I really have absolutely no idea how much I weigh, which is crazy for me to think about, considering I spent YEARS of my life weighing myself daily and obsessing about the number I saw on the scale.
The scale and I broke up a long time ago, and it was the best breakup ever.
That’s why “throw away your scale” is one of the first homework assignments I give to my clients.
I know what you’re probably thinking…BUTTTT:
“How will I know if I lose weight??”
“How will I know if I’m on the right track??”
“How am I going to stay accountable??”
“How will I know if I should feel good or crappy about myself that day??” (ok, I added this last one…but it’s dead on!)
So why on earth would I recommend throwing away your scale when doctors everywhere weigh people every time they see them? You’ll have to keep reading 🙂
We live in a world where we expect a concrete measurement of ‘success’ in all areas of our life. We feel like we need some form of scoring to tell us that we are succeeding. For example, in school getting A’s on your report card = smart, good student.
Many women apply that concept to their health and weight as well (thanks to the weight loss & dieting industry), and think there are certain measurements for success they need to reach, like:
- being a certain size
- weighing a certain number
- eating less than xx calories
- having xx% body fat
- completing xx workouts a week or getting in xx steps per day
- exercising for xx length of time
- avoiding eating certain foods/groups (i.e. carbs, sugar, fat)
The scale just tells the numerical value of your gravitational pull, which sounds innocent, and kind of strange why we’d care what that number was when you think about it. The scale doesn’t tell you body composition (your fat to muscle ratio…1 pound of fat weighs the same as 1 pound of muscle, a pound is a pound!) or anything else.
But so many people get SO caught up in this number consciously and subconsciously, and let that number dictate their actions, how they feel, and control their self-image/confidence.
The number you see fuels that little voice in the back of your head that tells you you’re fat or not worthy, and tells you nothing about how beautiful and healthy you are.
And guess what!! A lower number does NOT necessarily mean greater health. Especially if a lower number comes with obsessive calorie counting, constant food anxiety, negative self talk, binge eating, restricting, pushing our bodies too hard at the gym, and not being able to enjoy our lives because we’re always trying to reach that lower number.
When I used to weight myself, if I stepped on the scale and saw a number higher than what I was hoping for, I’d get super discouraged and it would drive me to make bad decisions to cope (emotionally eat). I’d tell myself “well you’re already fat may as well eat the whole sleeve of cookies!”
BUT if I stepped on the scale and saw a number lower than what I was hoping for, I’d be excited and happy, and considered it a free pass to eat whatever I wanted…and I’d end up overdoing it in the end.
Regardless of the number I saw, I’d end up stuffing my face with not-so-nutritious foods either that way or soon after.
When body image defines success, it usually means your self-esteem and happiness are tied to your weight. You measure your self-esteem against your food and fitness (I went to spin class = I am good. I ate a bowl of brownie batter for dinner = I am bad.) and that can derail you even faster, sending you into a self-sabotaging spiral.
Also, think about that target number on the scale you’re looking to hit. Where did that number come from? Maybe your past – but were you really healthy and living the life you loved back then? Maybe something someone like a trainer or doctor told you – but how would they know what your unique body should weigh? How do you know how much of that number is excess fat vs. body fat your body is supposed to have at its natural state or muscle?
Ask yourself too why weighing a different number will improve in your life? Think about what you think it will give you and do for you. Once you know that, instead of focusing so hard on moving the scale, what can you do to feel that way and do those things NOW?
For most people it’s happy. They’ll be happier if they weight less. How can you work on being happier NOW?
Your body is going to do what it’s going to do to get your weight where it should be naturally. You can’t control all the variables that dictate your weight, so why spend all your time and energy fighting against it?
Pull that number on the scale out of the equation, and start tuning into how your body feels…and how YOU feel mentally.
Instead of waking up and weighing yourself, wake up and ask yourself how you want to feel that day. Maybe you want a lot of energy because you have a busy day at work. What can you do to set yourself up for having success with that? Will eating a hearty breakfast help give you good energy? Will spending some time exercising help give you good energy? Will packing a nutritious lunch give you good energy? Will making a to-do list ease some stress and help give you good energy? You get the point 🙂
You’ll be surprised when you naturally start making decisions that get you closer to where you want to be.
It’s amazing the change in results people see when they let this piece of machinery go. Allow yourself to focus on how you really feel, rather than letting a scale tell you how you should feel.