I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t think about her weight. I wish I could say I don’t, but I do and I’m betting it’s something you struggle with too. Our society values appearance and it seems like the thinner and fitter, the better. We see it when we are waiting to check out at the grocery store and in the Victoria’s Secret commercials that I quickly make my husband turn off. And it affects how we feel about ourselves.
We often look to our scale to tell us how we’re doing. When we like the number we see, we are on cloud nine and all is right with the world! When it goes up, we want to drown our sorrows in a tub of ice cream. This roller coaster has WORN ME OUT and I have finally decided to climb down off of it. So, I put my scale in the closet and it only comes out once a week. And here’s why:
THE SCALE IS NOT ACCURATE
I’m not saying your scale is broken. I’m sure it’s fine. Unless maybe you threw it the last time you weighed in after a night of pizza and cupcakes. But unless it’s a fancy, expensive scale, it is not measuring fat lost, it is measuring total body composition, including water, muscle, bone, etc. And a lot of things can alter that number so that it’s higher, even if you haven’t actually gained weight.
Hormones – You knew I was going to start here. I bloat when I ovulate and I retain water when I’m about to start my period. The scale can go up anywhere from 2 – 5 pounds during that time. Isn’t being a woman fun?
Sodium – If you eat a lot of sodium, the scale will reflect the water you are retaining. And maybe you usually watch your sodium, but you had tortilla chips and salsa last night. The number on the scale will go up because you’re retaining water from the chips.
Weights – You’re lifting weights to gain lean muscle and you’re so proud of yourself! But you get on the scale and the number is up and you just want to cry. But guess what? When you lift weights, your muscles hold water and that water weighs something. And actually the more muscle you build, the more water they’ll hold, because it improves their performance. So you are doing something good for your body, but the scale is telling you something different.
NOBODY KNOWS THAT NUMBER EXCEPT FOR YOU
This is a lesson I learned from my wise husband. Two years ago, I had worked really hard to get to a weight that I was happy with. But if the scale went up even a little bit, I would be upset. And one day my husband said ‘Do you think your weight is written on your forehead? Nobody knows it but you”. And it was like a lightbulb went off.
I don’t tell my weight to my mom or even my closet friends. Girls talk about a lot of things, but not that number. And let’s take a second to picture a world where our weight flashes like a neon sign on our forehead. Now let’s thank the good Lord that WE DON’T LIVE IN THAT WORLD.
The only time the number on the scale matters is if your doctor tells you it’s too high and not good for your health. Then it matters. Apart from that, it only matters if you let it. If you want a way to measure whether you’ve gained or lost weight, you can:
Track your measurements – Instead of getting on the scale everyday, take your measurements once a week. They’ll be a lot more accurate.
How do your clothes feel – Your clothes are way better at telling you if you’ve gained weight than the scale, because the second you put on your favorite pair of jeans and they feel tight, you know it’s time to cut back on the tacos.
Look in the mirror – Do you know how many times I would look in the mirror and think I looked pretty good only to get on the scale and feel completely defeated? How silly is that! How we feel about ourselves matters way more than a number.
IT MAKES ME OBSESSIVE
When I was weighing in every day, I was spending a lot of time thinking about my weight, what I was going to eat and how much exercise I was going to do that day and I was driving myself crazy. If I made one little mistake, I beat myself up about it and half the time it would lead to me eating a whole bag of Doritos.
When I stopped tracking every single thing I ate and stopped thinking about what the scale might say the next morning, a cool thing happened. I started to eat more intuitively and found that I actually made healthier choices. And because I wasn’t thinking about food all the time, I wasn’t as hungry. I found I actually really liked a lot of the healthy food I had incorporated into my diet. And my brain felt freer and don’t we all need that?
IT DOESN’T DETERMINE MY WORTH
Girls, the size of our jeans says nothing about who we are. I hope you hear that. I’m saying it to you and to my own self. And I wish every little girl and teenage girl and college girl could hear that too. We are highly prized, not because of our size but because of who made us. We’ve got to stop equating our jean size to our self worth. And like Forrest Gump says ‘That’s all I’ve got to say about that’.
So if you want to keep track of your weight, here’s what I want you to do. Bring the scale out of your closet once a week on the same day, at the same time, wearing the same clothes (or none at all…whatever). This will give you the most accurate account of your weight and it will help you to stop focusing so much on the scale and start living a mentally and physically healthier life!
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