The scale is a useful and important tool for many people. But the problem starts when the number on the scale becomes the only and most important measurement of your health and self-worth. That is what I call “the scale trap”.
In this article, we will determine why the number on the scale is only a piece of information and not a real measure of your overall health or if you are gaining or losing weight.
Let’s get started!
My experience with the scale
I use to weigh myself every day, many times a day. I used to punish my self when the number on the scale was not moving. I was completely disconnected from my own body and the psychology behind weight loss. My emotional world was completely dependent on the scale, literally from the over-excitement of losing weight to the terrible disappointment of not losing any weight.
Every Wednesday morning, you could smell the fear of every girl and boy at the eating disorder station; It was the day we needed to be weighed. It was horrible and traumatic, but at the same time, part of the treatment. Obviously, when you are seriously underweight and in a hospital, it may be necessary to check your weight, but if you are NOT in that condition and you experience any of the following:
- Have or had an eating disorder
- Feel anxious about weighing yourself
- Feel better when you don’t weigh yourself
- Weight yourself many times a day
Then STOP, seriously STOP.
The problem with the scale
All food and water have some weight. Anything that can make you retain or lose water will also affect your weight. The number on the scale is only one piece of information but not the whole picture of your health because it doesn’t take into account factors like muscle mass, lifestyle, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart health, and much more.
Factors affecting the number on the scale:
- What you eat and drink
Carbohydrates and salt can add to water retention. That is also why when you go on a low-carbohydrate diet, you lose a lot of water weight.
Holding a poop baby will also add some weight.
We lose water while exercising but also you drink more which add water.
- Your period
We tend to retain more water when we are on our period.
- Muscle mass
The number on the scale can be the same for two different people, but one has more muscle and the other more fat; still, the number is the same. See the problem here?
What to do instead?
Use more mindful ways to track your progress, such as your energy levels, how your body feels during the day, and how clothes fit you. These are better indicators of your progress than the scale will ever be.
Whatever the reason is that you want to lose or gain weight, the end goal is usually to achieve a feeling. You want to feel more attractive, more energetic, you want to play with your grandchildren and feel flexible again, or you want to fit into your old jeans. None of these things can be measured by the scale!
Ask yourself, do you really need to change my current weight to achieve that feeling? If the answer is yes, then go ahead, and I hope these tips add value to your journey! But if you are not sure about the answer or if the answer is no, then STOP looking for a solution in a new diet or anything related to your weight.
Whatever you want to lose or gain weight, please remember that your weight is just one aspect of your progress and, in many cases, it’s not even the most important one. The number on the scale doesn’t tell you everything about how your health is improving. Be kind to yourself during this process and remember nothing will change overnight, so patience is key!