Thursday, 28 May 2015

Why You Need To Stop Weighing Yourself

The scale is not a reliable tool for gauging success with for a weight loss programme. You can achieve body transformation without that dreaded scale, trust me you really can. 

In fact, I think the scale is probably the worst measure of true success since it cannot tell you whether you're getting more fit or healthier. Attention, attention! Stop the weighing habit and start focusing on real clues your efforts are paying off. 

Let's face it, if you weigh yourself in an obsessive-compulsive-fashion, you are a serious scale addict and if you let the number on the scale affect how you feel, you are probably a bit too involved with that appliance. Danger, danger get rid of that scale now! The most common reason people give for weighing themselves every day or multiple times a week is to monitor an eye on potential weight gain. You might say it serves as a sort of “checks and balances” duty. But does it have to be this way? 


The scale simply cannot tell you many things or what is going on internally.  And it surely don't tell you difference between muscle and fat, and while fat is bulky and lumpy, muscle is sleek and shapely. Muscle also gives you strength, agility and power. Muscle can be used as fuel, but it is not the primary fuel source. Fat on the other hand is a storage fuel for times of famine. It also shields our body's organs and provides a protective layer from the outside world. Without some body fat we cannot survive, and without some muscle you'd not have the strength to get out of bed. But while fat is necessary, many of us have quite a bit more stored than is really necessary. 

Most of us never consider our body's ratio of fat to muscle, but instead we rely on the bathroom scale. We've been told we need to weigh a certain amount, or be within a certain range to the point that many who start eating well and exercising consistently quickly abandon that strategy when they don't see what they want on their bathroom scale. Despite their body visibly changing, they still are disappointed because the scale won't budge. 

Consider those first hints that something is changing: Your waistline may be getting looser, your rings may be slipping off, your face may start to look a little slimmer, and your shoes, yes your shoes will start to become too big for your feet. Many start losing a bit in their hands and feet first. So as you can see there are many clues that you can use to see if you are losing weight. --- forget the scale, I repeat forget the scale, just throw it away. 

You may own and operate a car? Do you take care of it the same way you take care of yourself? Do you store gasoline in the trunk, in case you can't find a gas station? Probably not. Do you stockpile extra oil and batteries? No, probably not. Then why do you worry about dinner when you haven't finished eating lunch? Have you ever gone ahead and eaten something because you might get hungry later? Why do we worry so much about food when there is no scarcity? If you eat a balanced meal and not consume so much calories, you'll be fine. 

I think the problem isn't that we are unhappy by the numbers so much as we expect certain numbers. If you are dieting, you want to see a lower number, but what happens when you do? Do you reward yourself for a job well done? Do you decide you've done so well, you might as well have a treat? The scale habit can be broken by adopting other ways to measure your progress, such as keeping a daily journal. A food log or eating journal gives you a way to chart what you are doing, and also to mark evidence of weight loss, or greater health. You're not stopping one thing so much as you are starting another. Ending one habit always involves beginning another.


Here's a great way to help you move away from consistently weighing yourself, start measuring your hunger level. Get a notebook or journal to write in. Rate your hunger level on a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being starving, and 10 being so full you'd explode if you ate another bite (most people should never experience either 1's or 10's). On this scale a 5 would be comfortable, 6 slightly above comfortable (maybe could have stopped sooner), 7 you over ate, and an 8 is starting to be a bit ridiculous, especially if you supposedly want to lose weight. A 9 or 10 is flat out crazy. Try it for a week or so and see how it goes. 


A 3 could mean you're hungry. Not starving, not going to come unglued if you don't eat, but hungry. A two is waiting a bit longer than you probably should, and a 1 doesn't occur except when you're simply tied up and cannot stop to eat or you've gotten yourself stuck in a situation where there simply is no food long past when you've gotten hungry. You should rarely feel the hunger of a 1 or the fullness of a 9 or 10.

You must decide the levels for yourself, but I'd suggest making an effort to wait until you are a 3 or lower to eat and making an effort to stop at or near a 5 or 6. Sometimes you may notice the sensation of hunger, note your hunger level, and then choose to wait. Don't worry about it whether you eat or not for now. The purpose is to get you to keep track of something besides your weight.

Every day you successfully write down what time and your hunger level, you get a gold star, or a smiley face, or some other "fun" reward. Rewards should not be food. Instead make them be nourishing to your soul. Some people like stickers, some like to reward themselves later with a massage, new outfit,  do whatever you like. I like those happy stickers it as makes me feel good.

Your goal is to achieve 5 or more "rewards" for the week. If you only manage two is that bad? Heck, no. It's fantastic because it's an improvement over the week before. The next week make an effort to at least achieve what you did the week before and possibly exceed it. Slowly you'll develop a new habit, until you're achieving 5 or more days every week of waiting for real hunger, and stopping at satisfaction. When you learn to understand your body's various hunger signals, you'll start losing pounds and inches I can guarantee this ---and guess what? you wouldn't remember to keep weighing yourself, well I hope not. 

Furthermore, if you feel you have to weigh yourself, do it, but not all time and note the numbers. Personally, I couldn't care less how much I weigh, seriously. What if my body was solid gold? It would weigh a lot wouldn't it, and would I care? No, I'd feel pretty darn good about it actually. I'm worth my weight in gold, and so are you. 


Sherldine Tomlinson.