Just like the figure on the bottom of your bank balance, the number staring back up at you from the scales, seems to hold mystical powers!
For some of us, it has the power to make or break our day, to have us feeling amazing or reduced to tears.
Those who avoid the scales may be in fear and denial; either of confirmation against facts that medically they are over or under weight and they know deep down they have to change. Or if you've been under or over weight for a sustained or significant period of your life so far, then there's a fair chance that you have grown to resent the scales. So much so that you may well have stopped using them altogether.
If you're just starting your weight loss journey, you may be a little confused as to whether you should be weighing yourself, or not.. but there really is no right or wrong answer!
But, the approach to weigh or not to weight will be individual to each person.
I know Lucy much prefers taking measurements and photos of herself to track her progress. Even by noticing a difference of how you feel in yourself and your clothes is a massive tracker!
THE DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO WEIGHING:
"I weigh myself and as a result, I often feel unhappy. Therefore if I stop weighing myself I'll be happier (or at least less unhappy)."
As simplistic as this is, it can really work. If you put your happiness above anything else then by taking away the things that make you unhappy can definitely put you in better place.
Unfortunately, not ever weighing yourself could be hiding an underlying issue with your weight, and therefore if your overall health is at risk by being under or over weight.
Alternatives to weighing such as measuring inches, are useful tools and done properly are quite accurate. Be sure to take photos of yourself and take measurements using a tape measure and note these down so you can refer back to these and compare.
MONTHLY WEIGH INS
Each month our bodies go through a complete cycle, and so choosing this as the time to check our weight has some logic.
A monthly check in on your weight allows you to work with the flow of your life, without it becoming the main focus of it.
You could potentially be getting your eating wrong for 30 days before you start seeing the result.
WEEKLY WEIGH INS
Weekly check ins are the favourite of most “diet clubs”, but we think that’s just because it’s a regularity that can be easily managed.
Most of us work and live on a week to week basis. We shop weekly, we go out at the weekend etc. So a weekly weigh in makes sense.
There are still 6 days without the "stress" of the weigh in.
Weight anxiety for some people can start building days before a weigh in, which can make a week seem very short and stressful. Which in itself can hinder your weightloss efforts.
DAILY WEIGH INS
This is where opinion gets most divided. For many daily weigh ins are the Holy Grail, and for others a waking nightmare.
You can very quickly use trial and error to your advantage. Seeing quick results is helpful for many of us to keep the momentum going.
For many ladies this level of focus on weighing can become obsessive, so if you're using this method remember there are loads of different factors which can influenced the number.
If you are weighing:
- If you weigh every single week, be sure to weigh yourself at the same time as your body fluctuates throughout the day.
- Before stepping on scales say 3 positive things aloud about yourself such as what you admire/love/are proud of yourself for.
- If there is an increase in number on the scales, don't let this number define your mood or attitude towards yourself.
- My main piece of advice if you're on a weight loss journey is, don’t always go by the scales to track your progress, take photos, measurements & how you're feeling!
We asked the beautiful Esther, RwL yoga teacher & an eating disorder recovery coach, for her advice on how to manage being weighed without it defying you.
"From my personal experience of loosing almost my entire body weight due to anorexia and then having to gain 38kg to rebuild my organs and muscles and keep me in a physically happy and healthy place if anyone understands the torment of what stepping on a pair of scales can do to yourself it’s me!
I had to be weighed very regularly to make sure I was progressing in my journey back to health. I’ve been recovered for 3 years now but only in the last 18 months can I truly say I’m free of my fear and attachment to the number the scales show me.
How have I got here:
I wrote on the scales in my house. I scribbled in market pen quotes and notes of love from my boyfriend, family and myself on them. “You are not just a number Ess” “a number is mathematical Ess you are magical” “you are kind and caring and strong regardless what number you are” This really helped me retain my sense of motivation to recover and not let the increasing number rob more years of life and fun from me.
Education. Due to the large amount of weight I had to restore I worked in depth on the science of body weight and body composition with my therapist. Understanding that the body is 90% fluid for example helped ease my anxiety when I was being weighed 2x a week and kept seeing various readings. Things like stress, hormonal changes, bowel movements, liquid drunk that day all contribute to the number the scales show and it wasn’t until I understood this could I begin to let go of my control over the number. Weight gain / loss isn’t linear at all which is probably the hardest most frustrating concept to grasp. That what goes in or out cannot actually be measured 100% accurately despite your best efforts to try and control yourself. Make peace with this and let it go and your journey to restoring weight or loosing weight will become a lot less stressful believe me.
Mirror work. Mirror work was something I started when I was fully restored to my healthy ‘ideal’ weight a few years ago. It involves looking in the mirror before you weigh yourself and saying 5 things aloud to yourself of positive and loving meaning. “I am beautiful..... I am a good mum....I am a loyal friend.....I love my eyes.....I am a loving wife” Then I would step on the scales glance down quickly write down or take a photo of the reading then hop off and look back in the mirror and repeat those 5 affirmations to myself again. This method is focused on paying more attention to yourself than the number. This exercise not only strengthens your positive mindset through saying the thoughts aloud (the brain embeds audible recognition stronger than thought recognition) but you are affirming yourself away from your physical appearance. Does weighing xyz pounds off your target mean you’re not a good mother? NO. does weighing over xyz whilst your critical mind wants you to mean you’re not a loyal friend? Hell NO.
All of these exercises are about seeing yourself as a whole being, as the others in your life see you not judging yourself and measuring your worth on a mathematical number.
I hope you find these useful. Please never forget that the kindness in your heart, the sparkle in your eyes, the memories that you’ve lived, and the love you have inside yourself can never ever be measured by a number so don’t let one define you."
Truly beautiful Esther 👏🏼💕