Before you read this entire post I want to start off saying that I do believe a scale can be an integral part of a weight-loss plan. I know the satisfaction of seeing hard work pay off with tangible evidence like a number on the scale can often be enough to keep the new dieter motivated. It can also act as an invaluable tool in helping you learn what eating habits or exercises do and do not work for your particular body. However, sometimes the scale can go from being a weight-loss ally to a self-esteem enemy. It’s hard to know when that line has been crossed, and it is really up to the individual to determine. However, there are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you understand your personal scale situation.
Do you have a love/hate relationship with your scale??
- Does the tone of your day get determined by the amount that you weigh?
- Do you go to unhealthy lengths in order to see even the slightest decrease in weight?
- Do you weigh yourself more than once a week? More than once a day?
- Do you think that weight is the only indicator of a healthy lifestyle?
- Do you let an increase in your weight (even a very small one) discourage and derail you from your current diet/exercise pursuits?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might have an unhealthy relationship with your scale and should maybe even consider getting rid of it (or at least hiding it somewhere). The most important thing to understand when starting a weight-loss program/diet/new workout program is that weight is NOT the only (or even best) indicator for good health. See this article for reasons that your weight fluctuates on a day-to-day basis.
I have recently decided to do a ban on the scale. Honestly, since I lost 50lbs over a year ago I have stayed at pretty much the same weight. My weight has fluctuated 3lbs on either side of my “usual” number depending on how much I’m eating, drinking, working out, etcetera. But other than that, it is the same day in and day out. I have decided that for my own sanity and as a self-esteem building exercise, I am putting away the scale and I won’t weigh myself for 1 month (and maybe even longer depending on how I feel). After over a year of keeping off 50lbs and sometimes trying to lose a few more (most of the time I don’t care, but every once in a while I want to get rid of those “last 5lbs”), I have learned that this weight is really where my body is happy and comfortable. You shouldn’t have to workout excessively or live on a diet that doesn’t provide adequate nutrition in order to hit your “goal weight.” You may have to come to terms with the fact that your body’s happy weight is 5 or 10 pounds over your personal happy weight. Your body is smart, it knows where it needs to be for balance and optimal health.
That being said, I’m not using this time as an excuse to eat or do whatever I want because I won’t have the scale for accountability. I will continue to eat healthy and clean foods and follow my new training plan, but for the first time in a while I won’t care how my weight is effected by my healthy lifestyle. I have learned to listen to my body and really know what it needs whether it’s more or less exercise, food, water, relaxation, or whatever.
Putting the scale away and not relying on it for a self-esteem boost – or as an unhappy reminder that I’ve had one too many cookies lately – is something that I decided to do out of the blue on Monday and must say….I already feel 10lbs lighter (figuratively speaking, of course).