According to research completed for The Succeed Foundation, 30% of the women surveyed expressed that they would "trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal body weight and shape." A portion of those surveyed indicated that they would give up at least 21 years of life to obtain their preferred body weight and size.
Obsessing about obtaining a specific body size or weight can contribute to doing things that may be harmful to your health - and distract you from implementing behaviors that can empower your well-being in the long-term. Understandably, it's pretty typical for clients to report that after stepping off the scale they've felt anxious, have obsessed more about food and the shape of their bodies, have followed food rules instead of tuning into their bodies' internal hunger/fullness cues, have exercised excessively, have based their self-worth on their weight and body size - and the list goes on.
Weighing themselves hurts the progress they've made on their non-diet wellness journey, and intensifies their thoughts and actions towards food and the size of their bodies - frequently resulting in eating more than they normally would whether the number on the scale is "great" or "bad" in their minds.
Can you relate to what I've described? To support you on your wellness journey, I'm providing some strategies for ditching the scale.
STRATEGIES FOR DITCHING THE SCALE
1) Measure the improvements you've made without using a scale. What do you hope to achieve when you step on that scale? Clients will often indicate that they want to weigh themselves to measure the progress that they're making on their wellness journey.
One of the challenges with this is that weight is frequently a misguided indicator of health. The size of a person's body does not equal health. Also, a person's weight - which fluctuates multiple times throughout the day - is an outcome versus a behavior. A behavior is something that we can actually control.
An additional challenge for my clients, when it comes to using the scale to measure their progress, is that weighing themselves has frequently contributed to doing things that are not beneficial to their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Therefore, in addition to taking away from the progress that they have worked so hard to achieve, weighing themselves can also increase the amount of time that's needed for them to develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.
I suggest managing progress without the use of the scale. You can accomplish this using a variety of strategies. One of which includes setting behavioral goals and implementing them. Here are just some of the many behaviors that you could set some goals around and measure:
Tune into the different levels of hunger and fullness, and honor them.
Generally make meals and snacks as pleasurable as possible, and be more present when consuming them.
Follow social media accounts that make you feel good about yourself, and promote diversity, self-compassion, and a flexible approach to eating/exercise - versus following those accounts that make you feel bad about yourself.
Hang out with someone who makes your heart smile.
Move your body in ways that bring you joy, energize you, and feel good - versus moving it to control your body size or weight.
Regularly obtain between 7-9 hours of sleep a day.
Consume a wider variety of satisfying foods that sound good to you - without labeling yourself or your food choices as "good" or "bad."
Wear clothes and undergarments that are comfortable for the body that you're in now.
Do some deep breathing, gentle yoga, or other stress-reduction techniques to relax more easily and support your ability to listen to your body's internal cues.
2) Get rid of the scale. This can feel really intimidating. I really do get it. But you're going to continue to obsess about your weight if you continue to weigh yourself. Removing something as triggering as a scale from your house can support the progress that you're making with healing your relationship with food and respecting your body.
The bottom line is you deserve to live a happier and more fulfilling life focusing on things that bring you joy - versus obsessing about your body and food. Choosing some behaviors that feel right to you to focus on can help you put less emphasis on the scale, and more energy into things that you can control.
If you would like to work with me on developing a healthier relationship with food and your body, or addressing general wellness concerns, click here to learn more about my private one-on-one sessions.