Maybe you have experienced something like this:
You are eating great, really staying on track with nutritious foods and serving sizes that are enough for your body. Your meals support your health, make you feel your best and allow you to think, move and sleep better than ever. You’re taking time to be kind to your body and you feel like it’s paying off. Your jeans are fitting looser and you’re performance time in the gym (or out in the neighborhood, if you prefer nature) is improving.
“This is working!“, you think, and you’re feeling pretty darn good.
So, you step on the scale and are sure that you will be down some weight.
But you are not.
Immediately you furrow your brow and feel perplexed about the last week you had. You know, the week where you were eating the best foods for your body and thinking clearly and getting enough sleep and moving and simply enjoying life? The week that you thought these lifestyle changes were working?
And, now, here you are, standing on a scale that reads the same number as when you weren’t doing any of these positive things. What gives?
It can be tempting to use a scale that measures your body’s gravitational force to the earth as the measure of your healthy eating and living success. When the scale reads up, your body feels a quick shudder as you remember last week’s indulgences and time on the couch and when it reads down, you celebrate (maybe do a little dance) and think you are on the right path.
But what does it mean when the scale doesn’t budge at all?
Were your efforts in vain? Were the positive feelings about the new habits you committed to a silly joke? Are you wasting your time? Maybe you did not try hard enough and you need to eat even less and work out even more? Worse and least helpful, maybe throw in the towel? You’ll never get the results you want so why even try at all?
Don’t give into this thinking! Replace it immediately with thoughts that are actually true and positive.
The scale measures your weight–in pounds, ounces, kilograms, whatever measurement method you prefer. That is it. That is all it does. We could finish here.
But let’s dig deeper.
Yes, the scale measures weight, but it does not measure your worth, your ability to improve your health, your determination, your credibility and, very importantly, it does not measure your progress.
Really. It doesn’t.
Of course, weighing less is a natural occurrence after your body sheds unwanted fat (or muscle). And of course, weighing more is a natural occurrence after your body gains fat (or muscle), but weighing less, more, or even the same is not always directly related to the progress you are making as it relates to your diet and lifestyle.
You are probably familiar with different reasons you weigh more or less throughout any given day. You lose weight because you drank less the day before (and you’re thirsty for it today). You gain weight because you drank more the day before. You retain water because it’s that time of the month. You retain water because you ate salt (or any food, for that matter). We could go on and on about why the scale reads higher or lower or stays the same but that is not the important idea, here.
The idea is that the scale will change from time to time. It will go up and down, then up, then down, then down, then maybe up and it will stay the same.
And this will keep happening.
This is OK and to be expected so remember that when you weigh yourself, you’re only seeing a number that may have very little to do with the healthy, positive changes you are making. It will go up and down and stay the same but it does not reveal how healthy you are.
It doesn’t remind you that you are replacing negative and untrue thoughts about your body with thoughts that are positive and true. It doesn’t remind you that you are worthwhile to take care of simply because you are a human being and it doesn’t offer you any information about yourself besides a number that doesn’t matter to anyone else, anyway.
You are your own person and you can choose to weigh yourself (or not) as often as you like. But if you are tired of measuring your progress according to what a scale says, know that you don’t have to and you are better off if you don’t.
Track your progress by how your body feels. How it moves and sleeps and digests and fits into your clothing. Track it by how your willingness to explore more positive approaches to life is expanding and how your peace of mind is fueling the capability to keep growing into an amazing individual.
When you feel great but have not lost any weight, well, then, so be it.
Image from Guitar Town.