We’ve all been there.
You’re on your latest new health kick. You’ve been doing everything “right”. Only to jump on the scales and have nothing change.
For some, this can come as a pang of frustration or guilt, while for others this can be heartbreaking.
Starting a new diet or “lifestyle” change comes with so many promises; a glimmer of hope. And, if you have ever dieted before, you will know the rush.
Tell me, do any of these situations sound familiar?
- It’s a Sunday night, and you’re lying in bed running through your new diet plans for the week. You feel excited, this could be it. You start planning for this new improved life that offers all of these wonderful things should you reach your goal. You think of all the new confidence you will have, and the new, exciting things you will try if you can just reach X kilos.
- You’ve been on your diet for a week now, things are going relatively well, however you find your mind is consumed with food thoughts. You are always thinking about when your next meal will be, and when chatting with friends the conversation always seems to turn towards your new diet. You’re finding very little time to concentrate on anything else?
- It’s time to measure your progress. Your weekly check-in comes with a side of nervous excitement. You joke you have a love/hate relationship with the scales, but in reality, more often than not you are left feeling deflated, and defeated. When the numbers don’t meet your expectations you feel you have failed. What’s the point?
And the cycle starts again.
When we measure our success by the scales, we are limiting ourselves to one very narrow concept of health. And when we don’t meet those standards, we beat ourselves up.
- “I have no self control”,
- “I’m not trying hard enough”,
So what do we do? We give up, or we try harder? We restrict more, and risk harming ourselves over helping.
While this cycle can seem inevitable, we actually have more and more research showing that when we eat and move our bodies with self-compassion i.e.: do what feels good (and leave weight monitoring on the backburner), we are actually so much better at looking after ourselves.
Moving our focus away from the scales allows us to tune into our bodies needs, and feel more relaxed around food.
It allows us to feed ourselves in a way that supports us when we need it most – when are truly hungry, when we are unwell, or on those days might just need a little more nutrition.
It also removes the guilt or worry about how this will affect my “results’ on the scale tomorrow.
Because in a life well lived, should we really have to stress about eating that creamy chicken soup when we are sick? I really hope not.
As I write, I am also hyper-aware that the thought of not weighing yourself might be alarming, or even a little scary for some. And if this is you, I am here for you. And I hear you.
However, if you are someone who usually feels worse after getting off the scales, then it might be time to shift your health related goals in another direction.
I’m no gambler, but I can almost guarantee you will feel better for it. And if you feel ready, I’d invite you to explore what health means to you outside of those numbers.
You might be surprised.