Quitting the scale: Why you should give up your love-hate relationship with the scale

ScaleBy Madalyn Oliver

It’s the same routine every day. First thing in the morning (prior to eating anything), you go to the bathroom, get undressed and stand on the scale, hoping that this will give you the best possible result when weighing yourself. You stare at the scale waiting in anticipation for the all-important number to show up. The number that determines your health, confidence, happiness, attractiveness and level of success. There is a lot riding on this number. If it drops from the previous day feelings of relief and elation ensue along with the firm belief that “today will be a good day”. However, if the number goes up there is an instantaneous feeling of shame, self-loathing and devastation. The number has determined that “today will be a bad day”. Either way, up or down, the number that shows up on the scale will guide the decisions you make in regards to what you do, what you wear and what you eat for the rest of the day and then tomorrow it starts all over again!

Sound familiar?

This is a ritual that countless men and women engage in each and every day with varying results.

The interesting thing is that aside from some specific exceptions (e.g. medical conditions) there is no reason for most people to regularly step on the scale. Further, at BodyMatters we believe that it is not an accurate way of measuring your health or worth as a person. That is, the number on a scale simply tells you how much your body weighs including not just fat but also muscle, bone, organs and water. The scale also does not account for your hormones, level of hydration, sodium intake or when you ate last. Simply put, the scale only gives you, at best, a reflection into gravity rather than “the whole picture”. The scale certainly cannot tell you how amazing you are, what kind of a person you are or how much you are loved.

Instead of focusing on the number on the scale, we suggest focusing on health behaviours that are much more closely associated with health than weight is. For example, deciding to nurture your body by going to sleep if you are tired rather than masking those feelings by eating. Or eating because your body is hungry for food rather than because you are feeling bored. Alternatively you may choose to focus on how your clothes fit, your energy levels, how you are performing and your quality of life. Getting rid of your scale will allow you to begin to pay attention to how your body is actually feeling and what it needs to create a life that makes you happy. “Good days” will no longer simply be a result of a drop in the number on the scale but rather about feeling good. It is important to remember that we are not meant to be the same weight throughout our lives. It is perfectly normal for a healthy body to change weight, shape and size over our life span.

I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your own relationship with the scale – why do you need it? What function is it serving? What impact is it currently having on your life? Are there other, more accurate ways, you can get in touch with your body?

If, like many others, you believe you have a negative relationship with your scale and would like support to get rid of it (or at least decrease how often you use it) and form a more positive and accepting relationship with your body please contact us at BodyMatters Australasia to schedule an appointment to see one of our therapists. If you are still not convinced that getting rid of your scale is for you, perhaps try an experiment: take a break from it for a month and see how you feel.

One response to “Quitting the scale: Why you should give up your love-hate relationship with the scale

  1. I don’t go near the scales because judging by how I look and feel in my clothes-my weight is well over what I want it to be.Why make it worse for myself by knowing how much I actually weigh?

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