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Ditch the Scale: Put down what’s weighing you down

Ditch the scale

How many times have you hopped onto the scale thinking you were doing everything right and that pesky little gauge refuses to acknowledge your efforts? This is what it feels like to be weighed down and held down when you’re trying everything to scale down your weight. Maybe it’s time to ditch the scale and say hello to your health.

Focusing on that “ideal” weight number has become an unhealthy obsession for too many.  Stepping on that scale can either make or break your relationship with yourself.  That number can affect your mood and how you feel about yourself.  The desire to scale down can lead to negative habits and take away from your overall quality of life.  Reaching that “optimal” number on the scale becomes your number one priority and it takes attention away from things that matter most, like your overall well being.  Your weight loss journey may be costing you your happiness and, ironically, your health. 

Here are some good reasons to ditch the scale and focus on healthy habits instead:

1-Your scale is lying to you: Many believe that the number on the scale is a measure of success or failure. This is simply not true.  The number on the scale can be affected by many factors; what you’ve eaten or drank recently and the time of day and month, including consideration of menstrual cycles for women; hormones can play a big role in influencing weight.

2-Poor motivator: When the number on the scale is what we want it to be, it can motivate us to continue eating healthy and exercising.  When it’s not, it can lead to disappointment and fuel regression back to old and unhealthy habits. There is a danger in letting the scale push us around emotionally and behaviourally. 

3-Less does not equal more health: We have this idea in our minds that weighing less means we are healthy.  Let’s get one thing clear; losing weight and being healthy are not the same thing.  You could weigh less and still be unhealthy.  Don’t get me wrong, being overweight is commonly a sign of an underlying health problem but losing weight does not equal better health.  Many looking for a quick fix start cutting calories or over exercising.  You might see results in the short-term, but this is not a recipe for long term health.  Restricting your body of calories can affect your metabolism; you are not providing your body the vitamins and minerals it requires to thrive.

4-Weight loss and fat loss are not equal: Did you know that you can lose weight but not lose any body fat?  Or lose body fat but not lose any weight?  Your scale does not know how to differentiate between muscle or body fat.  Many who start a weight loss journey over exercise and under nourish the body.  By doing so you are not providing your muscles the nourishment they need to rebuild and grow.  The number on the scale might be going down, but you’re putting undue stress on body which can lead to muscle loss and breakdown.  Muscles play a vital role in supporting our optimal health and wellness, and influence bone strength, metabolic health and resilience to stress. 

Shifting our focus

Shift your focus to listening to your body and giving it what it needs.  Your body is an intelligent organism, it is always giving you clues about how it’s doing.  Set the scale aside and create healthy habits instead of restrictions.  Here are some alternative questions to ask yourself as measures of how you’re doing on your health journey:

  • How are your clothes fitting, are they loose?
  • How do you feel, how is your mood, are you happier?
  • Are you experiencing less brain fog?
  • Do you have more energy?
  • Do you have less pain?
  • How are you sleeping?
  • Do you have any bloating?

Focusing on my overall health and knowing the why’s, what’s and how’s of positive nutrition helped me look at my relationship with myself and food in a totally different way.  It came down to eating real food that nourishes the body, mind and soul.  It is not about restrictions but about choices we make.  I choose to create healthy eating habits not because “I can’t eat that” but because I am making a healthier choice.  Let go of the number on that scale and focus on the purpose of your health journey; giving your body the nourishment it needs to heal and flourish.

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Written by
Maria Hatzimarkos