Do you feel compelled to weigh yourself all the time because you're overweight? Are you sick and tired of having your scale tell you how you're entitled to feel and what kind of day you're going to have?
I'll just bet that depending upon the number shown, you'll either feel like celebrating or commiserating. I've got news for you. Your scale isn't your horoscope. And it's high time you reclaimed your power over this miserable piece of scrap metal. Here's why:
Your Thinking Body And The Mind/Body Connection
Most overweight people would swear on a stack of bibles that you have to weigh yourself to check your progress. For years I agreed with that belief until I became a professional empowerment coach and began to study what is known as the mind/body connection.
Simply put, anything that affects your mind, affects your body and vice versa. Let's say that you love cookies and someone offers you a whole plateful of all your favorites. Just the mere thought of thinking about eating them will cause your mouth to instantly fill with saliva. This is an example of your mind and thoughts affecting your body.
Why Your Scale Could Be Sabotaging Your Progress
Have you ever tried on a pair of pants that are too tight and immediately you feel horrible about yourself? Isn't that the quickest route to a binge? This is your body affecting your mind.
Scientific research has proven that there is a complex system of communication that goes on consistently between your mind and body.
This goes on behind the scenes without you having any conscious awareness of it. Scientists have isolated neurotransmitters (chemical messengers of thought) and discovered that they are in every cell of our bodies. That means that your body and mind are always standing at attention, waiting patiently for you to issue commands. The things you tell yourself will determine how you feel and what you do.
As dieters or weight watchers, we tend to think of ourselves as fat and we learn all the habits and ways of thinking that reinforce our belief that we have no control over food. This is called the diet mentality.
Break Free Of The Diet Mentality By Listening To And Respecting Your Body
Since August 2006 I have been committed to changing many of my weight watching habits and learning how to live, eat and think like a naturally slender woman. My experience has taught me that if you want to get thinner, you have to start listening to your body, not the scale. You must learn how to master your relationship with food. The problem is not what you're eating, but what's eating you!
Constantly monitoring your weight on the scale keeps you thinking like a fat person and you can't be thin if you're thinking fat. Naturally slim people never weigh themselves and therefore probably have no idea of their weight. This is because they don't rely on an external authority to tell them how to control their eating. They have a relaxed and peaceful, healthy relationship with food and they trust their bodies to tell them what to eat.
My Experience As A Former Scale Hopper
For years, I had a bathroom scale inside a large walk-in closet in my bathroom. Each morning before I dressed, I would jump on the scale and weigh myself, and then I would relieve my bladder and start all over again. It was a maddening and crazy cycle that kept me feeling horribly shameful.
One day, when I was living in my guilty little world of scale obsession, I was presented with a great opportunity to speak at a networking event to introduce myself to other businesswomen in my local community. It meant coming out from behind the safety of doing teleclasses and phone coaching, and presenting myself in the flesh as "The Juicy Woman".
But I knew I wasn't at the top of my game. The night before I'd eaten more than I wanted to and my body felt bloated and fat. Normally I'd be a lot more confident, but because it had been awhile since I had spoken live, I was nervous and upset, fearing that the women there would judge me as being a big, fat fraud. After all, most people would reason that a plus size woman has no right in the world calling herself a body image and self esteem expert. It just doesn't compute for many people and that morning, it didn't add up for me either.
As I was getting dressed for the day, I made this incredibly stupid bargain, goading myself to get on the scale. Here's how it went.
"Andrea, you don't have anything to worry about, sweetie. We're just checking here. What's the harm in knowing? Knowledge is power. Right? You know that those tortilla chips will probably show up as a gain so as long as you expect it... What's the big deal? No matter what the scale says, it won't matter, because you're stronger than that. After all, you live and breathe this stuff. You teach it all the time. You already know how your thoughts affect your body, so you won't let that happen. Right?"
As I stepped lightly onto the scale's smooth surface, I swore up and down that no matter what, I could handle it. But once I looked down and saw the number showing the weight gain I had already expected, I was toast. I just couldn't handle the pressure. I got off the scale and I could feel the wave of sadness and disappointment overtake me as the tears welled up in my eyes. Seeing my reflection in the miror, I knew there was no way I could go to that meeting. I had lost the magic. The Juicy Woman had left the room.
I've since learned how to overcome those types of sabotages and upsets using a simple tapping process called Emotional Freedom Technique. I'll teach you all about it another time. But for now please learn from my mistakes.
Now I'm really sharing this with you so that you'll be able to gain a new way of thinking about your scale. I don't suggest that you use it for target practice like one of my old clients, but I do want you to be mindful of how it has the potential to really affect your day unless you are able to put it in it's proper perspective.
Here are some facts that will help you to put it in it's rightful place:
- Scales aren't always reliable: Weighing yourself on a scale doesn't accurately measure your progress. Scales only measure the pull of gravity on mass. A typical bathroom scale will not effectively show the size or density of the mass it's measuring. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat both weigh the same thing. But they look really different.
- Weight fluctuates: It's natural for your weight to go up and down all the time. It can vary as much as ten pounds up or down, depending upon time of month, water retention, hormones, environmental factors and even atmospheric pressure.
- Scale stress: Weighing yourself is a common form of self sabotage since it is a way of creating stress in your body, which hooks you right back into the diet mentality, giving you a constant reminder that you're still overweight which will always make you feel terrible.
- Take it easy: Most importantly, take it slowly. It's not easy to change. To avoid the natural resistance that comes with wanting to make any change in your life, it's best to be as gentle as possible with yourself. Take my advice, and step away from the scale.
More self improvement advice on YourTango: