It might sound crazy, but if you want to become healthier, or even lose weight, you may want to think about putting away your scale.
I get it. I used to weigh myself, as well as my clients. But no more, my friends, no more.
I feel you. You started a new routine. You want to weigh yourself every day. Maybe twice a day. Maybe more. That number starts to reflect the way you feel about yourself. It becomes all-powerful. I don’t need to tell you that this can lead to a lot of frustration, and can ultimately sabotage your progress.
Now I know all you people on weight-based diet programs are shaking your heads.
Your program is based on weighing yourselves. BUT. Remember that programs and diets like that are trying to sell you something, and ultimately want you to be a lifetime member.
Something my instructor in the Healthy Eating Coaching course told me really resonated with me. She basically said, we’re successful if our healthy eating clients finish with us and never see us again. Yep.
My ideal client, after seeing me for lifestyle counselling, “graduates,” having learned how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on their own. They fly the coop and don’t need me anymore.
So, back to the scale. Why am I so anti-scale?
Well, for one thing, it can be inconsistent. You will get a different number depending on which time of day you weigh yourself. People generally weigh less in the morning, and weight, for women, can fluctuate depending on where you are in your cycle. If you drink more water you may weigh more. Let’s remember that water is, you know, necessary for life!
Here are some things your scale CAN’T tell you:
- The scale doesn’t reflect positively on a change in lean muscle tissue. If you’ve started a workout program, you may be gaining muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. So the number on the scale may go up, even though you’re getting smaller and healthier. You don’t need that kind of mind game messing with your on your journey to better health.
- The scale doesn’t reflect how strong you may have become. If you can do 10 pushups today, and could only do 5 push-ups 3 weeks ago, that’s a huge win! You may have gained some lean muscle in the process. Is your scale going to congratulate you on this win? No! It’s likely going to tell you that your number has increased. Screw you, scale!
- You can now do 20 jumping jacks without getting winded. Woot! Your cardiovascular ability has improved! Is the number on the scale going to reflect that in any way? Probably not.
- You have more energy and feel a new lightness and sense of joy. Will your scale celebrate this mental breakthrough? Probably not. It’s made of plastic and metal, people.
And another thing.
Are you enjoying all this weighing, number checking and calorie counting?
Is this fun for you?
It does not sound like a good time to me. At the end of the day (not to get all philosophical, deepest apologies), we only live once and we really ought to enjoy our time here.
Eating can be very pleasurable, even healthy eating (I think especially healthy eating), but constantly stressing about how many calories and points your food is worth kinda sucks allllllllllll the fun out of eating, don’tcha think?
So, what to do?
Well, instead of the scale, a better way to track your measurement is measuring how many inches you’ve lost, with a handy old measuring tape. And I don’t recommend doing this every day unless you want to drive yourself insane. Every 3 weeks is enough.
You can also just use the tried and true method of picking an item of clothing as your “goal piece”. Try it on. Again, not every day, but maybe every 3 weeks. Does it fit?
Test your fitness levels. Can you do 10 squats without feeling like your legs will turn to jelly? Great! You’re becoming healthier. Now try for 20!
Can you do a burpee without feeling like you’re going to collapse on the spot? Getting healthy is hard work. If you’re not doing any work… ah, you know what I’m going to say… you won’t see any results!!!
In terms of how to approach food, it’s too much to get into here, but I will say that rather than counting calories, just go focus on the QUALITY of the food you are eating.
I’ve been told by Weight Watchers participants that they can’t eat certain, whole, healthy foods because they have too many “points.” Yet they can eat a Weight Watchers approved processed cookie or cake.
Whaaaaaaaa? That’s a major clue that healthy living is not the absolute goal here! Whole, unprocessed, natural state foods are always the best choice.
Another focus is how much you are eating, but I don’t mean in terms of counting calories.
I just mean serving size, and more importantly, listening to your body’s cues.
Are you hungry? No. Don’t eat. Is half your plate filled with veggies? No? Switch up the way you’re organizing your meals.
I’m not trying to make this sound easy.
I know it’s not easy to make these changes on your own. Thats why I help guide clients through this process. What I am saying, however, is that you don’t need to be tied to a diet program or a scale for life.
You are more than the number on your scale and you can achieve more than the number can reflect.
Let the scale go for a long walk off a short pier and let’s move toward a more holistic approach to good health.