Screw the Scale

Brooke and MandyThese thoughts have been weighing on me (pun intended, yes) so I thought I would write a guest
post and share.

For the first 8 months or so of my CrossFit Journey I was a devoted fish-eating-vegetarian, had been for almost 6 years, and weighed in around 55 kilos. I struggled to lift 65 pounds over my head and was content hitting the same front squat weight every class for a very long time.

All of my life I looked at food as a way to be “skinny”. I was always the smallest of my siblings, but always on some sort of diet. A smaller pant size or being thin seemed synonymous with being accepted, celebrated and worthy. All of my life, I’ve hated my legs because they weren’t super long and lean. CrossFit has significantly changed the way I view body image, but recently I had to get on the scale at work. We earn “points” the healthier we are, and can earn cash rewards or a percentage off our health insurance. I had not been on a scale in nearly two years, so I was hesitant. All of my button-down shirts have been donated because they no longer fit in the arms or shoulders. Guess I have no business shopping in the Ann Taylor petite section anymore. When I read the results on the scale, I was shocked…

15 pounds heavier than I expected.

15 pounds!

Screw the scale! I’m not placing any value in it. Not when I have a notebook filled with workouts where I can compare results. Rather than focusing on the number on the scale, I decided to focus on other, more important numbers. And I kindly urge you to do the same.Eri and Brooke

I hope that if you’re having a tough day you can look back and think about your our own journey, take value in it and feel proud. Look at how far you’ve come. Did you ever think you could climb a rope and overcome your fear of heights? Did you ever think you’d get kipping pull-ups? Did you ever think you’d compete at a local competition or during the Open among the elite? Do you realize that you make the choice to walk through those doors in the first place?

I can’t pinpoint when exactly my attitude shifted from just going through the motions of learning the movements, to actually wanting to put more weight on the bar and RX workouts (I do remember my first RX 14# wall ball though, with Mandy in a partner WOD and as she says, “NOW THERE’S NO GOING BACK!”). I would rather be strong than skinny. I would rather have tree trunk legs and a big butt than be where I was. I would rather be capable than not.

I would rather spend a weekend with friends, feasting on fried sea food, giant ice-creams and cold cocktails than count my points or calories (those frozen meals aren’t even real food!). Because I know once the weekend is over I can do back to consistent, clean eating, good hydration, and plenty of sleep to feel strong, energized and ready to take on the day, and the workout of the day.

Screw the scale, because I like to squat too much, and I’m going heavy.

September 19, 2013
Strength: 20RM High Bar Back Squat – make no more than 2 attempts

OTM 16:
First Minute) 25 Double-unders
Second Minute) 4-8 Reps Upper Body Gymnastics Movement
(Handstand Push-ups, Ring Dips, Push-ups, Pull-ups, Toes-to-Bar, Muscle-ups, etc.)

  17 comments for “Screw the Scale

  1. Caitlin
    September 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    That last line gave me chills.

    Amen, girl!

  2. Brennan
    September 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

    HBBS 20RM: 85# and according to Maralene, I did the depth!
    WOD: did 8-10 dubs except the last couple minutes when I fell apart, 5 pull-ups with red band

    Thank you, Brooke. I think you know how & why I appreciate this post. Loves!

  3. Shane B
    September 19, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Brooke I’ve always wanted long lean legs as well!

    HBBS – 250# – this was interesting
    WOD – Double Unders and 8 ring dips (about have kipping)

    Nice work 5:30

  4. Tom Matlack
    September 19, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Great post Brooke. As the father of a 19 year old daughter who has struggled mightily with body image and food issues I particularly appreciate it.

    155 on 20RM (thx Maralene)

    10 DUs and 5 ring dips. That was sneaky hard.

  5. Cal
    September 19, 2013 at 8:49 am

    i can’t believe that first pic with mandy is you! YOUR CANNONS ARE HUGE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! i much prefer a muscly and strong brooke and i pictured you being the incredible hulk out of those petite dress shirts :)

    thanks for sharing, too. you’ve had an inspiring journey!!!

  6. Tim
    September 19, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Brooke – you are amazing! Such a powerful post. Let the journey continue. Lift all the things!! ONWARD!

  7. Brooke Ilene
    September 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Thanks so much, guys! And thanks to Eric who is a wonderful and patient editor (my post was 1,561 words, but he did a great job with my ramblings!) I hope he doesn’t mind, but I did want to share this with you….because this community/family has transformed me and the way I view health now.

    When I was “skinny,” (I’ve never thought of myself as skinny), I was afraid. I was stuck inside my own negative narrative. I would rather step up to that barbell every day, whether I feel like it or not, face my fears and move through them. I would rather work on my weaknesses than cherry pick workouts. I would rather practice skills and walk around with a giant smile after getting my first of something. Or have goal to look forward to and cheer those on around me who are fighting for their firsts. I can remember that day when so many of you got your first muscle up and it was incredible! I would rather look forward to those first 10 seconds in a WOD where my heart is fluttering, and my thoughts are racing, but I am never alone. I am among those who share in the struggle and the fight, where it never gets easier, where there’s blood, sweat, tears, hugs and high fives.

    20RM High Bar Back Squat (one attempt) 135#

    15-18 du’s
    handstand push ups with a few “hair poofs” for a scale

    I also hit myself in the face with the rope and then it broke. Basically, PR’ng double unders.

  8. Elyse
    September 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

    cheers to fried seafood and giant ice creams! :)

    20 RM HBBS: 40kg
    25 DUs and 4 push-ups

  9. SamB
    September 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Great post Brooke. I immediately shared it.

  10. Shorty
    September 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Kick-ass post Brooke! It’s awesome to see how far you’ve come. Stereotypes be damned!

    Also, to anyone interested, I have two tickets to tonight’s Bruins vs. Red Wings preseason game. I am willing to let them go for cheap, so please email me ( if you’re interested.

  11. Tony
    September 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Brooke.

    HBBS: 205 # – maybe short changed myself, but 1st WOD of the week since coming off cold/flu bug.
    Skill: 10 ring dips for the 1st half, but changed to 5 HSPU to further “challenge” myself the 2nd half.

  12. Erika
    September 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    She is the big sis for a reason. Love you Brookie, miss you all!

    • Brooke Ilene
      September 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      We all show up to CrossFit for different reasons, whether it’s to change up a routine, lose weight, make new friends, or hold ourselves accountable to actually exercise. Maybe we’ve wandered into a CrossFit box because we come from an athletic background and miss tapping into that competitive side of ourselves. Or we just like to throw heavy weight around or climb things because it reminds us that we were young once. Or we finally realize that static movement doesn’t work and there is no such thing as “toning.”

      Or, our sister is a coach and says, “When are you going to come to my class?” And she lives with you. And she can lift 200+ pounds over her head.


  13. Renee Polcaro
    September 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Brooke, YOU ROCK!

  14. Jason
    September 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    HBBS = 125# for 20 reps

    WOD = 16 consecutive double unders during the final round. Huge improvement.

  15. Rachel
    September 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I love this post!! I remember meeting you at the paleo potluck at the old box and you were debating eating one of my bacon meatballs because you were still technically a vegetarian then!

    HBBS: 105#
    WOD: 10 doubles or double attempts and four handstand pushups to two mats. All got easier as the WOD went along!

  16. Caroline C.
    September 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Hey CFF! Yeah, still lurking around from time to time and fortunately happened to catch this post.

    Although I didn’t often have class with you, Brooke, I believe I was there for one of your first, if not your actual first, classes in the old gym. Your attitude was awesome from day one and reading this post is inspiring! You are badass and your comments are spot-on!

    Happy WODding y’all! I still miss you guys :(


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