We are conditioned to believe that..
Our weight = Our worth!
This is a sad, hard truth but many of us believe that unless we weigh less we will remain unhappy, unworthy, unhealthy and somehow less accepted by society.
This is not our fault either, so please don’t be hard on yourself if you feel this way from time to time. Diet culture has ingrained in us a need to focus on our scale weight so intently that we forget about all of the other wonderful changes that may be happening outside of that little sad step.
Yes, there is no denying that if you have body fat to lose the number on the scales will, over time, decrease. However, there are going to be lots of ups and downs along the way and shifting your focus away from this allows you to see past this piece of plastic as the only way of monitoring progress.
Equally, if you are on a muscle building journey, your weight will likely increase over time – this is a good sign but I completely understand that it may not always feel that way and can be a nervey transition for many due to the pressure to always just weigh less.
So let’s find ways of shifting our focus and looking for positives throughout our journey! Positives that are impactful and empowering. Positives that really will change your life!
This will change person to person and there are far too many to list them all but here are a few of my favourite examples…
You feel stronger
You feel fitter
You feel healthier
You have a better relationship with food
You have more energy
Your mental health has improved
You are sleeping better
Your endurance has improved
Your goals are focussed on performance
You have built muscle
You have more get up and go
Your clothes fit better and are more comfortable
You feel happier
You have more confidence
You feel less stressed
You’re recovering faster from your workouts
You have less aches and pains
You like what you see in the mirror more and more
Why Is This So Important?
By placing so much worth on what the scales say we can often find ourselves in a really unsettling position when they don’t give us the answer we are looking for. Most of us will step on the scales hoping to see a specific number, whether that’s up, down or exactly the same, we become disappointed when that is not the number we see.
This can often lead us to detrimental behaviours that do not support our health and fitness journeys at all. Have you ever felt sad by the result on the scales and then gotten off and thought “f**k it I may as well eat whatever I like now!” or “I’m not going to eat anything at all now”. Ask yourself if that helps or hinders your progress? It is a very normal response but also a very unhelpful one. It is dangerous for our mindsets and our health.
This binge and restrict cycle is hard to break and is so often linked to the results on the scales that we deem as negative. Understanding that the scales can fluctuate by several lbs in the same day for many reasons is helpful! These reasons include but are not limited to:-
Time of the month
How much salt you have consumed
When you last went to the toilet
Levels of carbohydrate intake
Workouts you have done
How much water you have drank
This list goes on and on! If the scales have a detrimental impact on your mood and your approach to your day then you need to question how beneficial they are to your journey? Yes there is a place for them as a tool to monitor progress, but that is all they are – a tool! Until we can stop basing our happiness on the number on a piece of plastic, my advice would be to step away from them and focus on other areas of your journey. The likelihood is that if you do this, the results you’re working for will follow!
I can hear you asking ‘how will I know if I am progressing without the scales?’
Monitor how you are feeling based on the list above! You could also try tracking your progress using –
Strength and Performance Goals
There are lot’s of ways to look at your progress and each of them will have a different level of importance to you but as long as you are working towards being healthy, happy and confident during the process that is all that matters.
If a part of your journey makes you uncomfortable or unhappy you need to question its place in your life!
It is time that we take back control and stop letting the scales dictate our mood, self worth and progress. If you hate weighing why are you doing it? If it doesn’t affect you and you are able to see it for what it is then carry on and use it as a tool in your toolbox of many!
If you do find it to be a detrimental part of your journey, please do not be hard on yourself for your feelings surrounding your weight and relationship with the scales. It isn’t your fault, it is a result of diet culture. BUT only you can choose how to deal with these feelings and what is the best course of action to keep you on track towards your goals and in a happy and healthy place whilst doing so!