Do you wake up in the morning to the dread of stepping on the scales? Does stepping on the scales make you feel like you might as well give up and the next thing you know you’re sat on the couch stuffing your face thinking ‘why not’?
If you answered yes to these questions then it’s time to throw them out. Just pick them up and throw them out of the window! Okay, I know that’s a bit extreme but I honestly believe the best thing for you is to get rid of them.
I myself have never been a scales person and so don’t know the feeling of checking this every day but I was once a compulsive ‘progress’ checker and know how disheartening this can be. I used to wake up and check body in the mirror every morning to assess what kind of ‘progress’ I was making. I know, right, as if muscles would just appear as I slept or that I’d even notice any kind of change when I’m checking it so often. It got to the point where I’d check myself after every workout to assess how effective it was. As you can imagine abs didn’t suddenly appear and all this prodding and poking left me feeling pretty crappy, constantly convincing myself that there’s just no point.
It’s an easy mind-set to fall into when you have a goal and you feel like you have to map your progress daily, particularly if that goal is losing weight. But it’s such a dangerous one and I guarantee it’s not helping you. Just like checking the mirror constantly, weighing yourself every day is an ineffective measure of your progress. For one weight loss isn’t a linear process. Most people expect to start losing weight and for this to continue at a steady pace until you hit that predetermined ‘magic number’. Shock horror, it doesn’t work like that.
Weight fluctuates constantly for so many reasons. This can be as immediate as eating a big meal or retaining a bit of extra water or can happen over a longer period of time like hormonal changes or muscle gain, after all muscle weighs a lot more than fat. By weighing yourself every day you’re bound to catch yourself at a heavier point sooner or later and if your goal is weight loss it’s a bit of a kick in teeth. Here comes the ‘why I am even bothering?’ feeling; the perfect time to decide it’s not working and give up. So not only are your scales not helping you lose weight, they’re probably stopping you too. If that’s not a reason to throw them out then I don’t know what is.
And really, what is weight but a number? Your weight is one small way of determining your overall health when in actual fact there are so many others, and in my opinion better measures. Let’s take for example two people, Jess and Linda. Both Jess and Linda are 5ft4 but Jess weighs 10st 2lbs and Linda weighs 10st 9lbs. A simple BMI calculation (a measure of health based solely on a weight to height ratio) gives Jess as a score of 24.3, a healthy weight. Linda, on the other hand, scored 25.5 putting her in the overweight category. Well Jess is clearly the healthier person then? So what if I told you that Linda was exceptionally active often taking part in competitive sports with ease. Whereas Jess rarely engages in any kind of physical activity and struggles to walk more than a flight of starts without stopping to catch her breath. I think it’s quite clear now that Linda is a much healthier person.
I know this is a pretty basic example but it really helps to drive home my point that weight isn’t everything. Add that to that fact that compulsively checking it isn’t helping you achieve your goals and I really don’t see the point of keeping your scales; especially if they’re serving no more purpose than a daily ‘put me down’.
So what should you be doing instead?
Most people, myself included, need some kind of way to tell that they’re headed in the right direction and if the scales aren’t the answer then what is? My best advice would be to monitor your progress through short term goals like running a mile without stopping for the first time, fitting into a pair of jeans comfortably or being able to take the stair and not getting out of breath. These kinds of goals not only allow you to track your progress but make you feel pretty damn great when you hit them.
Though if you must have a number then get yourself a tape measure instead. You want to be taking a few measurements such as around your thigh, your waist and your upper arm. It’s a much better measure than your weight because it’s a more consistent decrease, i.e. it doesn’t fluctuate as much over time, and if you gain muscle and tone up this will be reflected in the numbers, unlike the scales.
I hope this post has inspired you to ditch the scales and look towards more goal orientated methods of mapping your progress. Feel free to share your big tips for losing weight or getting fitter in the comments, I want to hear all about it.
Thanks, Megan x