Is Your Scale Making You Fat?
When I say “scale”, do you think of an inanimate square object that sits on the floor of your bathroom, or is it a flat little monster that says horrible things to you when you even get close to it? If you describe it with any sort of emotion, you may want to rethink your relationship with it. Why?
How you view your scale may be a contributing factor as to whether or not you successfully lose weight.
Even though it’s the most widely accepted measurement of health, you may not be doing yourself any favors if you’re using it as the only tool to determine whether you’re healthy.
Your weight is made up of a number of things. Although we typically think of it as our primary fat measurement tool, it actually is much more than that. Your bones, blood, organs and muscles all contribute to the number you see between your big toes every morning. So, it doesn’t just tell you how much fat you have. It also tells you how much of everything else you have too.
Why is this information important? Because if you have too much salt, for instance, your body retains water. So, when you step on the scale and it tells you that you gained four pounds, you’re beating yourself up for gaining fat when it is just water. But, there’s no way for the scale to tell you that because it only gives you total weight.
The same problem exists if you start an exercise program and begin to gain muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. So, you can step on the scale and have your weight stay the same or even gain a little but actually be losing fat. Does that motivate you to stick with your positive changes?
The scale isn’t all bad. It is a good tool to use that will give you a general idea of whether or not your weight puts you at risk of certain health conditions. And, some scales even calculate body fat percentage for you, which makes it easier if you’re trying to track your progress.
So, the problem isn’t the scale itself. The problem is how you view it. What is your relationship with it?
Do you have an abusive relationship with your scale? Every time you even go near it, do you imagine the scale starting to make remarks which you can quietly hear in your head? Maybe it’s, “Here we go again,” or, “Why bother? You know it isn’t going to be good.”?
And, even if you’re able to fight the nasty comments the scale spews your way, they only worsen when you step on it and the numbers are finally displayed. “Oh my, you’re fat!” “You’re never going to lose the weight if you keep eating, you pig.”
If this is how your scale “talks to you,” over time you internalize the comments. You take the thoughts and believe them. And, what do you do with the resulting emotional pain?
If you’re the average emotional eater, you find solace in the cookie jar or ice cream tub. You eat to soothe your hurt feelings and comfort your wounded soul. You tell yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow. You promise. And, you mean it. Until you step on the scale the following morning and start the cycle over again.
How can that help with weight loss? It can’t.
So, if you find that you’re in an abusive relationship with your scale, divorce it. Chuck it out the window, throw it down the stairs, do what you have to do but let it go. If that’s how it talks to you, it isn’t helping you reach your weight loss goals at all.
Does the thought of that scare you? Maybe you don’t like how it talks to you but you’re afraid that without it you’ll balloon up and go out of control? You won’t. That’s just what the scale wants you to believe.
The key behind successfully losing weight is to be in a supportive environment.
You need to surround yourself with positivity and encouragement. If the scale doesn’t fit into that, then it’s time to kick it to the curb.
Don’t forget, it’s just one way to assess your overall health. If you truly want to know whether you’re at risk of certain diseases and conditions, you have other options. You can go to your doctor and get blood work done and tests run.
And, if it’s only the amount of fat that you carry that you’re concerned with, meet with a personal trainer. They can do a fitness assessment that includes basic activities to determine your fitness level and a skinfold caliper test to calculate your body fat percentage. If they’re high tech, you can do other things to see how efficiently your body processes oxygen and how many calories you burn when doing certain exercises.
The point is that there are other more specific tests you can take if you want some real answers. The basic everyday scale can’t break it down like that.
If you don’t feel like going through all the testing, you know when you put on a few pounds, right? Your pants fit tighter, you start to get little bulges in places that used to be flat and activities that used to be easy, now require more effort. You don’t need a scale to realize all of that.
What if you’re reading this and thinking, “What about me? I have a great relationship with my scale and I still have a weight problem?” You are a rare breed, so embrace that it’s one less obstacle you have to overcome on your journey to lose weight.
There’s no easy solution to weight loss. And, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach either.
Everyone has different reasons behind why they gain weight, so it only goes to stand that each person is going to lose in different ways.
So if your scale is not helpful on your journey, don’t be afraid to let it go. You’ll do fine. Just trust yourself. You may be surprised how much strength you have when you don’t give it all to that little square inanimate object that occupies the corner of your bathroom floor.