Can you imagine giving up stepping on the scales regularly? Believe it or not, many people I've talked with can't fathom the idea of not weighing themselves regularly. I used to be one of those people, but now I'm sharing the reasons why I decided to stop weighing myself, and how I feel more in alignment with making healthier daily choices since I decided to do so.
I want to start by saying that I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional, and that this is just my own personal story I’m sharing here today. This is by no means meant to be taken as medical advice.
Here’s a bit of the backstory: I have weighed myself, once a week and usually on Friday mornings, for as long as I can remember. I can tell you how much I weighed when I was in college, on the day of my wedding, when I was nine months pregnant (both times), and when I was six months postpartum (both times). But I cannot tell you how much I weigh today, since I decided to stop weighing myself about two and a half months ago.
Of course I have a general idea of how much I weigh today. Because we all can tell when our pants are getting a bit too snug, or when there’s a little extra around our midsection or any other area of our bodies where we tend to show weight gain first. I actually do believe every person should understand that about their own body because of course, maintaining a healthy weight is important for our overall health parameters and longevity.
Now here’s the reason why I decided to stop weighing myself: because it was setting me up to fail.
When I really started to pay attention to my habits, what I found was that my weekly weigh-ins were actually setting me up to make more unhealthy food choices, and to eat too much of those unhealthy foods. Here’s why…
When I would step on the scale early on any given Friday morning, and the number was on the “low end” of where I liked it to be, what I found was that I gave myself more leeway to overeat and eat more unhealthy foods over the course of the weekend. I felt like it gave me more wiggle room because my number was “low” for that day. That seems reasonable, right?
But I know from experience that when I eat a lot of processed or sugary foods, my skin breaks out and my unpleasant gut symptoms increase (gas and bloating in particular). I know from experience that when I eat too much food, even if it’s healthier foods like almond butter and dates and sweet potatoes, it wrecks havoc on my gut and causes a lot of gas and bloating, I don’t sleep well, and I’m moody as hell.
So because I was giving myself permission to do these things, to overeat and eat too many processed and sugary foods on the weekends when my number was “low,” I was setting myself up to fail with many undesirable health consequences. And I haven’t even brought up how hard it is on your pancreas, your liver, and other organs when you overeat or eat too much sugar.
So what’s changed since I quit weighing myself on a weekly basis? To start, I’m more mindful of the foods I eat throughout the entire weekend. I’m more likely to enjoy one delicious (and high quality) indulgence, rather than indulging on too much food all weekend long.
I feel like I’m more in balance now and that it’s about maintaining this mindset of making healthy choices every day of the week, rather than setting myself up for a weekend food bender, just because my number on the scale was “low” this week.
Before, when I was weighing weekly, I was giving myself a reason to blow it all weekend long, and there’s a lot of freedom in knowing I’m not doing that anymore. Of course I’m still a work in progress and this journey to find balance is never-ending, but for now, I like the way this feels.
Am I saying that we shouldn’t pay attention to our health? Not even. Am I saying I think it’s healthy for us to be overweight? Of course not.
What I’m suggesting is that we learn how to pay more attention to and trust our bodies’ natural cues and responses. What I’m suggesting is that we place more focus on the way our bodies and our clothes feel rather than what that number on the scale tells us.
Because what I was finding for me personally is that focusing solely on that number on the scale led to self-judgment and more feelings of guilt and shame when it came to food and eating, which led to me feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.
I am worthy of so much more than that, and you are, too.
Now, I’d love to know your thoughts…can you relate? What is your relationship to your scale? Do you feel like it keeps you on track, or is chaining you down to unhealthy emotions around food? I’d love for you to join the conversation here in the comments, or over on my Instagram feed.