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Karen Repassy: Taking yoga beyond the mat and into everyday activities
West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2015 1 year ago

ACTIVE: A healthy lifestyle goes beyond the scale

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by: Karen Repassy

If you have been following the Winter Garden Yoga articles for the past several months, you may have noticed my recommendation to go on a fat-loss diet instead of a weight-loss diet. If you do choose a fat-loss diet, I have some powerful advice for you: 

Put away and hide your scale! 

I would like to share with you my own personal experience with the dreaded bathroom scale. I hope to encourage you to not use a scale as your only gauge of success when you are working on your goal to burn fat off your frame and get toned. Please, take this seriously. 

Before I began my journey to getting healthy and finally manage and maintain my goal body size, I weighed myself every day. At one point, no matter what I did, the number on the scale did not budge — or I watched the number increase.  

I hated the scale.  

It made me depressed, but I could not seem to stay away from it. I was attached to that number on the scale and let it dictate my self-esteem and self-worth.

About four years ago, I gave up the fight (because by now it was a losing battle), put my scale away and attended a seminar at Winter Garden Yoga called “Weight Control and Healthy Living.” My thought was that I could at least manage my current weight and get healthy. At the time, I was a size 12, and my goal was not to get any bigger. After I started eating for fat loss and fat began to melt from my body, I was down two sizes, and yes, I dropped 15 pounds (I weighed myself occasionally to just check in with results).   

And guess what: About three months later, after getting more toned, my clothes were getting looser. I was hopeful that I would weigh the same as I did in my 20s. I pulled out the scale, which was hidden in the back of my closet, and with a hopeful heart I stepped on it. I had gained eight pounds. 

 Yes, I GAINED eight pounds.

I just stood there crying in shock. Thankfully, I immediately called Brian (the owner of the studio) with my horrible news, and fortunately, he reminded me that I had just told him days before that my clothes were getting looser, I was noticing more tone and I was feeling great.  

He said, “Karen, this is awesome news. Muscle weighs more than fat. You have gained muscle weight.”  

Even after his words of wisdom, I did not believe it until I went shopping the next day and bought several shorts in a size 6 (from a size 12). I was officially down another size. That day I put the scale away for real. 

In a nutshell, I lost seven pounds and went down three sizes. If I was using the scale as my only gauge, I would have given up on this fat-loss plan that was finally getting me sustainable, maintainable results. 

Here is what I learned from this experience, and I hope it helps you: 

If your goal is to burn fat on a fat-loss diet, you will burn fat off your frame and gain muscle. What does this mean? You will get toned and smaller. Muscle is denser than fat, which means it weighs more. So if you are burning fat but gaining muscle, your weight may or may not change. Using the scale as your only gauge will not be an accurate indicator of whether or not you are reaching your goals.

If you are on a fat-loss diet or you are thinking about going on a fat-loss diet, I urge you to stop using your weight scale as the sole indicator of your results. Instead I recommend using the following as your gauge: 

How do you look?

How do you feel?

How do your clothes fit? 

As always, check with your doctor or health care provider before trying any new fitness or nutrition program. None of the material in this article is intended as medical advice and should not be interpreted as such. I wish you the best on your health and wellness journey.

Karen Repassy is a professional nutritionist and certified yoga instructor at Winter Garden Yoga, located at 12 W. Plant St. in historic downtown Winter Garden. Karen is certified in Functional Yoga Instruction and Metabolic-Effect Nutrition. You can learn more about Karen and classes offered by Winter Garden Yoga by visiting wintergardenyoga.com, calling (407) 579-9889 or emailing [email protected].

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