Article by: Rachel Chemerynski
My college mornings went pretty much like this: Hit the snooze, wake up, pee, weigh myself. This would then quickly follow with tears or joy or tears of shame, mostly the latter. Sometimes I’d secretly go back into the bathroom (where we stored our rusty old friend) multiple times a day, desperately praying for the number to go down, hoping that it was just a “glitch” the first time.
You see, I wanted so badly to lose weight and be skinny that I let the big, bad scale make or break my day. Indeed, I allowed that one number to completely take control of my life.
Sound familiar? Whether you’re a scale fanatic as I was, or simply need to lose the last 10 pounds that won’t budge, your body weight likely plays some sort of factor in your life. As it should…well, sometimes. It’s when we let the scale obsession get out of hand (like I did) and ignore our inner feelings that it becomes a problem.
Weight Factors: It’s More Than the Number on the Scale
Matt already discussed in a previous post why the number on the scale doesn’t matter, noting several other factors we must take into consideration before we let that daunting number ruin our day. He explained how things like muscle, body composition, and even your waistline all play a role.
When you throw in water weight, holiday indulgences and that “time of the month” it’s plain to see there’s a whole slew of things that affect what that little dial points to. So while your weight may fluctuate or hit a plateau, it’s not always a bad thing. After all, there’s so much more than just the number going on behind the scenes.
The Numbers Game: It’s Time to Shift Your Focus
Since we already know why the number doesn’t matter as much, today we’re going to talk about why you shouldn’t let it get to you, and how you can get over that scale obsession the healthy way.
I think it’s safe to say that most people who are on a diet or trying to lose weight naturally focus on numbers: the number of calories in that sandwich, the number of calories burned at the gym, the number of pounds left to lose, and arguably the most common – the number on the scale.
While numbers do have a time and place, we need to remember that a number does not define who we are. I recommend my clients and readers to shift their mindset, and focus on something else.
For instance, if you’re stuck on counting calories all day long, focus on the food itself. What does it taste like? Do you feel satisfied? Energized? Fatigued? Same attitude holds true when it comes to the scale! Rather than stepping on that darn thing a dozen times a day, get out there and live. Whip up a healthy, clean meal for yourself (made with real food), join in for your favorite group fitness or yoga class, go for a long walk or even start a journal. Do whatever it takes to shift your thoughts from a silly old number to how you are feeling internally.
Listen to Your Body & Ask Yourself How Do I Feel?
Speaking of how you feel, when was the last time you stopped to check in with yourself and your body? Go ahead and ask yourself, “How do I feel?”… “How do I want to feel?” What sort of thoughts come up for you?
We need to remember that the scale is just an object (and a number is just a number) and thus we shouldn’t let it mess with our emotions. Instead of dwelling over those last five pounds that won’t go away, dig deeper and ask yourself why you want to lose those last five pounds. What will it feel like when you finally reach your “happy weight?” Rather than constantly comparing your weight to your best friend (or fitness idol), go by the way your clothes fit, how your energy levels are, and how you feel in your own body. These are the types of things that matter more in the long run.
Once we quit obsessing and STRESSING so much, everything becomes much clearer and more often than not the weight starts to fall off naturally.
Write it Out & Track Your Successes
Shifting from a numbers mindset to a feelings mindset isn’t easy, and can feel a bit awkward at first. After all, it’s essentially changing a behavior and like any habit this takes time. To get started, try keeping a journal including your meals and exercise routine for the day. (No need to get super detailed about calories, exact portions, etc.) Simply track what you ate/did for exercise and how it made you feel. You will begin to see a pattern, and greater understand all the other factors that contribute to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Listen to your body…it is smarter than you think.
On that note, be sure to celebrate all your successes, small and large. Whether you comfortably squeezed into your favorite pair of jeans, achieved a 5K PR or feel the best you’ve felt in years, relish in these little achievements. You deserve it, after all!
Do you let the number on the scale get to you? What can you incorporate in your life to help shift from a numbers mindset to a feelings mindset?