Scale and Happiness: Why They Don’t Go Well Together

Recently, after a few conversations with my clients, I realized how significantly my attitude towards my body and scale shifted over the past years. Freedom and neutrality are at the top of my desired feelings list. So my relationship with food, body, and scale evolved in a way that honors my desired feelings. If you crave to more freedom, ease, and neutrality in your life, I hope this article is helpful.

How and why I became independent from the scale and you should, too.RED1312020005_original

We all have a routine that we follow every morning. Whether we realize it or not but it determines the state of our mind and energy for the rest of the day. If you take care of yourself, your body responds with good energy, health and happiness. If you don’t, cravings, fatigue, and crankiness take over.

Sometimes we are not very careful choosing what activities go into our morning routine. Many women do one thing that adds very little value but can negatively impact the whole day. Welcome to the club of daily weighing.

Years ago my morning routine used to be: wake up, brush my teeth, weight myself, happy or unhappy based on that weight, decide what to eat for the rest of the day (or sometimes not to eat). Yoga and meditation followed but even they could not always reverse the negative effects of not being at the ‘perfect’ weight.

Basically, my mood and in some ways my day was dependent on a number that fluctuates from a ton of variables starting from water and sodium intake, to the weather and exercise the previous day.

Half of my day would be spent in internal struggle. I would look for justifications of the weight fluctuation and try to convince myself that I am still a beautiful and a worthy human being at this weight. It was definitely not a productive way to spend precious time.

As any instrument, scale is neutral, it is not bad or good. It can be used for good purposes but sometimes it can also harm. It is our attitude and emotional charge that can make scale helpful or hurtful. 

I think there is time and place for using the scale. If you are honest with yourself and recognize that daily weighing adds stress and agonizes you, then maybe you should let go of this practice until you can approach it with pragmatic neutrality.

The goal is not to hide your head in the sand and ignore your weight and your body. Quite the opposite. You do want to stay connected to the body’s cues (energy level, digestion, mood, ability to focus, tongue,  perception of stress) and based on what you see adjust your habits and diet. The idea is to understand our body, support it in the best way possible, help it thrive, and do it without judgement and negative dialogue.

Reasons Not to Weigh Yourself Daily:

Besides negatively impacting your self-esteem, there are a couple more reasons why weighing yourself everyday is not the greatest idea:

  • It fosters lack of connection between mind and body. We forget how to rely on internal cues and body feedback and instead learn to rely on the external measures of health. Relying on the external cues to determine if we are doing well is a modern world invention. We rely on a plate size to determine when to stop eating and on the clock to decide when to start, instead of relying on our hunger. The scale determines whether we need to lose weight and limit our food intake, instead of relying on the way we feel and how much energy we have. External cues lead to less understanding of the internal cues from our body. We forget how to listen to our bodies and how to interpret its feedback. Mind and body start to struggle instead of support each other.
  • Daily weighing is not an efficient method of determining your health or progress, if you are trying to lose weight. There too many variables day to day. Your weight fluctuates and it is normal, especially if you are a woman. There are multiple variable involved but here are some of the main ones:
    • Sodium intake the day before. Did you eat soup or sushi or went out for dinner? Most likely the amount of sodium was higher than usually and your body retains water. Kidney hold on to more water after a high-sodium intake instead of excreting it.
    • Hormonal changes/time of the month
    • Elimination irregularity
    • Not drinking enough. If you are dehydrated, your body will try to hold water in the body and it will lead to water retention.
    • Carb intake. There are a few theories about why our body retains water after eating carbs. A positive one is that our body stores glycogen in liver and muscles that is used when we need extra energy and don’t have food available. Along with it we store water. A more negative explanation of this the one that I heard from Dr Bass is that our body perceives sugar (and salt for that matter) as toxic materials and tries to dilute it with extra water so it is not as concentrated in the body anymore.
    • Food sensitivities. Even mild inflammation can make you retain more water.
  • It can be a trigger to self-sabotaging behaviors with food and a very mean inner dialogue. Both don’t help with creating healthy habits and consistent self-care practices.
  • There are more productive and pleasant things things to do in the morning!

Re-think Your Morning Routine and Create a New One

Habits are not easy to change. We like our routines and feel shaky when something is off. But doing the same thing over and over and hoping to feel differently is not an effective strategy. If you are not happy with the way you feel about yourself and about your body, it is time to create a new routine that will change the way you feel.

When was the last time when you re-evaluated your morning routine with an honest view to see if everything that you do goes in line with who you want to be and how you want to feel. Do your actions go in-line with your values or against them? We can be our biggest supporters and, surprisingly, we can create our own biggest stumble blocks.

When I thought about how I would like to feel in the morning, I decided that I wanted to feel happy, at ease and energized for the day ahead.

What about you? How do you want to feel? Does the scale help you to get closer to that feeling? If not, time to let it go.

Daily weighing didn’t help me so I ditched it and never looked back. It helped me create more space for nurturing energy-building practices and eliminate negative triggers. Now I have more freedom to choose my happiness level every morning instead of letting it depend on a piece of metal.

The Quickest Way to Freedom

Dropping a habit cold turkey is not for everyone. It creates emptiness. We are not comfortable with emptiness. In my opinion it is best to switch one habit to another one. This way the action changes but there is no feeling of missing something. No emptiness.

What would you substitute for weighing yourself? It has to be something that makes you feel good and helps you stay fit. Some time ago I used positive affirmations and they worked great!

Now I like to come up with 3 things that I am grateful for while I brush my teeth in the morning. It feel my heart with gratitude and love.

What would support your values, your desired state of being and your fitness goals better than the scale?

Here are a few things to try:

  • A quick self-massage before the shower to improve circulation and show some love to your body.
  • Dry brushing to get the lymph moving and to create a mild detoxification effect.
  • Positive affirmations or gratitude practice to charge up with positive energy.
  • Deep breaths to reduce stress and balance out stress hormones that create unnecessary cravings.
  • A fun short dance in front of a mirror to get happy hormones flowing and your heart beating.

What will you do instead of daily weighing?

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