Is Your Scale Sabotaging Your Weight Loss?
By MELISSA COSTELLO
Owning a scale seems to be the norm in most households. After all, isn't keeping our weight in check a good thing? Isn't it healthy to weigh ourselves to make sure we're staying on track?
Or could the scale be the biggest saboteur of weight loss, health and possibly even self-esteem?
From working with thousands of clients over the years, I've learned that most people, especially women, feel controlled and/or compelled by a very specific number on their scale.
They often get a sense of worth, happiness and value from seeing that "magic number." But if that number doesn't appear, they feel deflated and may even feel self-hatred and negative self-judgment about their bodies and their lives. The same can be true for men, too, if they're trying to build muscle or lose fat.
For others, stepping on a scale every day can be motivating, especially for people who are just beginning their weight-loss journey or starting a new workout program.
But in my experience, I've found that the daily weighing ritual is generally more discouraging than not. Even if that number does keep going down, we seem to be basing our own worth and value on that number, rather than focusing on what is important: health!
Most people trying to lose weight live in the future: "When I weigh X pounds, I can wear a bikini," or "When I am 20 pounds lighter, I will be happier." You get the idea.
This kind of thinking puts us in a holding pattern -- life ends up passing by while we wait for that magic number to appear on the scale. The problem with being attached to a specific weight is that for many people it's just not realistic.
It may have been possible to achieve that weight when we were in high school or in our 20s, but as we get older, our bodies change: We have babies, hormones get out of whack, our metabolism slows down.
That's not to say that you can't weigh what you did in high school or in your 20s, but that might not be the healthiest weight for your body as you are right now.
The first thing I tell my clients is either give the scale away or put it where they won't see it every day. By weighing ourselves daily, it's easy to get discouraged and feel like our efforts are for nothing.
When people get to that place in their minds, they usually give up any healthy habits and go on a binge that will set them back. Or they just give up.
Being controlled by a number is never fun. Our weight often rules us: It controls what we eat and how we act. I've had people confess to me that they wouldn't go to a party because they weighed five pounds more than their goal weight. Others have told me that they buy dresses two sizes smaller as motivation to lose weight.
We become disconnected from what is important: truly living life, making connections with others, self-acceptance, internal health and having fun.
Health starts from inside of us and so does happiness. If you're letting a number on your scale control how you feel about yourself, you might want to take a deeper look at what is important to you.
Do you want life to pass by while you wait for a number on the scale, or do you want to eat healthy, exercise, laugh, play, connect with others and have fun? You decide.
Readers -- Do you have a scale at home? Do you weigh yourself every day or intermittently? Do you get upset if you see your weight go up (or down) on the scale? Do you have a "magic number"? Leave us a comment below and let us know.
Melissa Costello, the founder of Karma Chow, is a certified nutritionist, author and celebrity chef and cleanse expert. Melissa is the author of The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook and Clean in 14 Detox, a food-based cleansing program designed to help you adopt healthy eating. She regularly contributes to national publications, such as Women's Health and Shape magazine. She has appeared on Better Life TV, San Diego Living and TV Guide's Secrets of the Hollywood Body.