This may be one of the worst ways to start your day!
I want you to vision this.
Your morning alarm goes off, you get up and walk to the bathroom half-awake. You go to the bathroom, undress yourself down to minimal or no clothes, and finally step on the scale for your (often times, dreaded) daily weigh-in. Your only hope is that the number on the scale is less than it was yesterday. You take a deep breath, exhale everything out and lightly step on the scale. You close your eyes, wait a few moments, open your eyes and see that the number flashing back at you is 1 pound less than it was yesterday. You lost 1 pound! You’re instantly thrilled, you’re excited, you feel motivated, you feel happy…today is going to be a great day!! Life is good!
Now vision this.
The very next morning you follow this exact same routine…..but this time your weight is 1.2 pounds heavier than yesterday. Wait, WHAT?! You think to yourself, “How could this be? I’ve been working so hard. I’ve been staying on track. I ate perfectly yesterday, what’s going on?” You instantly feel discouraged, unmotivated, depressed, anxious, frustrated, upset with yourself and just plain angry. You have thoughts of giving up on the whole ‘weight loss’, ‘healthy lifestyle’ thing and sadly you just want to crawl back into bed. As a result, the rest of your day is affected be these thoughts and possibly ruined.
Can you relate?
I can, I know exactly how this feels, I’ve been there. It’s something I’ve struggled with and it’s something I want to help you with, if you too can relate to these scenarios. Being a victim of the scale (I don’t like using this word but no other word seems appropriate) just plain sucks – it can suck the joy right out of you in a matter of seconds.
Starting our day based on a measurement created by the pull of gravity on your bodily mass just isn’t worth it. Why do we put ourselves through this? Why do we let a hunk of plastic determine our mood, our self-worth, our self-confidence, our progress, our currents state of mind? Let’s put an end to this!!
Note: I know some of you may not relate to this post and are able to weigh yourself without it triggering negative feelings and that’s great and makes me happy! Keep doing what you’re doing….but also keep reading because you just might learn a few tidbits and tips that will help you become more in-tune with your body.
- It has the power to set your mood for the day and create mental and physical stress…..as if you need more of that! My number one reason why you should break-up with the scale is the fact that it has potential to have such a significant impact on your mood. It’s crazy to think that a number can alter your mood in a matter seconds and can create instant negative (or positive) thoughts. These negative feelings can lead to mental stress and stress, as we know, is extremely taxing on the body and can greatly prolong the time it takes to achieve optimal health. And did you know that mental stress caused by negative thoughts can create inflammation in the body? Damn, the mind-body connection is powerful! Tip: Ask you husband, partner, sibling, friend or parent to get rid of the scale or take a hammer to it….seriously, don’t let that number determine if you’re going to have a good day or a bad day, if you’re going to be happy or sad.
- Your self-worth is taking a toll! The scale has NO place in determining your self-worth. Having a goal weight in mind is definitely motivating but don’t let that become a primary determinant of your worth and self-acceptance. It’s just a number. Eliminate any self-talk that goes something like this…”when I get to this weight, I’ll feel good or I’ll feel healthy or I’ll be happy.” My friend, you are so much more than that number on the scale. As I write this post, I feel anxious, because I can relate. I want you to say this aloud and repeat it as many times as you need to. “I am more than the number on the scale”. Tip: start each day off with a positive ‘I am’ statement. Example being, ‘I am healthy,’ ‘I am beautiful,’ and ‘I accept and love myself for who I am in this very moment.’ The Five Minute Journal is the journal I’m currently using and includes writing down each morning what you’re grateful for as well as an ‘I am’ statement. It’s a perfect way to start the day! P.S. there is also an app for this journal if you’d rather use that over the book.
- It can hinder your ability to truly listen to your body. Daily weigh-ins can really get into your head. Like, really! For example, you wake-up feeling energized, feeling good, feeling light, thinking it’s going to be a great day BUT then….you step on the scale for your daily weigh-in and it reads heavier than you thought it would, or than you’d like it to. You instantly feel ‘fluffy’ and ‘blah’ and no longer energized. You just allowed the scale to determine how you physically feel and this is exactly why the scale hinders your ability to listen to your body’s true signals. Tip: instead of the scale impacting how you feel, let your intuition determine that. When you wake-up in the morning, take note as to how energized you are, how your mood is and simply how you feel.
- It has the potential to create an unhealthy obsession around food. Obsessing about the number on the scale can lead to disordered eating tendencies or an unhealthy obsession and relationship with food. As we know, nutrition intake does impact weight, however the scale and what you weigh has no place in determining if you’re hungry of if you’re not. Eliminating daily weigh-ins and the scale all together, allows you to learn your body’s signals and simply focus on the task of nourishing your body with wholesome foods that make you feel good. To eat when you’re hungry and to stop when you’re satisfied. This is known as eating intuitively or intuitive eating. Tip: focus on your body’s signals and always think of food purely as nourishment and fuel for your body because well…that’s what it is! Food is more than a substance that affects the number on the scale or your weight loss results. Before each meal, ask yourself “How is the food that I’m about to eat going to nourish my body from the inside out?”
- Your overall results are masked by the scale. Last, but certainly not least, the most straightforward reason to break-up with your scale is that it’s not the best indicator of results. While you most likely know a weight range you feel best at, it’s important to know that body composition makes an incredible impact on the scale. You’ve heard time and time again that muscle weight more than fat and I’m tellin’ ya, it’s kinda true; so believe it. It’s because muscle is greater in density when compared with body fat. So if you’ve started a new workout regimen, you must take that into consideration. Also, fluid fluctuations within the body will impact the weight changes and this happens daily and can be caused by a several reasons including current hydration, change in diet, digestion, recent workout, and hormones (that time of the month ladies). Fluid shifts can account for up to 2-4 pounds in a single day. Tip: Instead of daily weigh-ins and focusing on weight loss as your primary goal, I recommend measuring your progress by how your clothes fit, taking measurements, or again, by how you feel. A daily journal is a great way to track your progress and in your journal you can include the answers to these questions.
- How’s your energy at different times during the day?
- How are you sleeping at night?
- How’s your ability to think clear?
- How’s your mood?
- How’s your digestion?
- How’s your skin?
- How do certain foods and meals make you feel?
When assessing your progress toward achieving optimal health, the answers to these questions are far more important than basing your results off of your current weight.
Okay! So are you ready to ditch the scale?!
If this makes you nervous, I have a little challenge for you. How about giving it a try with a 30-day hiatus!? That’s right, absolutely no weighing yourself for the 30-days. During this time, really focus on how you feel and use this challenge as an opportunity to become more in-tune with your body’s signals and learn to listen to what your body really needs as well as focus on nourishing it with wholesome and real foods. At the end of the 30 days, my hope is that you discover that life without a scale is so.much.better! For your mind, for your body, and for your soul! Or maybe you discover that a monthly weigh-in is all you really need as a way to stay accountable to your health goals. In the end it’s what works for you and makes you feel the most happy and healthy!Life without a scale is so.much.better! For your mind, for your body, and for your soul! Click To Tweet
What are your thoughts on the scale?
Stacie is Registered Dietitian from Minnesota, focusing on holistic health and wellness. She’s on a mission to help others live a healthier and happier life from the inside out. You will not find Stacie recommending calorie restriction or counting but rather encourage focusing on nourishing the body with wholesome and real foods in a balanced manner. Learn more about Stacie here and follow her journey on Instagram @staciehassing.dietitian.