Swap the Scale for This InsteadNov 17, 2020
Do you get on the scale daily? Are you loving (or hating) your day based on the number glaring back at you from that little platform on your bathroom floor? It's time to swap the scale for this instead.
I'm sure you've heard a lot of mixed advice about daily weigh-ins. In truth, as a health coach I've given different advice at over the years. Ultimately, I believe the scale does more harm than good.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Weight ebbs and flows based on water retention, hormones, food choices, and exercise intensity... and we forget that.
- Scale inconsistency is common since digital scales recalibrate when moved or placed on an uneven surface.
- Disappointing readings impact our mood for the entire day, which can snowball into "why bother" choices for the day ahead.
- We become a "slave" to a number instead of viewing it as one of many glimpses into our health.
- The scale fails to show internal health changes, the ones that matter for true health.
Maybe you've heard that weekly weigh-in's are better than daily ones. Unfortunately, this too, has it's pitfalls. Trust me... I've tried every which way with myself and my clients.
So, what's the alternative?
What if you broke up with the scale altogether? Scary thought? Or liberating?
Maybe these are the questions racing through your mind, like they did for me when I considered this radical choice:
"but how will I know if I'm making healthy choices or not?"
"but how will I know if this diet is finally working?"
"but what will my trainer or nutritionist think?"
"but what can I do instead?"
It's time to lose your but.
Let's swap the scale for one simple statement to start your day and one simple question to finish it.
We're going to assume for a moment that you're aiming for a day that includes 80% healthy foods and 20% other foods you enjoy - a good target for making improvements to your health.
Now, here's what this looks like.
- Each morning, say to yourself, "Today, I'm going to do my best to eat 80% healthy foods."
- At the end of each day, ask yourself, "Did I do my best today to eat 80% healthy foods?"
For the end of day question, give yourself a rating on a scale of 1-10 evaluating your effort and intention, not the result!
To successful shift away from the scale, here are the two non-negotiable rules for this new system to be successful:
- Rule #1 - be honest. Remember, it's about effort and intention, not results.
- Rule #2 - do NOT judge yourself! No negative self-talk if you give yourself a low score.
Keep track of your daily ratings. After a week or two, notice the pattern and if you're consistently rating yourself in the mid to low range (under 6), make the behavior easier.
For example, aim for 50% healthy foods. Or see how you do adding a single extra vegetable to your day. The easier you make the habit the more likely it is to stick.
Maybe that's the way it should be. We've over-complicated our relationship with food, exercise, and our body. We need to do more simple and less hard things for the wellbeing of our body, mind, and spirit.
I recently talked with my friend, Lainey Younkin, a Registered Dietitian, about swapping our diet mentality for one of healthy long-term habits on an episode of the Side by Side Podcast.
One of my favorite take-aways from our conversation was when she said:
"I do what I do because life is too short and I don't want to get to the end of my life and think, wow, I wish I wouldn't have spent so much time stressing about food and my body."
Whew. I got chills when she said that.
You can listen to more of her advice and wisdom on episode 12.
Life isn't about dieting. And it's not about the scale.
Pay attention to whether you're living a life that keeps you energized, motivated, and excited to wake up the next day and do it all again. We all have days that feel better than others. The goal is not 100% sun-shiny, rose-colored glasses days.
But when your not-so-great days outnumber the good days, it's time to choose differently. Your natural strengths provide clues that can help you make better decisions for better wellbeing.
When you weigh your intentions and effort instead of your body, you're far more likely to finally see the changes you're working so hard to make!
Freedom is within your reach.