It’s 6am and your alarm goes off. You roll out of bed, eyes still half shut, and the first thing you do is take the scale out of your bathroom closet. So many thoughts are going through your head at this time, “Please let my weight be lower than yesterday!” You get on the scale and it is one pound lower than yesterday. “Awesome! Today is going to be a GREAT day! I can eat whatever I want today.”
NOW LET’S FAST FORWARD TO THE NEXT DAY…
That 6am alarm goes off again. You roll out of bed, grab the scale for that dreaded daily weight check and low and behold your weight is up 2 pounds today. The negative thoughts start to roll in, “”What did I do wrong yesterday? I ate so perfectly! I exercised. How can I fix this today? Should I eat less, drink more water, exercise more? I failed. I’m awful! I give up!
CAN YOU RELATE?
Our days are being affected by a number and only a number, pulling us away from our internal cues and causing us to solely focus on external factors (i.e - the number on the scale, what you "should" and "shouldn't" do in terms of nutrition and movement).
In our diet culture we are taught from day one that weight is a sole indicator of health status, which we now know, is not true. Individuals in all body shapes and sizes can achieve health in a variety of different ways without having to lose weight.
In fact, our cultural views on weight and recommendations from health care providers for weight loss can actually feed into weight stigma, which can ultimately negatively impact our health. Let's take a deeper look into why the scale may be causing more harm than good.
HERE ARE 3 REASONS WHY WE SHOULD BREAK UP WITH THE SCALE:
It impacts our health.
It determines how our day is going to be! When consistently using the scale as an indicator for your own moral value it can set you up for difficult emotions when the number on the scale fluctuates. And news flash, your weight is supposed to fluctuate througout the day and week based on a variety of different factors - it's totally normal!
We know that health itself is far more complex than solely the number on the scale. So while you may be obsessing over this factor to try to improve physical health, it could be negatively impacting mental, social or emotional well-being as well as your relationship to food and body. And not to mention that focusing on weight loss may actually do more damage than good to physical health as well.
We lose sense of our body’s hunger and fullness cues.
When we become bound to an ideal number we are trying to achieve on the scale we often forget how to listen to our body’s hunger cues and sense of satisfaction or satiety. Instead of relying on internal cues to guide our needs we end up being driven by what we think we "shoud" be doing to impact the number on the scale. This could look like ignoring hunger cues, engaging in restrictive behaviors or intense exercise routines. In reality, our bodies are a lot smarter than we think and trying to change them with rigid rules may backfire into a negative relationship with food and body.
We forget about the positive benefits of nourishing our bodies properly.
When we are eating consistent, balanced meals and snacks that nourish our body it helps us feel great throughout the day, gives us the energy and mental clarity that we haven’t had in a long time. Not to mention sleep habits and mood improve greatly as well! Not getting enough energy throughout the day can cause a wide array of health issues (both physial and mental health related).
what to do instead of stepping on the scale
Listen to your body's cues.
Instead of focusing on the number to determine what or how much to eat during the day, how would it feel to focus on your own internal cues? When first moving away from the scale, it's normal that you may have lost touch with what it feels like to be hungry or satisfied, and that's okay. That's where we come in! Learning to re-trust your body and welcome the every-changing cues that it presents can be a process and is totally worth it.
Examine your own relationship with your body.
How do you currently feel about the body you live in? How are you talking to yourself throughout the day? What factors have impacted where you are in your own relationship with your body? These types of questions as well as working with your own mental health provider can help you dig deeper into your own, potentially deep-rooted, body beliefs and how you can move through towards body respect, trust, appreciation or even acceptance.
Realign with your values.
Get to know you again. Reconnecting with what your own personal values are outside of the number on the scale. This can be a great conversation to have with a trained therapist to be able to help you navigate your own thoughts and what may still be entrenched in diet culture.
Cultivate your community.
This process is far from easy, especially living in our diet culture that emphasizes weight equaling health. Finding your people who you feel seen and supported by is so important while you take steps to move away from the scale. Body image support groups, weight inclusive instagram accounts or books/podcasts can be a really great place to start in this journey.
In short, breaking up with your scale, although seemingly difficult at first, may be the best thing for your health. Remember, the trust is that the scale is nothing more than your relationship with gravity to the Earth.
If you’re thinking about throwing your scale away and starting to tune inwards, contact our office to check out our individual or group services to best support you.