Do you have a love hate relationship with your scales? Are you scared to step on them yet feel this urge to, just to check you haven't got fat overnight and just in case they give you the right answer?
More often than not, scales punish us. Because they rarely tell us what we want to see. They bring disappointment, frustration and feelings we are not worthy.
I've been there you see. Every week and at one point, every morning (with a few checks during the day, you know, just in case), being ruled by the number.
I did the pre-wee-post-wee/poo-weigh-in, holding my breath, leaning to the left where the spring bent more to give me the smallest number. It became a ritual.
I also spent much of my academic life preaching about the benefits of weight loss. Even I would dread the sessions when we would ask the students to weigh themselves (teaching them assessment and consultation skills).
The insecurities it raised and the conversations around promoting weight loss in clients always made me feel uncomfortable.I knew it didn't feel right.
And then I woke up. When I was able to see the wood for the trees. Because I revisited much of the literature and evidence about weight loss and had a massive light bulb moment. I realised it was all wrong! I felt cheated by the system and that was when I decided to study intuitive eating, mindful eating and shift my focus to health behaviours rather than weight.
Now you may have never succumbed to society's pressure to be thin, in which case, please feel free to check your weight on occasion.
Perhaps you're one of the 5% of people who has lost weight through dieting and kept it off more than five years. In this case, studies show weighing yourself regularly will help you maintain your weight loss.
But for everyone else, I urge you to step off the scale, consider your relationship with it....then throw the damn thing in the bin! And here's why.....
- The number does not tell you anything about your health habits - you could be the 'recommended weight for your height' [another story] but have a shit diet, drink too much, sleep too little and are stressed to the hilt. And yes you can be fat, eat what nourishes you, run, dance and be healthy!
- The number will change A LOT. During the course of a day, your weight will vary by as much as half a stone (or a couple of Kilos in new money). This does not mean you have gained a few pounds of fat since you woke up! Most likely it's water, you will have eaten (I hope) and hormones will definitely play a big part. But because society pushes thinness and weighing less = better (it's NOT btw!), we are brainwashed into thinking this number is the be all and end all. The reality is it just messes with your head.
- The scales don't tell you how far you've come. It's one moment, of one day, of one year. They don't tell you anything about your battles, lessons or victories. They don't tell you anything about who you are as a person; your unique qualities and personality. They are meaningless.
- They can't possibly tell you how hungry or full you are. Yet they certainly seem to influence how much we allow ourselves to eat. If you weigh more than expected, it brings a shed load of disappointment. As a consequence, we are likely to choose eating less and exercising more as a punishment. I use this word because that's what happens. We feel we've let ourselves down, we've not worked hard enough or been good enough, so get yourself together woman and do something! Conversely, if the scales show we've lost weight, we feel excited, suddenly realise we are starving and end up eating our way back up again. Relying on scales means you never win. You never get to connect with your body or food in a meaningful way; scales stop us from listening to our body and respecting it.
- They take up way too much head space. Since I ditched the scales, I have more energy, I’m less obsessive, moody, and I can THINK! These things are worth more to me than any number. I get that it may feel a scary thing to do but just imagine the freedom you could feel too