If you really want to achieve a healthy body and mind, it’s time to break up with your scales! There are so many reasons why women need to ditch the scales. The scales are definitely not your friend when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy body – and there is a better way.
We’ve all been there, standing naked with empty stomachs, post a visit to the bathroom, fingers crossed as we gingerly step on to the scale, praying for a particular number to appear. These numbers may come from an outdated height and weight chart, a number impressed on us by the media or significant members of our family, or simply a number we have chosen that appeals to us.
The thing is, our weight is affected by a myriad of things – our hormones, how quickly food transits through our guts, how hydrated we are, our bodies’ muscle to fat ratio, and even how well we sleep. Even getting weighed at the same time every day doesn’t help. And while some may find the scales helpful if they have a large amount of weight to lose, it’s still much kinder – and I would argue more accurate – to measure yourself.
Why Women Need To Ditch The Scales
1. You Can Become Slim and Fit Without Ever Weighing Yourself
Measuring is a far more accurate way to track your journey to a healthy body. My personal trainer weighed me at the start of my healthy eating journey but did not tell me the number. We tracked my measurements on a regular basis, and before long the fact I was getting smaller, stronger and healthier was quite simply visible. I lost 4 dress sizes without getting weighed once. In short, I became slim and fit without ever weighing myself.
The only point at which I got weighed was when people asked “but how much weight have you lost”? I then asked my PT the original number, got weighed and made the calculation. That is the only reason I know I lost over 30 pounds (over 2 stone) .
The measurement method could work for you too.
2. You Can Wear a Smaller Dress Size But Still Weigh More
We are conditioned to think about size in terms of weight and it’s time we stopped. My PT, Debbie Wyer, shared a story that changed how I thought about weight forever. Before Debs started training others, she wanted to improve her eating habits and reduce her dress size. She weighed and measured herself at the start of her healthy eating and exercise journey, but just measured herself throughout. In the end, she lost lots of inches and 2 whole dress sizes. However, when she stepped on the scale, she had lost hardly any weight at at all. Could there be a more convincing argument for why women need to ditch the scales?
In Debs’ words,
“You can have a lower number on the scale and be a size 12, or have a higher number on the scale and be a size 8. It’s up to you.”
3. It’s Counterproductive
You see a number you like on the scales, you feel great. You see a number you don’t like, and you beat yourself up about it for hours, if not all day. When you feel bad about yourself, it’s harder to make healthy choices. You risk the ‘oh well, it’s not worth it anyway’ despair that leads to eating or drinking far too much. Next day, the number on the scale looks worse, and the cycle of self sabotage continues.
Measurements are kinder. You don’t see a pound fluctuation here and there, you just see your actual size. You can feel empowered and happy throughout your journey to a healthier body or you can be an emotional yo-yo. I know which I prefer, and it’s a powerful reason why women need to ditch the scales once and for all.
4. Weighing Ourselves May Distract Us and Take Away Our Power
If I start my day off by getting weighed, I’m judging myself before I’ve even had a cup of coffee. Like many other women, the positive or negative feeling I get from stepping on the scale stays with me for most, if not all, of the day. It’s great if it’s the former, but if it’s the latter, it’s going to distract me and make it difficult for me to concentrate on my tasks for the day. This means I’m going to be slower at reaching my goals and less able to become my best self. How can we be creative and effective if we walk around in a fog of unhappy self-judgement?
5. It’s a Waste of Happiness
In an interview with Stylist magazine, British actress and activist Jameela Jamil said that weighing herself every day for 21 years was a “horrifying waste of happiness”. I definitely know where she is coming from. I lost so many happy hours of my childhood obsessing over my weight. My parents encouraged a daily weigh in. They loved me dearly, genuinely believed that they were doing the right thing for me, and honestly thought that people were happier if the number on the scale was lower. In this case, they were right. On days when I saw the right kind of number I was on top of the world, but on days I didn’t, I felt bad about myself. Eventually this led me to a teenage journey through anorexia, IBS, and to a distorted body image that stays with me to this day. It was the last thing my parents wanted, and brought us all a lot of unhappiness.
Your happiness truly can affect your journey to a healthier body. It’s not simply about a healthy diet, or exercise, or any one thing at all. Your state of mind, the amount of rest you get, and how you treat yourself on a daily basis truly can affect how quickly you reach your goals.
Just one more thing –
The long and short of it is there are more effective, kinder, more supportive ways of measuring your progress to a healthier you than the scales could ever be. This is the best reason ever why women need to ditch the scales – and why I fervently hope you will!
For more on this subject, check out this piece by my PT, Debbie Wyer – What are you really trying to lose?