“Hi, my name’s Jess and I used to be a scale-oholic”… Scale obsession
All jokes aside, it’s true! Long before I was a coach, I suffered for several years with an eating disorder and my mood, my worth and the outcome of my day was highly dictated by the number I saw on the scale.
I am sure many women reading this right now may be able to relate! Whether you have been there, or are in that place right now, it’s a very debilitating place to be…. Where a small tool can have the ability to yield such an effect on your emotional state.
During this time in my life, I had no education when it came to training or nutrition. I went by what I saw models in magazines doing (yes, I am that old!) and what I saw on the internet. You know the drill, eat clean, 1200cals a day, as much exercise as possible and then you’ll be a shredded lean bean right?? I did all these things – I lived on clean foods, restricted myself from foods I enjoyed, did classes mainly cardio-based daily (sometimes twice a day…) Was I skinny? Yes, I was. Was I happy? No, I wasn’t… Scale obsession
It was never enough, to be honest, no matter how small I got I always wanted more and I wasn’t able to enjoy my life, go out with my husband and friends and as I said, I was obsessed with the scale.
If the number on the scale rose, I would torture myself. Whether it be restricting food, doing more cardio after work or even saying no to the outing I had planned… if I saw that number rise, my self-worth rapidly declined.
I always felt I was failing, why was all my hard work not reflected in that number dropping?
Eventually, I reached a point where enough was enough and thank goodness, I chose to make a change. I sought out a coach (the amazing Alice) and started to work through my eating disorder and relationship with my body and food.
We worked through many different elements and also embracing macro tracking and flexible dieting played a huge role in transforming my mindset. BUT one catalyst to change was becoming educated on WHY the scale fluctuates and then choosing to take a BREAK from the scale. Scale obsession
As I gained KNOWLEDGE the scale lost its POWER. I realised that this little tool is as temperamental as a woman on her period 😛
Once I grasped this, I realised that I needed other methods to track my progress. We took almost a year OFF the scale and went only by progress pics and cms to monitor where I was at. This was such a turning point for me and I noticed a huge increase in my overall happiness, mood and self-worth.
So, let’s talk about the main educational points that helped me move away from the scale, and maybe, you can apply these also:
- The scale, for women, can be highly influenced by hormones. Every female is different but for some whether it be during ovulation, pre-period or the first few days of their bleed it’s extremely normal to retain water, see a change in digestion and this, of course, will raise the number on the scale.
- Stress and lack of sleep – Again these factors can cause changes to digestion, water retention, recovery and have an effect on the scale.
- Training – But more training means the scale will drop right? WRONG! After resistance sessions, there can be inflammation in the muscle yielding a temporary gain on the scale
- Medication – Some medications can cause water retention within the body or constipation
- Food intolerances/Digestive Issues – some of you may be blessed with guts of steel but for many high fodmap foods, artificial sweeteners, etc can have an effect on digestion leading to constipated, bloating, etc and when bowel movements are less efficient the scale will change
- Time of day you weigh – I used to weigh myself several times throughout the day but of course, fluid intake, food volume and bowel movements will cause the number to change
The above points all cause the scale number to change and when you reflect on them, you can see how easily these can occur in your day to day life. Does this mean you are gaining fat or your efforts are not yielding results? OF COURSE NOT!!
Is it worth ruining your day over? Feeling like a failure? HELL NO!!
Understanding these points, helped me step off the scale, put it in the cupboard and feel freedom from what was a form of prison for me.
Whilst the scale can be useful AT TIMES, I encourage you, if it is affecting you mentally, why not take a break and I hope these points help you start to move away from feeling the scale is the most accurate and reliable form of tracking your progress. Scale obsession