Ditch the scales
This blog post contains language around calories, weighing yourself and body fat.
I don’t like scales. I have not owned scales in my own home for over 20 years and I’ll be very honest I don’t want my children to ever stand on them.
In truth, scales aren’t an accurate measure of your progress in terms of health and well being. In fact, they often trigger psychologically damaging thoughts of body dissatisfaction.
I encourage my clients to “Ditch the Scales”, here I am going to explain my reasons why. .
Firstly they do not really indicate whether or not your health and wellbeing is improving. We all know that a number on the scales does not necessarily mean that you are a healthy individual! If you are maintaining a lower body weight living on diet coke and biscuits, you are not optimising your health..
I would rather my clients focus on including health promoting behaviours into their daily lives. These include moving in a way they enjoy, eating a variety of nourishing foods, making sure they sleep well and have stress management techniques in place, all of which are far better measures of wellbeing.
In truth your weight can fluctuate by several pounds in a day. Through water retention, hormonal changes, it could be because you’ve eaten something a bit salty, you might not have eaten enough carbohydrates so your body has used your glycogen stores and you’ve therefore lost water, food volume in your stomach, whether or not you have had a poo…the list goes on. None of these are within your control!
The stress caused by frequently weighing yourself is often clearly demonstrated by my clients when they first come to see me. A sudden fluctuation on the scales can send them in to panic and toward thoughts of restriction and body shaming. Neither of which are healthy.
Weight isn’t just fat.
Here is the science bit.
Every pound of fat in the body, equates to roughly 3500 calories. So if on a Friday you weighed X and then come Monday you stand on the scales and you are four pounds heavier than you were on the Friday, inside your head you’re given the message I’ve got four pounds fatter!!!! Panic.
You haven’t. You would have had to consume 14000 calories over two days for that to happen…unlikely.
Most of that gain on the scales will be water and food volume etc. discussed here. The numbers are not a true reflection of you and your progress.
What if I have to be weighed?
If you have to be weighed, for example, you may have to attend certain clinics or you might be pregnant. You can ask your Health Care Practitioner, “Is this necessary?”. If they deem it very necessary, then you can ask to step on the scales backwards, YOU don’t need to look at the number.
Focus on internal measures not external
Scales are a mechanical measure. Try to focus on internal signs of improvement in your health. Did you have more energy and stamina on your last bike ride? Are you sleeping better? Do you feel less anxious around food? Are you able to enjoy eating out with friends again? These are measures that really indicate that you are on the road to a happier and healthier you.
They stop you experiencing gratitude
Don’t have your days ruined by standing on the scales. You’ve had an amazing day, a brilliant day, everything has been going fantastically and then you go and stand on those scales and feel deflated. Your day is ruined by a number, much of which is outside of your control.
I urge you to donate your scales. Give them to a neighbour to keep in the shed. Scales are good for baking.