There was a time when I lived and died by the scales. I’d weigh myself every morning, sometimes a few times over and then again throughout the day, each and every time deciphering the mood and potential meal or lack there of to follow.
Of course I’m talking about when I was in the throes of my eating disorder. Initially it was focused on weight loss, at times weight maintenance and used under the guise of “efforts” to gain weight. I cheated those scales on many occasions, drinking copious amounts of water to fool people (namely doctors and my parents) in to thinking I’d gained or at least not lost anymore weight.
Even the tiniest little increase would set me up for an abusive, hungry and “fat day”. It’s a common term now used my a large number of women, and of course some men though maybe less outwardly… “I’m having a fat day…”; be it the fault or decision of the scales or whatever else, it’s a terribly depressing and futile way to live, diagnosed eating disorder, lifelong weight obsession or not…
I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy letting go. In fact it’s been the symbol of that final bit of lingering control my eating disorder has had over me. It had become more of a ritual more than anything else. I haven’t let go entirely, I still do weigh myself once a week but I can wholeheartedly say that it doesn’t impact my mood or have any impact over what I eat; unless is goes in the negative direction it’s a means for me to put myself in check and make sure to eat a little extra here and there.
I hear and see people in the gym every morning, weighing themselves before they workout, weighing themselves after, talking about how many pounds they’ve lost or gained, some thanks to their group dieting class. It aggravates and frustrates me. I want to shout and scream from the roof tops that the scale isn’t the be all and end all; there are so many other measurements of health that are a hell of a lot more important to get right!
The scales tells far from the whole picture; and the recommended weight or healthy BMI for your gender, age and height is far less important than the medics might lead us to believe.
Here are my top reasons to let go of the scales, focus on health, eat wholefoods and ensure your truly balanced, healthy and happy inside and out. My previous post “Top Tips for Healthy Weight Loss and Management” is 100% related and well worth checking out if the whole topic interests you.
First some “Did you knows..?”
- 20% of men and 50%o of women who have a normal BMI are obese based on their visceral (internal) fat
- 20% of morbidly obese adults have normal metabolic status, no evidence of disease and normal longevity
- Your subcutaneous fat, which makes up about 80% of total body fat, with rare exceptions contributes very little to the development of disease
- Your body protects it’s subcutaneous fat, the kind you can see as it provides you with a bucket of energy
- Muscle doesn’t in fact weigh more than fat but it’s denser (approx. 25-33%) so volume to volume it does weight more; you might not loose a pound but your jeans might become that bit more comfortable as muscle it takes up less space
- Your weight fluctuates throughout the day, anywhere from 2 – 20lbs!
Top Five Reasons to Let go of the Scales (the less scientific reasons!)
1. You are more than a number.
Whatever number is on the scales it doesn’t change the person that you are or any less deserving of food. The scale and the number it offers shouldn’t determine your self worth. Perhaps easier said then done but it’ learned behaviour and one which we can train ourselves to let go of in just the same way.
2. Eating Good Food will Leave you Feeling Good…possibly fantastic!
Eating healthy wholefoods will fuel your body with the energy it needs and the nutrients to help prevent disease. Feeling energised and healthy should be your primary goal. When you eat good food the sluggish bloated feeling will dissipate leaving you feeling lighter, body and mind!
3. Emotional Eating
I know I mentioned under-eating as a result of “wrong” number greeting me on the scale. At the same time it have just of great an impact in the opposite direction. All your “weight loss” efforts might seem like they’ve been for nothing and lead to you throwing in the towel.
4. Scales don’t determine behaviour…or at least they shouldn’t!
Just because you don’t weigh yourself doesn’t mean your suddenly going to pile on the pounds. You know what you’re eating or not eating, whether you’ve exercised…and can tell quite easily if your clothes fit in the same way as they did the week previous. Have a little faith in your own self awareness….a whole food diet will make achieving a natural balance a whole lot easier.
You’re the expert of your own body, mind and spirit…
5. To change the mindset of future generations…
The more energy we put in to continue the scale focused way living, determining happiness and “health” in the most superficial sense the more likely the behaviours are to be continually repeated across generations. It’s far from a joyous existence and one which I certainly don’t want to pass on to my own children if ever I’m lucky enough to have them. It might not be easy initially, but it will be worth it in the long term, not just for your own happiness but for all those we potentially influence.
What are your thoughts on the scale? Are you or have you ever been overly obsessed with the number displayed? I’d love to hear your stories, tips and anything else related that might prove helpful to others!