If there is one thing I think every woman (and more men than will admit) get the most frustrated with while on a diet or while watching what they eat, it’s that dreaded scale.
Picture this: You work SO hard all week. You count every single calorie, every single macro, every single gram of food that enters your mouth. You weigh out the heavy cream that goes into your coffee and the nuts you pack for your mid day snack. You chug that gallon of water daily while also running to the bathroom every twenty minutes. This often leaves you pondering, “how on earth does it take an hour to drink 12 ounces of water but it runs right through you?” You make an effort to get to the gym after a long day of work to exercise when you’d MUCH rather go straight home, slip into your pj’s and binge watch something like Grey’s Anatomy while you mindlessly scroll Instagram.
And then it comes…. Weigh in day.
Now, envision that moment. Think about that very moment you look down at the number on the scale. You’ve done it before and you know it all too well. You have a small flicker of hope as you shift your eyes from the ceiling to the floor and you re-think all of the GOOD things you did the past few days. SURELY you’ll see a new low weigh in, right?
You close your eyes, inhale deeply and shift your focus to the floor. Within an INSTANT your mood (good or bad) is completely determined by what the number blinking back at you reads.
That stupid, mood controlling, day ruining NUMBER.
Let’s run through the possible scenarios, shall we?
YOU LOSE WEIGHT. Whoohooo!!! When the scale does down, you most likely feel a sense of accomplishment, as you should. You’re hard work the past week seems to have paid off. Your dedication seems to have rewarded you. I agree, it is very gratifying seeing weight loss happen after you put in the effort! I will shamelessly be the first to admit, I am one of those people who does a little happy dance when I realize I’ve lost a pound or two! 🙋🏻
YOU MAINTAIN YOUR WEIGHT. Okay…Not terrible. BUT, not what you wanted to see. Your mind wanders to all the things you could have done differently. Did you weigh out absolutely EVERYTHING and was it accurate? Was that piece of chicken you ordered at the restaurant that you input into MyFitnessPal REALLY 4 ounces? Was it REALLY wise of you to have skipped that cardio session after work and head out for a drink with your coworker instead. Hmmm….
YOU GAIN WEIGHT. I can hear you now. AWW HELL NAW. Okay, maybe that’s me I hear coming through with that southern twang again. Oops. But regardless of your choice of words, you INSTANTLY feel some type of way. Usually the feelings that you may experience are as follows: frustration, disappointment, anxiety, sadness, annoyance and sometimes, just down right PISSED OFF.
The moment you see your result, this is the moment MOST people decide how their day will play out. More so, how their mood and actions will be determined for the day. If you see a loss, you’re more likely to keep that good momentum going and stick to plan. If you maintain, it could go either way. Meaning you get annoyed and you slip up a bit OR you begrudgingly keep on trucking. If you see a gain, you get frustrated. You want to give up and sadly, most people do when that is their result. They throw in the towel, not realizing that this sets them back even FARTHER. If you’re anything like me, this result may even trigger you to binge.
I can say I have felt ALL of the emotions listed above. I can also say that I have done all of these things as well. Because of this, I felt compelled to write this very blog in hopes that maybe, just maybe someone WON’T throw in the towel.
I posted the photo below on Instagram and felt like it fit for not only this blog post BUT for what I’ve been dealing with lately as well.
I’m no different than the next person when it comes to allowing the scale to control my emotions and mood for the day. I don’t claim to ever be fully healed of my obsession with the scale. Though my relationship with it has improved, even after losing 100+ pounds, I still feel anxiety every single time I step on it.
The past few weeks of dieting while on my prep, I’ve gotten so frustrated with that number. I’ve been the same exact weight OR I have seen my weight fluctuate UP for a solid two months. Talk about frustrating! All my hard work. All my consistency. All my effort seemingly POINTLESS if the scale the only way I measure progress. But thankfully it’s NOT the ONLY way I track my progress.
You see, the scale is a TOOL. And when you start to recognize that it just ONE measure of progress and not the SOLE way to measure success, things get a (little) easier. There is SO much to take into account when you weigh yourself. Weight is naturally going to fluctuate for various reasons. Just to name a few… How is your water intake? How is your electrolyte balance? Is your calorie intake too high (better yet, could it be too low?) Did you eat late at night? How is your stress levels? How is your sleep quality? If you’re a woman, where are you in your cycle? HAVE YOU POOPED RECENTLY? In all seriousness, if you haven’t had a bowel movement in a few days, OF COURSE your weight will increase.
These are all questions I ask my clients frequently when they report back to me with their weigh ins and feel discouraged. MOST of the time, there is an explanation for an increase in a person’s weight. In addition to these questions, I also remind them that they have to pay attention to how their clothes are fitting, how their measurements are looking and how they are feeling. It’s crucial to understand that there is SO MUCH MORE that goes into weight loss and more importantly FAT LOSS than just what the scales reads.
Moral of the story?
I’m not saying ditch the scale all together contrary to the “SCREW THE SCALE” activists you see on social media. I’ve said that phrase a time or two before BUT I don’t believe in not utilizing it for what it truly is: A MEASUREMENT. A TOOL. It is still a valuable tool to use when on a weight loss journey. It’s a tool that should be used carefully and one that absolutlety should NOT impact your mood, your thoughts, your feelings or how you view yourself.
There is no easy way to break the emotional connection with the scale but it takes work. Daily, weekly, monthly. However often you weigh, remind yourself that the scale does not define you. That number blinking up at you from below your feet is just that…a number.
YOU are worth much more than a number. Believe that.