How I feel about stepping on a scale is a sure way to tell if I’m living or dieting, balanced or unbalanced.
When I’m sane and balanced and taking care of myself, I can step on a scale and think, hmmmm, interesting. I feel like a scientist gathering a little more information about an experiment. I could step on it every day and marvel at how it goes up and down and stays the same and never feel anything in particular about it. It is just a tool to help me stay healthy.
When I’m unbalanced and in on/off diet mode, I either avoid the scale altogether and gain weight or allow it to rule how I feel about myself. At my very worst, if the scale hasn’t moved in a favourable direction, I eat to punish myself for not having lost weight.
And I know a lot of women who react the same way, a temporary insanity that is brought about by dieting and a sure sign that we are stuck in an “all or nothing” attitude about feeding and caring for ourselves.
Right now I’m pretty balanced, so talking about the other scenario is like describing some unusual creature of the night who emerges occasionally in daylight to drink at a specific watering hole. You know what I mean. I feel detached – not like I’m actually describing myself and something I am fully capable of falling into.
Happily, after two years of very hard work and Talking It Off with my buddies, I rarely suffer from scale insanity. But I do still weigh myself regularly – at least once a week.
I know there are very good arguments for throwing away the scales especially if they trap you into a dieting mindset. However, after losing 30 pounds, throwing away the scale, then gaining the weight back countless times, I had to do something different.
The use of a scale doesn’t define me as a dieter any more than the use of an oven defines me as a chef. It’s what role I give the scale in my life that defines me as a dieter. As long as it’s just a tool to give me information, then I’m sane. When it starts determining my self-worth, that’s a problem!
So my advice is, keep the tool and change the mindset.
Everyone has to figure out the best use of this powerful tool. The only weight I pay attention to is first thing in the morning with no clothes – can’t slip into any mind games or worry about taking off a wedding ring or how much coffee I’ve drunk.
I only use a digital scale and never weigh myself on anyone else’s scale. If I go to a Weight Watchers meeting, I consider that weight unofficial and for their records only.
If I’m not feeling very good about how I’ve been eating, I see stepping on a scale the same way I see opening a bill when the finances aren’t too healthy. It’s WAY better to know what you owe than to keep on spending in blind hope that it’s not too bad.
Other people don’t own scales and only weigh themselves at Weight Watchers. I say – do what works for you. There is no absolute truth when it comes to the use of scales. Play around and figure out what helps you stay sane and balanced. If the scale is telling you something other than your weight, change how you use them.
No more scale insanity!