Patrick Ethridge BEFORE

Patrick Ethridge

My world is ruled by numbers.

I’ve spent nearly 20 years of my life living by numbers, whether it be deadlines, financial reports or pounds on the scale.

For those couple weeks a year when we’re able to claim vacation days and “unplug” from the numbers it’s glorious, but always short-lived. In the end I’m back to being a slave to the numbers.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. The thing I hate most about Fitness Challenge has always been depending on the scale to determine a winner. Long ago when this thing started we considered every possible way to determine a winner, and percentage of starting weight lost through the challenge seemed the best way.

It can be misleading, I admit. Some people will gain more muscle or lose more inches, but ultimately, we needed a way to measure success across the board so we depended on the scale. Numbers don’t lie, usually.

I was expecting good numbers this week. I worked hard, I had been to the gym 5 of 6 days. As I write this my shoulder is sore from lifting and boxing, my knee is sore from lunges and I’m exhausted from logging two miles earlier in the day. I was feeling good about my effort. And then the numbers slapped me in the face.

For the week I lost a measly 2.2 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. I stepped off the scale and back on, thinking surely something was wrong.

It was terrible. I felt like ordering pizza.

I’m still angry about it, replaying all the things I could have done different. Maybe an extra 10 minutes of cardio on Saturday or maybe I should have had water instead of lemonade with my lunch Sunday. Regardless, the numbers don’t lie. It was an OK week, but not a great week.

There’s a tiny voice in the back of my mind reminding me that sometimes, you have to just do the best you can and let the numbers be what they will be. That voice is high pitched and has a southern accent. Actually it’s my wife, not my mind.

But I’m not really wired that way, so the numbers bother me.

There’s really only one way to get over bad numbers: Making them better.

So here’s to another week and improved numbers next week.


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