For years, and through many different diets, I’ve debated the effectiveness of weighing myself. Sometimes the scale has motivated me, and other times my weight loss efforts have been derailed. Realistically, my self-worth should not be determined by what my scale tells me, but it often feels that way.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- I did so well this week, I deserve a treat!
- I worked so hard and the scale didn’t even budge, so why bother?
- Since I’m not weighing in until Monday, I’ll splurge now and make up for it later.
- Wow! I didn’t eat very well this week, but I still lost weight. Maybe I don’t need to be so careful.
- All that hard work and I only lost half a pound? Something must be wrong with me.
- I gained three pounds? Why don’t I have more self-control?
- I might as well just decide to be happy with being fat.
I’ve used all of these, and none of them are accurate. Scale weight is based on your physical body (bones, organs, muscle, and fat) as well as substances that are just passing through (water, food, and waste.) Your scale can fluctuate up or down three pounds based on water weight alone. I’m sure you’ve experienced a weight gain the morning after eating a meal high in sodium–that’s a prime example of weight that is temporary. Weight also fluctuates based on things such as hormones (that dreaded time of month), when you last ate, the nutritional makeup of your food, and more. So, knowing all of these things, why do we still base our self-worth and success based on what the scale tells us? None of these factors have anything at all to do with your value as a person or the long-term benefits you’ll receive from the changes you are making.
If you’re adding healthy eating habits to your life and exercising, you’re building muscle and losing fat and may not see a change on the scale at all. Even so, your body composition, metabolism, and health are all improving. If you depend on the scale to gauge your success, you may give up even though amazing things are going on inside.
That is worth repeating — Amazing things are going on inside!
So what is the alternative?
I’ve recently been keeping track of my non-scale victories–things like new-found confidence, number of steps on my pedometer, quality food choices, daily healthy habits (go green smoothies!), and better moods! All of these are positive changes in my life even if the scale never budges.
So, to weigh or not to weigh? That, my friends, is the never ending question.
The scale can be an effective tool to help keep you on track, but don’t rely on it to tell you what you already know. You know if you’ve been eating well. You know if you’ve been exercising. Be mindful of YOUR choices, and don’t let the scale derail your healthy efforts or lower your self confidence.
Do you weigh? If so, how often? I’d love to hear your experiences with the scale.