When is the last time you weighed yourself? How often do you weigh yourself? Depending on how you answer these questions, some of you may weigh yourself a lot more than you realize. Do any of you weigh yourself every day or a few times a day? I used to be someone who did that. It crept up on me but then hit me like a ton of bricks–weighing myself was really only changing my mood. If I liked the number I was happy, if I didn’t like the number my day was completely ruined. You could have told me I won a million dollars and I still would have been sad if I didn’t like the number on the scale. The number I weighed controlled my life. It didn’t matter if I told myself the fact that muscle weighs more than fat, if the number was up, my depression was up! I would say that one of the best days in my life was when I ditched the scale. I have no idea how much I weight today. I have a rough estimate but it is only a ballpark guess. Instead, I pay attention to how my clothes fit, how my attitude is and the rest falls in line. I have also learned to not be too hard on myself and it makes my attitude a million times better.
So when I saw this article by Self, it really made a lot of sense to me. It was a bit emotional for me to read but really they were all happy tears. I hope it can help you before the scale turns into your enemy.
Read on for Self’s – 6 Things I Learned When I Stopped Weighing Myself and Started Caring for Myself.
Diets. Don’t. Work.
“Sadly, statistics show that the diet industry is worth over $60 billion yet only 5 percent of dieters lose their goal weight and keep it off for five or more years. There is no other industry in the world that fails so many people while thriving so economically. Don’t get hooked into this cycle, believe me, get out now and kick the scale to the curb!
Success is not measured in pounds, and the scale hurts more than it helps.
Exercise has endless benefits, including better body composition, better sleep, more energy, improved self-esteem, and improved physiological health, yet we focus so much on the number on the scale to judge its effects. I have seen many people declare that their fitness program “isn’t working” simply because the scale isn’t moving. Just like I used to, they ignore all the other benefits of exercise and often throw in the towel. This is part of the stop-start cycle of diets and exercise, and the scale is often the culprit in our lack of follow-through. Instead of looking at the numbers on a scale, which barely tell you anything, measure your success by how good and strong you feel.
The scale will mislead you.
Often as part of my attempts to lose weight, I would start going to the gym and gain weight! My body composition was changing as I built muscle mass and reduced fat, but instead if seeing these gains as wins, I would feel like a failure. When you replace fat with muscle you may see the scale going up, not down—another reason why ditching the scale and focusing on other physical benefits trumps all!
Restrictive eating can lead to unhealthy practices.
When we are constantly referring to a number on the scale it can become obsessive. Been there, done that. I would weigh myself in the morning, on an empty stomach, naked, after going to the bathroom or after a workout. I’d try anything to see a smaller number and it became all consuming. As Psychology Today reports, “Dieting, along with the frequent and compulsive weighing that accompanies it, can lead to eating disorders. According to one source, people who diet are 8 times as likely to develop an eating disorder as people who don’t.” Fixating on weight can make food feel like an enemy to be avoided. It’s not! It’s the fuel that powers your body! On that note…
Athletes need to eat.
Yesterday I rode 75 kilometers on my bike and last night I was starving, like nothing-could-quench-my-appetite starving. I had burned almost 2,000 calories and my body was crying for replenishment. When you’re athletic, you should follow a model of healthy abundance, not restriction. Eat the food! Listen to your body, not the scale.
Our weight is not our worth.
Many women believe that if they don’t fit into the thin ideal their identity isn’t as valuable. We need to work on changing how we give value and worth to some body types and not others. We see kindergarten children hurling the word fat at each other because even at a very early age children are affected by our media message. Our value can never be ruled by a scale unless we allow it to be. Every body is valuable. Never let the scale dictate your worth.
Ditching the scale and no longer feeling like I have to weigh myself has allowed me to rule my own life and pursue my athletic dreams in the body I have (my real body, right now, not an imaginary thinner version). It’s allowed me to find a healthy balance in nutrition, to kick ass in fitness and sport, and to believe that I am valuable and worthy of achieving anything I set my mind to. I know this can be true for you too.”