I need to get some weight off my shoulders. I feel adamantly about this topic and I verbalize it all the time to friends, family, clients, and even unwilling strangers. It’s time to get this message out to the world in writing. It may be one you have heard before but I feel it is my duty as a health, fitness and overall WELLNESS enthusiast to preach this until I’m blue in the face. I share this not in a critical or condescending manner but from a place of genuine concern and confusion.
Let’s talk about the scale. The scale is like this crazy dictator who is ruling millions of people and doesn’t even know how he got into power. For some people the scale is their worst enemy, yet they continue to hang out with him time and time again. Let’s start with a few questions to get you thinking and being honest with yourself about your relationship with the scale. I want you to answer these in your head or if you’re up for it write the answers down. Dig deeper to find these answers.
How often do you weigh yourself? Why do you choose to weigh yourself? How often does the number you see make you feel good about yourself? How often does your dog, children or loved ones ask you how much you weigh? How many times have you stepped on the scale and felt let down? Embarrassed? Angry? Depressed? Defeated? Upset? Why does it matter the number of pounds you weigh? Who does it matter TO? How do you feel when you don’t know how much you weigh? What does your weight have to do with your overall happiness or satisfaction with your body?
My guess is that your relationship with the scale is not a positive one. What do you know about negative, time-consuming relationships where you give more than they do? You are taught to leave those relationships. You leave people that make you feel unworthy, unloved and inadequate. So, why do you hold onto your negative relationship with the scale?
The reasons I typically hear:
I want to measure my progress.
You can measure your progress in a multitude of positive ways better than a number on a scale. Just because you lose 5 pounds does NOT mean you are healthier. If you starve yourself for 3 days to do it, the scale is giving you a completely inaccurate measure of progress. Why don’t you try progress photos? Noticing a difference in how your clothes fit? Can you do more push-ups or lift heavier weights? Did you choose a salad when you could have had a burger? Did you look in the mirror and speak to yourself with love? Did you check yourself out in the reflection of a window, a car or a mirror, and think damn.. I’m getting somewhere! Do you FEEL better? More energy? Less bloated? Progress has nothing to do with the amount of pounds we weigh and everything to do with becoming happier in our own skin.
I just want to get under “xyz” weight and then I’ll be happy.
If you aren’t happy at this weight I doubt losing it and reaching your “magic weight” is going to make you happy either. If you don’t love yourself at 200 pounds you won’t love yourself at 115. I am all for becoming healthier, happier, and stronger but no place in that equation are there numbers and pounds. Weight fluctuates DAILY based on our hormones, water retention, what time of the month it is, stress, food allergies or reactions and just LIFE. If you weigh 3 pounds more than you did yesterday, it probably means… WAIT WHY ARE YOU WEIGHING YOURSELF TWO DAYS IN A ROW? Numbers cannot bring you happiness or satisfaction and even if you reach a “goal weight” YOU WILL NOT STAY THERE FOREVER. That is not a good or a bad thing. It’s not a diss. It’s simply a fact. Weight fluctuates and it will continue to fluctuate for the rest of your life.
I want to be at a healthy weight.
This is a good concept. I like this concept. Except an arbitrary number on a scale does not tell us how the person achieved those “healthy” goals. Sure, you may weigh less than someone else but you smoke a pack a day, drink 4 times a week, eat fast food for every meal, and haven’t done physical activity on purpose in years. I would much rather weigh 140 pounds and be exercising 6 times a week, fueling my body with whole foods, limiting my alcohol intake and drinking enough water to drown a fish. There is no such thing as a “healthy” weight. Sure you can calculate your weight, height, age, gender, etc. but still none of that accounts for HOW you reached that weight in the first place. We have enough technology, information, fitness and nutrition professionals and PASSIONATE people in this world that can help you find ways to track your progress that has nothing to do with pounds.
I don’t care about the number on the scale. (Me “When did you last weigh yourself?”) Last night….
MY FAVORITE! Don’t tell me you don’t care about the number and then weigh yourself every chance you get. Let me tell you a little secret that is applicable to all areas of life; when we don’t care about something we don’t do it. We pay it no attention. You can’t say you don’t care about the scale and then weigh yourself once a week. It doesn’t add up. And the worst part is you’re probably hindering your progress by the negative self talk you are letting seep into your head based on this little number(that you don’t care about) that just needs to go back down 3 pounds and you’ll be happy. So you do care?
So, what is the solution? I know it sounds simple, and you probably won’t like it-but just hear me out.
Don’t weigh yourself. Don’t start in your head… “but Susie… I don’t care about my weight I’m not like one of THOSE girls.” I hate to break it to you but you are. Not by your wrong doing, but by the expectations of our society and our culture. Don’t purchase a scale. Don’t step on one. If you have to at the doctors, don’t look at the number. If you are thinking but I can’t do THAT! WHY NOT!?
I haven’t stepped on a scale on purpose in years. What is the point? I know when I have eaten too many donuts or had a cheat day turn into a cheat week and my clothes feel tight. I know when I’ve killed it at the gym and eat clean all week and I feel amazing. The amount of pounds I weigh has nothing to do with the way I am treating my body. I know I surely weighed less in college but I was drinking like a sorority girl at WVU, living off coffee and tiny meals and doing cardio 6-7 times per week. I wasn’t healthy. Now, I’m not sure how much I weigh but I know I wake up in the morning with energy, I can bust out more pushups than I ever have in my life and I can even do 2 pullups! I feel strong and satisfied with my body because I work hard for it and I treat it with a tender discipline. I love my body but I also make it WORK. Do I always feel good about my body? Of course not. But I absolutely will not let a meaningless number on a machine determine any of my confidence or self love. I’m not saying you can’t have a healthy relationship with the scale, but if you do, please prove me wrong because I have never met someone like that in real life.
For most people, this will not be a one time quick fix. If you weigh yourself everyday, I doubt you will read this and throw away your scale. But if you do weigh yourself everyday, why don’t you cut back to once a week? If it’s already once a week, why not once a month? If you claim to “not care” what the scale says, then put your money where your mouth is and stop weighing yourself all together. Because at the end of the day we only need things in life that lift us higher. If you can sincerely tell me that your relationship with the scale is a positive one, BRAVO you make up about .000000007 % (I made that up, but you catch my drift) of the human population.
Say goodbye to relationships that don’t deserve your time, including the pesky square headed dictator that hibernates in your bathroom. I am not writing this to make you feel guilty or bad about being obsessed with the scale, I am writing this to show you that it isn’t the way it has to be. I am absolutely in LOVE with growing stronger and being as healthy as I can be. I am also in love with helping people do the same. I am not here to preach, I am here to plead you to see the light, because being FREE to love yourself FULLY (whether you went to hot yoga and ate chicken and broccoli for dinner or you started drinking champagne at 9 am and ate four…teen slices of pizza) is the best freedom in the world. I own my cheat days. I savor those donuts. I drink the shit out of some wine. I will probably feel bloated that night, but then I wake up and I start over.
Being healthy is about so much more than what we eat, how often we exercise and how many pounds our physical body weighs; being healthy is a choice to treat yourself with the love and respect you would treat your very best friend or your grandma. Tender discipline. Being healthy is looking in the mirror and liking what you see, not because you have muscles and toned arms but because you work hard on yourself day in and day out and you know no matter what life throws your way-you will always be your number one fan. Let me know when you find a scale that can measure that, and I’ll be the first to buy it. Step off the scale and step into freedom. Feel that weight off your shoulders? It’s infinitely more pleasant on the other side.