We launched our first ever #robthescale challenge on November 24th, challenging anyone who was fed up with fearing the scale to weigh daily for 31 days, and post about it along the way.
What was in it for them?
Outside of discovering what causes weight fluctuations, learning how to track individual trends, and becoming friendly with the one thing most people avoid most (the scale!) we also threw out a FREE month of personal training for one selected individual.
The rules were simple.
1) weigh daily
2) post daily
3) submit a written summary of your #robthescale experience at the end of your 31 days.
Alright, sit down, buckle up, keep arms and legs inside the essay at all times. You’re going to learn some shit like I learned some shit. First things first, I love analogies, so to start off were going to make one of those. Second, I hope you packed a lunch, cause we’re going to talk about some life lessons I learned in just 31 short days. Finally, just to make a point, you’re not only on to something, but you’re ON TO something. Soooooo, about that analogy.
I’m a scuba diver. Ask me, ask anyone who dives. You see some cool shit, you do amazing things. You defy gravity, you make new friends, you see a part of the world people can not even dream of. With that being said, every scuba diver knows, “One will work on buoyancy his/her entire life.” I never realized this completely transfers onto dry land, until your challenge. Not only has it become a part of my life, but changed it. First things first, let’s look at the science behind why this is so applicable.
Alright, *breath*, so, without sounding like a nerd, the long and short is: (FB = ρf Vf g) this is Archimedes principle, whereas FB is the buoyant force, ρf is the density of the displaced fluid, Vf is the volume of the displaced fluid (volume and density is measured based on the mass of an object), and g is the acceleration due to gravity @ 9.8 m/s2 (this is a Newton, it’s important because I’ll bring it up later). Summary, Buoyancy is based on gravity and mass.
Now, this is important because of what “weight” means (don’t worry the scuba thing wasn’t arbitrary). Weight is defined as the force of gravity on an object in order to keep it on the earth (you lift weights, you get it). So, W=F=mg whereas W is weight, F is the force measured, m is mass, and g is the acceleration due to gravity @ 9.8 m/s2 (told you I’d bring it up again). Summary, Weight is based on gravity and mass.
Since we can now agree that buoyancy and weight are measured by fact that your position on earth is measured by the Newtons it takes to keep you ON the earth; it is not a far reach to realize one’s weight is correlative under water as over water. Sure there are differences, however the comparison that weight, buoyancy, mass, and gravity affect measurements are fact.
Welcome to my life above water; I’m a “healthy” firefighter and I’m on blood pressure medicine. How can I say both of those things in the same sentence? Is it because I can do my job? Is it because I can pass the CPAT? Is it because I do what is required to complete the tasks placed before me?
Since 2013 I’ve been “able” to do my job. I joined the recruit academy in December of 2013 at 260 lbs. My lightest as a grown adult (was I really an adult at 23?). I finished EMT school in 2014 at 315 lbs. The difference between those two weights? I never weighed in. I kept going forward without accountability. I hadn’t looked back at where I was, or looked forward to where I was going. I thought I was good enough because I was a “firefighter” and “stronger than everyone else,” and this mentality carried all the way through to until 31 days ago.
When I started this challenge my heaviest weight was 294 lbs. Now, based on your ideal to USE the scale versus disregard it, my weight has dropped to today’s weight, 278 lbs. The term ‘use’ is capitalized, not only to grant emphasis, but also to imply that this is a tool.
Let’s circle back around; buoyancy, underwater this can be a life threatening situation. It is taken very seriously. Depth is correlative to force applied on the human body. Too deep, I die. Rise too fast, I die. A diver’s console measures three things: depth, air, and heading. F, O2, >). When your under water your entire LIFE is measured by just these three things. The force against your body/the earth, if you can consume oxygen, and where you’re going/where you’ve been. (F, O2, >). Why wouldn’t we measure life above water the same way?
Simple question? I think so. A not so simple question? What have I learned in these 31 days by checking my F=mg? Yes, the scale is just a number. This is what we were told, and it’s true. BUT it’s not “just a number” that you can disregard. It doesn’t “not mean nothing”. (forgive the triple negative, I’m from Tennessee.) The fact that you’re not held accountable for your actions because “it’s just a number,” is silly when you say it out loud. Just because I “can do my job,” doesn’t mean I’m healthy. I allowed myself to be blinded by the fact that “most” people can’t do this, it’s too physically demanding but I can do it; I must be healthy. So why am I on blood pressure medicine? Oh, it’s because it’s over prescribed in this country. It’s not my fault. It’s because I’m a big guy, I’m 6’4”, 300 pounds; my heart “has to” work harder. It’s not my fault. What the fuck was I thinking? As long as I can do what I need to, I can eat these cheeseburgers? When I do check my weight I don’t weigh more than I thought I would, I must be doing fine. Then why am I taking medicine? The same medicine I preach to my patients that is “just a bandaid, you NEED to lose weight with diet and exercise”. “I can do my job.” ≠ “I’m healthy.” It IS my fault.
Your challenge, this challenge, is a check-in with our console. If it takes three things to survive under water F, O2, >), it takes three things to survive above water (F, O2, >). I can not know my F if i don’t measure it. Plain and simple. Taking this measurement keeps me accountable. It shows me, if I’m too deep; I die. “One will work on buoyancy his/her entire life.” = “One will work on weight his/her entire life.” Life is measured in three things F, O2, >). Now that I know where I’ve been; I can now where I’m going.