Bikram Yoga to lose excess weight, but there will come a point where you may not be able to drop any more because you are building muscle as well. I gotta come and take one of your classes one of these days.

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