For the past 25 years, I have watched trends come and go in the fitness industry and the one thing that remains the same, is the need to constantly weigh ourselves. Somehow that magic number in some people’s mind when they get on the scale and see it, it’s going to make them happy forever. Why does that number have so much power over people?
I have witnessed it all. From people weighing themselves after each workout to see if they dropped 1-2 lbs afterwards as an incentive to keep going to lose more, or complain to me that their weight was going up even though their clothes were becoming looser. Despite people’s efforts, many find it difficult to take their eyes off of the scale and use that number as a tool of health success.
I’m here to give you permission to DITCH THE SCALE! It doesn’t matter how you get rid of it, give it to a friend, donate it, put it in storage (far, far away), just as long as you throw it away TODAY! So, here are four reasons to toss out the scale for good.
- The scale forgets to mention health.
Decreasing your weight may get you skinnier and there are many ways to do that but it fails to mention if you’re going in the right direction of obtaining a healthy body. It’s important to be a healthy weight but it’s more important of HOW you get there. Counting calories while still eating foods that provide us with no nourishment, along with spending hours in the gym to burn them, will initially lose the calories but it won’t stick. This is why you see people get on the yo-yo weight loss cycle and eventually give up trying to lose weight. The whole concept of calories in equals calories expended is no longer a valid concept. The number on the scale tells you nothing about the food that is being placed in your body. It doesn’t educate you about your relationship with hormones, your digestive health, your sleep patterns, or even your energy levels. It also doesn’t mention that your symptoms or medical conditions have greatly improved or dissipated and you are able to ditch the medications you have been on for years. This is a sign of great health and a number will not always provide this information.
- The number on the scale fluctuates.
The amount of food and liquid we consume over the course of the day, activity levels, dietary choices, can all affect the number on the scale and can change from morning to evening. There is nothing wrong with tracking your weight for progress (every few months or even once at year with your doctor) but using it every day or week can only cloud your judgement on what really matters. Weighing yourself on a daily basis tells you nothing about the big picture.
We all like to see progress and weighing ourselves in moderation can help, but there are other, more positive ways, to track our goals. For instance, did you know that you can still reduce your body fat levels and gain weight at the same time? I think we can all agree that our ultimate goal when losing weight is to lose body fat. However, don’t get stuck on the body fat measurements and the numbers behind it and again, use them as a tool for progress every 6 months to a year if that’s important to you.
There might be times if you are working out that you see the number on the scale remain the same but you see a difference in how your clothes fit. How is this possible? You are decreasing your body fat levels while increasing lean muscle tissue. This is a good thing and you’re moving in the right direction if you are also practicing all the other fundamentals of health stated below. If you are a female, you know that our monthly cycles can affect our weight in a small way. We have little control over this. Embrace the fact that each month our bodies go through this and it’s just part of nature.
- The scale controls your mindset
If there was ever a reason to ditch your scale it would be for this reason. It’s so unhealthy to allow a number to determine your value or the worth of your self-image. Using the scale on a daily basis can control or determine if you have a good or bad day. A tiny, insignificant number can have that much affect on you that you start to self-loath and feel insignificant. What you are attached to, you carry with you. If your happiness is attached to what the scale is going to say, you are not allowing yourself to be free from it.
Imagine how liberating it can be to not be attached to a number and to learn how to get back a healthy sense of self-worth. Using measurements like daily energy, performance, strength gain and feeling great, determine how you should feel about your body instead. Gift yourself with a body that will serve you a long, healthy life. Healthy is the new skinny.
- You associate the scale with food.
Food plays a large role in our weight loss journey. In fact, it’s the most determining factor when it comes to losing the pounds. Exercise plays a role as well and maybe it you ate less and increased your activity level or exercised differently, the weight would go down. There is no truth to this. Read my blog post on ‘Exercise for Health, Not Weight Loss’ to get a better understanding of how our bodies work in burning calories. Other factors like sleep habits, stress levels, exercise recovery, mindset, and support can affect the number on the scale. However, many think little about these factors. They all play a role in the number we see on the scale.
Food should be about the TYPE and not so much about the AMOUNT of food. I see people weigh out their food most days along with looking at the total calories of food that is posted on a processed food package. The misguided information on these packages is one of the reasons why people find it challenging to drop the weight. The more of these foods you consume, the less vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you will receive. To make up for the loss of nutrients in processed foods, synthetic nutrients are added to compensate for what is lost during the refinement process. These synthetic nutrients are not good replacements for what you can find naturally in whole foods.
Fiber is essential in our daily diet and a large percentage of the population is deficient in fiber. Why? When foods go through the refinement process, most often the fiber is removed or lost. Whole foods naturally contain fiber which help us treat constipation and help feed our intestine with friendly bacteria otherwise known as probiotics. As you consume more whole foods, your body will not only feel better but the weight will start to drop off. To learn more about food and how it affects our weight, read my blog post on ‘Weight Loss Myths – The Truth Behind Why You Are Not Losing Weight.’
The sooner you ditch the idea of what the scale represents if you’re using it as the ultimate measurement of success, the healthier and happier you’ll be. Learn to let it go……
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well
Your Compassionate Coach,