The scale is simply a way to track progress, give data, see trends in your weight.
That's all, right?
Because for most people trying to lose weight, it's not.
Without refocusing, the scale can throw so many back into the all or nothing, perfection or failure cycle that keeps you sprinting the opposite direction you want to go.
I have had clients ELATED about their progress, the changes they see in their mind, their body, and their habits….and then the scale didn’t drop instantaneously like they wanted it to. They spiral.
“What’s the point?" They ask themselves.
OH SHOOT. This is a good question. Let's answer it, shall we?
YOUR HEALTH IS THE POINT. YOUR SUSTAINABILITY, LONGEVITY, QUALITY OF LIFE.
The person you want to be is the point, the life you want to live is the point. YOU are the point.
Do you have a healthy relationship to the scale?
At it’s best, the scale is simply a data point. It gives you feedback on how your body is holding water, mass, and fat.
At it’s worst, it becomes a measure of our value, worth, and self esteem- the very thing that tells us “if this is worth it”
I have about half of my clients continue tracking their progress by throwing the scale out.
And guess what, they usually progress MUCH faster without it!
Here are some reasons to SHUT THE SCALE UP:
1. It’s not short term accurate.
The average adult experiences weight fluctuations of 5-6 lbs per day. When we see those fluctuations, most people freak out. But here is the kicker, there is a difference between gaining weight and gaining fat.
You may have gained 3 lbs overnight, but you did not gain 3 lbs of fat overnight.
Gaining weight is the same thing that happens when you add water to a water bottle. It gets heavier because there is more inside of it.
Other factors that can change your WEIGHT that have nothing to do with FAT:
Have you eaten out in the last two days?
Higher levels of sodium (found in even the healthiest takeout options!) will result in you holding on to more water.
Hormonal shifts and cravings can increase your weight 2-6 lbs during that week, balancing back out afterwards.
Are you dehydrated?
Again, your body will be holding on to water causing you to bloat.
Have you flown on a plane recently?
That "swelling" feeling you are experiencing is fluid retention due to sitting for long periods of time and cabin pressure.
This can change the hormonal signals you are experiencing causing you to be hungrier, your blood sugar to be unstable, and your body to hold onto water.
Inflamed by food, stress, or strenuous workouts?
Inflammation is an immune response to foreign invaders, high stress, or injury. When your body is screaming for REST and we give it INTENSITY, we are further severing that relationship and the trust in our own skin. Inflammation will lead to decreased digestion, hormone imbalance, and you guessed it, water & weight gain.
2. It changes the way you show up for yourself:
There is a huge difference between showing up for yourself and showing up against yourself.
A negative reading on the scale results most commonly in using food to self sabotage. "What’s the point, might as well, I'm never going to get there."
It gives a false validation if we have been "good" and a stark discouragement if we have been "bad." It teaches us to attach a morality to our weight, and a heavy sense of value to the ever fluctuating number.
Most women will throw away their healthy habits (even if they were enjoying them!) if they did not see the immediate result on the scale, driving them deeper into an all or nothing mentality and further from their goals.
All= I am losing weight and will be perfect with my health
Nothing= I am not losing weight and will not show up for my health
It causes us to see being social and eating with friends as an obstacle rather than a privilege.
"Ahh! I can't go out with friends tonight because I have a weigh in tomorrow and I need to lose weight!"
Which is interesting , because research of the longest lived cultures on earth show that our social health is one of the most powerful indicators of how long we will live.
You are much more likely to skip the gym, use food as comfort, and not show up for yourself if your willingness is hinged on the scale.
This drives us so much farther from our goals and much further from seeing ourselves and our value clearly.
Distorted view of progress:
Regardless of how you feel, function, or are growing, for some the scale supersedes all measures of progress. There has to be more ways to tell if you are progressing in your health, because your health is not synonymous with your weight.
Here are some tangible ways to see improvements in your health outside of the scale:
no longer bingeing/overeating/restricting.
starting to enjoy and crave healthy foods.
feeling confident. trusting yourself. LIKING yourself.
pants fitting different
getting stronger, more capable physically.
more energy, no crashes.
no PMS/ cramps/headaches.
enjoying exercise, doing it consistently.
starting to journal or get on the same page with your thoughts.
The scale can teach you to see your value as a number, please don't let it.