Have you ever stepped on the scale and walked away just crushed? Or pissed? Or ashamed?
I recently had a conversation with a client, and then another with a friend, about the dreaded scale. Many a Diva has cried over the little window on the scale. Many have tensed up and panicked at the doctor’s office, or avoided a Weight Watcher’s meeting because of this demonic force.
When you have a healthy relationship with your scale, you call on it once in a while – like once a week, or once a month. You use it as a gauge, letting you know if you’ve gone totally overboard and need to refocus – like after a vacation. Or you use it while doing a weight loss challenge, making sure you are on track – still, maybe once a week.
It becomes unhealthy when you make it a habit to visit it daily and actually have some feelings about what you see that can affect your day. Or worse, you visit it every time you eat and then let it dictate your diet. It also becomes unhealthy when what the scale says about you affects your day, or worse, self esteem. So let’s be clear. If you have a relationship with your scale like a high school girl with a crush, waiting for it to compliment you and crying when it doesn’t, it’s time to let it go. Who knew something so small could be so powerful? Let’s get one thing clear here once and for all – you do not NEED to rely on a scale. In fact, if it’s causing you terror in any way, you really should throw it out. Here are a reasons you may want to kick the scale habit.
1. Weighing yourself too often can give you a huge misinterpretation of your efforts. A few of the factors that can affect the results of your weigh in are working out and building muscle, fluid intake or lack of, time of day, clothes worn while weighing, bowel movements, and more. If any of these factors are different from one weigh in to the next (and they will be), your scale will show you inaccurate results. Don’t trust it.
2. A scale can make you anxious. And anxiety is certainly not good for weight loss. Basically, this is a fear of not getting the results you want before you even step on the scale. So now you’re in fear mode, which is the opposite of self love, which moves you further away from the possibility of any healthy weight loss. Not good.
3. A scale can make you get desperate. When you become desperate, you do things you shouldn’t to make the scale say the things you want it to say. Like starving, purging, diet pills – all very unhealthy weight loss methods rooted in self hatred. This takes you as far away from success as you can be.
4. A scale can be misleading. Losing weight is not the only indicator of your body changing for the better. When you feel better in your energy level, or you have fewer headaches or less joint pain, or when your clothes fit better, it may not show up on your scale. You’ve made wonderful progress, but your scale may not know anything about it. Looking for the scale to say “hey, great job!” can lead to disappointment when you should be celebrating.
5. A scale can distract you from the real goals. When your goal is to lose pounds, you miss out on the wonderful opportunity to enjoy the journey. Getting to know new ways to cook and eat, that’s the fun part, and the real goal. When you focus on what you learned to cook this week, and how much your friends and family loved your simmered butter beans with garlic kale, you get to enjoy the process of becoming healthier. When I lost 32 pounds years ago, I never got on the scale. One day, when I finally did, I was amazed at the weight loss. I saw it as a bonus. I was too busy getting creative with my juicer, and discovering new dishes to make in my wok. But had I been trippin’ off of every pound the whole time, I would have brought anxiety and impatience onto myself. It’s like watching your nails grow, and without blinking. Why would you do that to yourself?
When you decide you’re going to lose weight, you don’t need a scale. You need a plan. Then you need to work that plan. After that, you just need to congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Do you have any tips to share on how to avoid a bad relationship with the scale? If so, I’d love to hear about it.