Are you one of those gals who feels like you have to jump on the scale and weigh yourself every morning to get your day going?
If that’s you, you’re not alone. So many people use their scales in an attempt to make themselves feel good. But let me tell you –this is a big mistake if your goal is to get thinner.
Whether you know it or not, that addictive relationship you might be having with your scale could be sabotaging your progress and making you feel terrible. Here’s why:
Firing Up Your Inner Fatty
Most people who struggle with weight issues tend to think of themselves as heavier than they actually are. If you’re like most American women, you probably have a tendency to grossly overestimate the size of your body and the size of your fat deposits.
I’ve read of studies in which women were asked to choose lengths of string which they believed would be the same measure as the distance around their hips. Each time the length of string chosen far exceeded the actual measurement of their hips.
This is because your negative image of yourself causes you to overexaggerate the size of your body in your mind’s eye. It’s almost as though your eyes have a memory and they remember seeing you at your heaviest weight, and this is the fat image you carry around with you each day.
Now imagine that you’re walking around thinking of yourself as fat, and you decide that you want to be thinner. Bound and determined for success, you vow to eat less and exercise more. But after a short while, it’s really difficult to keep up the momentum of the new changes. It feels unnatural and difficult. It’s kind of like rolling a big ball up a steep hill; a huge effort. So you find yourself grasping at straws, looking for something that will give you that quick hit of motivation to bolster your willpower so that you can keep on doing all the things you need to do to get thinner. But it’s so hard and you feel crazy conflicted. You want to be thinner. But you also really wish you could just sit down on the couch and eat everything that’s not nailed down.
At a time like this, there’s a full scale chemical warfare battle going on inside of you. With each thought you think, the hormones and chemicals being produced by your body will either make you feel better or worse. Watch it now. You’re definitely on a slippery slope and the next thing you do will determine if you’ll have enough willpower to keep on fighting tooth and nail trying to hang onto your weight control plan or will you give in and binge. What will you do?
If you step on a scale at a time like this with your emotions in turmoil , and you don’t get the response you were hoping for, your immediate reaction is, “Oh my God, I’m so f###### fat.”
When that happens, the stress chemicals coursing through your body are sending messages to your brain, firing up your internal image of you at your fattest. Instantly you’re hit with a flood of emotions that could overwhelm anyone. Anger, sadness, disappointment, shame and guilt all come to the party and weigh you down, making it almost impossible for you to get through the day without giving into a binge.
My Scale Hopping Experience
When I was a dieter, I used to play the scale game all the time. Each day I would make a habit of getting on and off my bathroom scale in various states of dress and undress, before/after meals, and dare I say it, after each time I went to the bathroom. It drove me nuts! My constant scale hopping was like playing the lottery. Every day I would climb on the scale wishing and hoping for a lower number and no matter how much I swore to myself it wouldn’t affect my mood, it always did. If my weight was down, it gave me unconscious permission to eat in celebration. If my weight was up, the pangs of guilt from overeating would put the squeeze on me to slim down, which increased my stress level. Depending upon which way it went, I either begrudgingly recommitted back to losing weight by tightening the belt and depriving myself more of the foods I loved or seeing a weight gain would often be enough to send me screaming like a banshee to the kitchen to dive headfirst into the nearest container of Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie® ice cream
Yet I never understood how the scale sabotaged me until I started to research what is known as the mind/body connection. That’s when I started to change many of my weight watching habits and began to learn how to live, eat and think like a naturally slender woman.
The Mind/Body Connection
There is a connection between your mind and body that can either make you sick or keep you well. Your thoughts can either make you fat or thin. The choice is yours! Dr. Nancy Bonios is the creator of The Bonios Plan: Beyond Dieting™ This is a non-diet weight control program that teaches the importance of changing your thoughts and behaviors to reshape your body as you learn to eat whatever you want in response to your physical hunger.
Dr Bonios says that as a dieter your mind is issuing all the wrong commands instructing your body to do what you don’t want; stay fat. Constantly monitoring your weight on the scale keeps you thinking like a fat person and you can’t be thin if you’re thinking fat. Checking your weight is a constant reminder that you’re still fat. It’s no secret that diets don’t work and with research showing that up to 98% of all diets fail, it’s confirmation that the route of deprivation doesn’t work.
Most people who have spent years dieting have developed negative feelings and
self-images. Your self-image is the picture that you have of yourself that determines what you are willing to do. It works much like a thermostat, in that it keeps you within a certain comfort zone. This ultimately determines your success in every area of your life. In order to break the mold and effectively change your negative and dis-empowering beliefs about food and your body, you have to develop new habits that will lead to generating behaviors that make you feel safe around food and at ease with your body.
Climbing on a scale will only light up your fat circuit board and keep you stuck in the old rut of thinking like a fat person. To break out of that fat trap, here are several reasons why you must stop weight watching and scale hopping:
Scales can’t be trusted: Perhaps the most upsetting part of weighing yourself is that the number on the scale does not accurately measure your progress. Scales only measure the pull of gravity on mass. It doesn’t accurately show the size or density of the mass it’s measuring. A pound of feathers and a pound of lead both weigh the same but the pound of feathers takes up a large amount of space and enough volume to fill an entire pillow case. A pound of lead can fit easily in the palm of your hand. The truth is you may only need to lose a relatively small amount of weight to get down to your ideal size. I don’t know why this is so but it is. In The Bonios Plan: Beyond Dieting™ audios, Dr. Nancy Bonios shares her experience saying, “I personally went down from a size 13/14 down to a 5/6 and in the process, I only lost 10 pounds.”
Weight fluctuates: It’s natural for your weight to go up and down all the time. It can vary as much as ten pounds up or down, depending upon time of month, water retention, hormones, environmental factors and even atmospheric pressure.
Scale Stress: Weighing yourself is a common form of self sabotage since it is a way of creating stress in your body, which hooks you right back into the diet mentality, giving you a constant reminder that you’re still overweight and making you feel helpless. This powerful emotional message “I’m fat” overrides any progress that you’ve been making in attempting to change your thoughts. Tap into your body’s wisdom
Naturally slim people never weigh themselves and therefore probably have no idea of their weight. This is because they don’t rely on an external authority to tell them how to control their eating. They have a peaceful, balanced and healthy relationship with food and they are guided to eat by listening to their bodies.
Take it easy: Change is never easy. To avoid the natural resistance that comes with wanting to make any change in your life, it’s best to be as gentle as possible with yourself. By getting on the scale, you create unnecessary stress and tension and sabotage your progress. Dr. Bonios says, “permanent change requires a climate of love and nurturing, not self loathing and disgust. Take my advice, and step away from the scale.
Andrea Amador, CEC. M.NLP is The Juicy Woman. She is a Body Image/Self Esteem Expert and a Professional Certified Empowerment Coach