Is Weighing In Weighing You Down?


For some, walking into the bathroom and stepping on the scale feels more like walking into their own funeral. They allow the number that the scale displays to be  the deciding factor in how their entire day is going to go from that point on. If the scale smiles upon them that day and the number is smaller than the last time they stood in this exact same place, then things are looking up and it’s gonna be a great day! On the other hand, if that blankety-blanking scale has the  nerve to display a number even slightly higher than the time before, they feel as though they have just been  ripped from bed to miserably wander through a purposeless existence, all the while  having to endure a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day…even in Australia.

Granted, the number the scale flashes in your face  has a big impact on your risk factors for certain diseases, such as type II diabetes, and it most definitely affects all of your body’s systems which has a large impact on your overall health. But the scale is not something that you should loathe and despise! If only we could all look at the scale for what it truly is, a weight loss tool. Period.

There are a lot of weight loss professionals out there in the world that believe the way to minimize the stress that is associated with the scale is to weigh in once a week or less. There are even a few  who support skipping weigh in’s all together. Thier argument is that there are other, more dependable ways to track a person’s progress. They are right about that! With my clients I use the scale, a tape measure and calipers  to track their progress and help them stay motivated. There have been many occasions where the scale doesn’t reflect a significant change, but through the other two methods we have seen  quite the opposite. Why is that?

How can it be that the number on the scale doesn’t change much at all but  you  can feel  significant progress? Body composition! When your body is burning your fat stores while  also building muscle (which takes up a lot less room than  fat does) inches will be lost and your body fat percentage will drop, but the number on the scale doesn’t always show the same trend. It can remain close to your previous weight and, on a few occasions, I have even seen it remain unchanged.


3 Ways to De-Stress About Your Weigh-Ins


1. Understand exactly what that number on the scale means.

The only thing that number tells you is how much you weigh right now. It doesn’t tell you how much of your body is lean muscle mass, water weight or body fat. It doesn’t tell you  what kind of person you are or even what the rest of your life has in store for you. It doesn’t equate to whether or not you’ll ever look the way you want to look or how other people see you.

2. Remind yourself that the scale is only a weight loss tool.

It is there only to assist you on your journey to better health. It is not there to mock you, it is not there to call you a Fatty McFatty, it is not  there to  judge you or send you packing on a guilt trip. If you need to, you can even  use post-it notes on the mirror  so that  each time you step on the scale, you remember to put the scale in it’s place and tell it who’s boss.   The scale only has as much power over you as you choose to let it have. Make the decision right now to use it to help, not hinder your progress.

3. Use the number on the scale as information that will help you progress.

Since  you’re already decided you’re going to use the scale as a tool, you might as well do it the right way. Keep a journal and  track your weigh-ins (whether they are daily, weekly or monthly), your total daily calories eaten and your calories burned through exercise. Simply  add the numbers up and see if things are going the way they should be. Figure out your total calorie deficit for the month, and see if your weight actually behaved according to the 3500-calorie deficit equals one pound lost formula.

There is a lot of talk about calories in vs. calories out, but because our bodies are not calculators, it is not always that cut and dry. There are a number of health issues that can throw that theory right out the window! My own experience was with my thyroid. I felt like garbage most of the time, constantly tired and fatigued. Part of it was the fact that I was overweight, but the bigger part of it was that my poor thyroid was a wreck! Once I found a doctor who was willing to take the time to sit and talk with me, who would ask me questions and was willing to go against the typical medical doctor mentality that is so prevalent out there these days,  my level of “well-being” started to improve and I finally broke through my 18 month plateau. Calories in vs. calories out hadn’t been able to explain my plateau. According to that theory, I should have been a toothpick-esque super model on the cover of some magazine, yet there I was “stuck”  at a little over 200 pounds,  feeling anything but toothpick-esque. This is where an honest journal comes in handy. You’ll be able  to show your healthcare professional exactly where your calories in vs. calories out are sitting and that may be what helps them figure out what it is that needs to be taken care of so you can progress.

The bottom line is this: The scale can be helpful to you along your journey or it can be a noose around your neck. The cool thing is that you get to decide, not the scale. Don’t let it rule your life and certainly don’t let it sentence you to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day…no matter where you live!

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