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Do your scales dictate how you feel?

by Tansy Boggon

Is it time to ditch the scales for good?

Consider this, say you’ve started a diet… you’ve been good… oh very good the past few days.

All the hard work must be paying off by now, you think to yourself. So, you tentatively step on the bathroom scales to see whether your weight reflects how good you’ve been.

If your weight has decreased, you may feel pretty good about your efforts, and yourself. You may think; it’s worth it to keep going. [Although this is not the case as 95% of dieters will regain the weight lost on a diet, and frequently gain more. Read, How the goal of weight loss can sabotage your health to explore this further]

If your weight hasn’t budged, or god forbid, it has increased, how are you likely to feel? Quite possibly, you’d feel disheartened, worthless, pathetic, annoyed, angry, or that you are a failure. Am I right?

These feelings stem from the thoughts that arise in your mind when you see that undesirable number: what the f#@k is all this hard work for? Why did I starve myself all day yesterday to have my weight increase? Who was I kidding that this time would be different?

How the scales can dictate how you feel

In this way, the bathroom scales become a metronome that dictates how you feel throughout the day.

Do Your Scales Dictate How You Feel

However, your bathroom scales are a completely innocent impartial object—they provide no measure of your worthiness.

There is no measure on the scale that provides you with a definitive: you are good, or you are bad. It is your thoughts and interpretations of the number on the scale that creates the perception of good or bad, which you may then attach to your perceived self-worth. In this way, when your weight is good, you perceive yourself as good, and when your weight is bad, you perceive yourself as bad.

If you’ve ever had the experience of jumping on the scales and being dumbstruck by the increase in weight, you’re probably well aware of the deflation in your mood that follows. And this deflation in mood is often not momentary, but something you carry forward all day.

So, if you step on the scales and what you see is not good you may carry forward the negative thoughts and feelings throughout your day, which can influence how you perceive the events that may occur. For example, if you believe that you are pathetic, you are likely to notice other occurrences throughout your day that reinforce this belief. And so, the self-depreciation snowballs, until you truly believe that you are pathetic and worthless.

The scales can reinforce negative beliefs about yourself

However, they are only thoughts in your mind, which cause you to perceive yourself in this way. Thoughts that are initiated from hopping on the scales.

Do Your Scales Dictate How You Feel

And, in this negative emotional state, with these thoughts racing through your mind, how do you think you’d approach your day? How do you think you’d care for yourself?

Likely, with less compassion. Am I right?

Wouldn’t it be healthier to ditch the scales and go about your day noticing how you feel? So, that you can adopt lifestyle habits that make you feel more vibrant, energetic and alive, irrespective of your weight?

It’s time to ditch the scales

Weighing yourself can cause you to obsess over the number on the scales rather than focus on how you feel; or how consistent you’ve been with actions that make you feel your best.

If your weight does not reflect your effort, it can cause you to feel like your healthy lifestyle habits are ineffective. However, you can improve your health without losing weight. When weight loss is the ultimate goal, it can do more to sabotage your efforts for improved health and self-care.

…you can improve your health without losing weight, and when weight loss is the ultimate goal, it can do more to sabotage your efforts for improved health and self-care.

If you’ve yo-yo dieted, weight-cycled, or find the scales trigger under- or overeating, provoke anxiety or substantially impact your mood, and thus your motivation to take self-care, the scales are likely to be doing more harm than good. Further, when you regulate your eating and exercise by the number on the scales, rather than your body cues, such as hunger, fullness, exhaustion and stress, it is likely to erode trust in your body and yourself.

Quite simply, the scales don’t measure how happy and healthy you are. So, let’s put an end to the scales dictating your mood. Let’s ditch the scales for self-care and compassion.

Are you ready to ditch the scales?

Let me know in the comments below if your scales dictate your mood and whether you are ready to ditch them. To signify your scales no longer dictating your mood you could smash your scales or turn them into a Yay! ScaleTM. Also, grab yourself a copy the Free Chapter from my book, Joyful Eating, Debunk the Diet Myth, to help you ditch dieting forever.

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