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  • Linnette Johnson

Ditch the Scale- 5 Reasons Why

1. Renew Your Ability to Listen to What Your Body Needs When you first get on the scale what are your thoughts about food, exercise your body?? I'm guess some of those thoughts are how to reduce more calories or what diet should be tried or what should be restrictions? On top of those thoughts you may even be thinking about how exercise could help with burning calories and fat instead of all the health benefits you will lose from removing food and over exercising. Ditching the scale will help you to shift from a diet culture mentality to a more intuitive way of eating and moving. This means that you will eat when you are hungry and move your body in a way that is nourishing to you mind, body and spirit. I know it's a shocker but your body will tell you when you are hungry, full and need to move. So allow your body to eat and gain the nutrients it needs when it is needed and move when needed in ways you enjoy too. Basically, ditching the scale will allow you to view food and movement in a healthy way that is joyous and beneficial. There is not a one size fits all so follow and listen to your body. “Renewing” your ability to listen to your body is something that is innate in inside all of us. We were born with this ability. Watch an infant or a toddler some time. They will tell you when hungry or thirst or even when they need to move their bodies. It's really a simple concept. However, somewhere along the way we form habits and a mentality that gets in the way of our innate ability to listen to our body's cues for food, movement, sleep etc. 2. You Are Not An Object Your body is not an object to be measured. There are so many articles and websites out there about how, when, why someone should weight their selves from first thing in the morning etc. The information out there is exhausting, misguiding and antiqued. My opinion is that never is the best time to weight one's self. Breaking this down- you could step on the scale three times throughout the day and each time the number on the scale would be different. It could be due to water fluctuation, food, exercise, hormones, etc. This is because you are a person. You are a living human being. You are not an object. You are not meant to weight the same at every given moment. 3. Your Mental Health Will Thank You Let's look at the roller coast ride we end up going through when we weigh ourselves whether at home or at the doctor's office etc. We see the number on the scale and this is where the roller coaster of emotions begin. There could be an emotional “high”, because one week we experience feelings of joy, accomplishment and more with a 3 to 5lb weight loss. Then at some point there is a gain of may be 1 to 2lbs that same week or the next week. Remember this could be water fluctuation, food, exercise, hormones but we really don’t know. And now there is blaming ourselves, frustration, depression, thoughts of failure. At this point- 1 of 2 things occur- you either giving up or begin restricting even more. Sound familiar? Well, you are not alone. A study completed by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that there is a negative relationship between self-weighing and mood, self-esteem, body image, and eating behaviors (1). It was noted that this negative impact was more apparent among women and younger individuals. Overall, putting too much emphasis on weigh-ins can be dangerous to your mental health and eating disorders can result due to this roller coaster ride. 4. Weight Is Not A Predictor of Health Not a lot of people realize that weight is an overused method of determining health. I’m sure you’ve seen the BMI (body mass index) chart at your doctor’s office that supposedly lets you know if you are in a “healthy range” for you height. Well, the BMI was created as an easy way to categorize weight in population-based studies. However, research shows that it is not an effective way to assess an individual’s health and wasn't meant to be used as it is today. For example, it doesn’t take into consideration things like muscle mass, body fat percentage, or where your body stores fat. Weight, is just a piece of information, that does not indicate the presence or absence of health by itself. There are plenty of thin people living with diabetes, heart conditions etc, and there are people who might be overweight as far as some tables or scales would suggest who are actually very healthy. Furthermore, weight is just a number on the scale that doesn't advise what a person can or cannot due. Can you run a mile? Can you walk comfortably? Can you pick up your child? These kind of things are what really matter to your life. Unfortunately, weight stigma occurs because of this barbaric, antiqued view of someone's physical appearance instead of actually learning what a person truly can do. We are all more than our weight... 5. You Are Meant for More Let me ask you this. If you weren’t thinking about dieting and the scale all the time, what would you be doing instead? We waste so much time counting calories, weighing ourselves, researching diets, and all the stuff diet culture tells us that is so important. But why? We all are here for a purpose, and I am pretty sure that our purpose is not to weigh a certain number on the scale. PERIOD! No matter what you choose because I get it - You may not be comfortable quitting the scale completely. And if you’re not ready today, that’s okay too. However I would like to recommend that the next time you are about to step on that scale, think about whether that action is serving you mind, body and spirit. Does the information you receive from the scale really make a difference in your life for the better? Why are you really stepping on that scale?

References: Pacanowski CR, Linde JA, Neumark-Sztainer D. Self-Weighing: Helpful or Harmful for Psychological Well-Being? A Review of the Literature. Curr Obes Rep. 2015 Mar;4(1):65-72. doi: 10.1007/s13679-015-0142-2. PMID: 26627092; PMCID: PMC4729441.


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