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To Weigh or Not To Weigh? July 2, 2010

Posted by Jen in Weight Loss.
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For some people, it all comes down to the number on the scale. If it says something “good”, their day starts off on the right food. If it says something they don’t like, however, it can send their day spiraling out of control.

If you’re on a quest to get physically fit, lose weight, and improve your lifestyle, you probably want to know what the number is. But is it really a good idea to weigh yourself regularly?

It depends. If you are starting a fitness program or making a change to the way you eat, and don’t have any disordered eating habits or overly emotional connections to your weight, it might not be harmful. Certainly, weighing yourself once a week to see if you’re making progress can be beneficial.

However, I truly believe there are other factors that are much better indicators of whether or not you’re making beneficial changes to your health. Is your energy up? Are you sleeping better? Are your workouts improving? Do your clothes fit a little better? Are you standing taller? Do you have more muscle definition? The scale doesn’t always tell the truth about your progress, and for some people that can really throw off their desire to continue working on their wellness goals.

If you have struggled with disordered eating and body image problems, I strongly suggest staying away from the scale all together. It is a machine, not always an accurate one, that gives a number that is, in all honesty, just a number. If you find yourself obsessing over the scale, weighing in frequently (sometimes more than once a day), and if it holds the power to throw your day into a tailspin: THROW IT OUT. It is doing nothing for you. It is not improving your health or mental well-being.

That being said, I think our reaction to the number on the scale can be an important window into our beliefs. If you do decide to weigh yourself, take a few moments after seeing the number to answer the following questions:

  • How do I feel emotionally after seeing the number? (Sad, angry, happy, giddy, etc)
  • Why am I reacting the way I am?
  • What do I believe the number represents about myself?
  • How am I going to let this information shape my day?
  • Is knowing how much I weigh that important to me?

If the number makes you feel like crap, it’s because some voice somewhere is telling you that number makes you a bad person. This is a golden opportunity to figure out where that voice is coming from and how to shut it off at the source.

So, to weigh or not to weigh? It’s a personal decision, but if weighing in is causing stress and doing more harm than good (and I believe you know in your heart the answer here), it’s time to step off the scale and into life.

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