I hear this question often. Shall I weigh myself everyday? Does that help me maintain my weight? I ask back: what does the scale tell you?
We often think of the scale on the bathroom floor as the verdict. We get on it, and here is the truth. The truth about...? -What actually? For most it is the scale of judgment; “have I been good or bad, succeeded in losing weight or not. But it is very deceiving. I sometimes get on it and I might be surprised too, but not because of the number on it telling me what I weigh, but rather that number tells me if the foods I have eaten are working for me or against me. I know from my clothes and how I feel in general if I am losing or gaining weight, so the weight is really telling me if my body is functioning or not. If I feed it right for my needs.
We need to question if the scale of health is really what is there on the bathroom floor staring back at us–or if it is the internal one by which we check in with how we feel, and if that is how we measure our health. These are two very different ways of weighing in on what is going on with your body.
I know we are a society completely focused on weight. Many, many, many, people struggle with the numbers on the scale every day, and clients come to me expecting one in my office. There isn’t one. You can wonder why, but I don’t believe the number on the scale is the focus that helps us get healthy.
WE CAN LOSE WEIGHT AND NOT GAIN AN OUNCE OF HEALTH
I believe we each need our individual relationship to our scale as an instrument of information. I certainly do not want to be using it to measure the progress of my clients since that number is nothing but a number. How we use the information is very important in how we see ourselves. A scale is a measure of relativity.
See this is a very normal scenario; I got up this morning and I gained 2 lb overnight. Wow. Wait a minute. Those 2 lbs must be someone else’s! I just spent one month losing 4! What is wrong with this picture? The scale is!
The scale gives us a number that we cannot trust our health with that much. Sure it tells us our weight in a given moment. But it does not tell us our size since muscles weigh more that fat. Nor does it tell me how I feel physically or give me my measure of well-being.
I do use my scale from time to time, even though I’m not sure it is actually correct because it is probably about as old as me. Which means 51 for those who might wonder. It is more a relative check-in, than an actual measure for me. I do think the scale can help us know if we are going in the right direction, but it is a bit like the stock-market. It can go up and down any given week, but it has an overall direction... up or down.
If the scale holds too much power, it also holds the mood for the day, the level of self-esteem, and especially a judgment that we will never win. If we put too much value on the number on the scale we can end up feeling horrible about ourselves and with that comes emotional eating, which tends to squeeze that number on the scale going in the “wrong” direction.
Unfortunately reality is that it is so much easier to gain weight than to lose. 1 lb per week is a good average weight-loss, but many have heard of these miracle cures where you drop a lot of weight in a few weeks. We are not talking about the same matter of weight though. Water weight and false fat certainly holds pounds and size but the weight that creeps up on you over time is the fat that slowly builds up both in your body as fatty tissue, but also on your body. That is what affects our health over time and it is also what takes more time and effort to get rid of. This is often why we hit that bump in the road of weight-loss. Once the initial easy “false fat” comes off, it is time to get into the nitty gritty and by then most lose the motivation because the progress slows down, and it takes more effort to keep it going.
Consistency is the one must for long-term weight-loss, which basically means not a diet but a life-and food-style change.
So the true scale is the one by which you measure your progress of making continuous and consistent healthy choices, more and more often. And then the true size is the one you feel best at. That does not have a number. It has a sound. Ahhhhhh. I feel goooodddd.