Today, I wanted to touch on the topic of those dreaded scales. You know those torturous things that sit there on the bathroom floor taunting you, calling you. You think you’ll just jump on quickly, since you’ve been so “good” in the past week. Those damn things have the power to make or break your day. You might have even done it this morning.
As a society we have been brainwashed into thinking that the ultimate indicator of success on any health and fitness journey is the number on the scales. It’s quite sad, that we think in this way, as it’s absolutely not the case. At Slim Force, we are moving more and more away from weighing clients on a frequent basis and focusing our attention much more on fitness improvements and overall health outcomes. For many clients, we are even ditching the scales all together.
Why don’t we like the scales? So many reasons! But here are a few for you to think about:
- They’re pretty unhelpful. As mentioned above, these quite simple devices have the power to make or break your day and as such, can throw you right off the healthy path you are working on creating for yourself. I’ve seen people completely give up on what they’ve been doing based on the number on the scales. I’ve had clients burst into tears because of this number and I’ve have clients storm off upstairs because of the number the scales are displaying at an isolated point in time. These clients were previously (just before standing on the scales), feeling fitter and healthier than they have in a long time. Constant monitoring of this number just isn’t a very helpful approach to staying on track when making long-term lifestyle changes.
- They are far too variable from day to day. This is a big one. There are SO many factors that can have an impact on the number the scales show at any given point in time. The time of day, how long it’s been since you ate or drank, how long it’s been since you went to the toilet, hormonal fluctuations (especially for women), your recovery from your previous workout, how much sodium you may have had in the past 24 hours etc all play a role in the number that shows up – and there are plenty of others. I wouldn’t count that as a very reliable measure of success week in and week out – would you?
- Your weight doesn’t necessarily tell us much about your overall health and fitness. As many of you likely know, your weight alone doesn’t necessarily tell us the whole picture. Our Heidelberg 100 Clubbers drive this point home. We have big bodies training (and often out-training) some of their leaner counterparts – jogging, jumping, rowing, strength training – all sorts of things. And many have had significant improvements with their ongoing health issues such as high blood pressure and asthma. Some of them are really a lot healthier and certainly a lot fitter in almost every way but have had reasonably small decreases on the scales. Overweight people can absolutely be fitter and healthier than people carrying less body fat. It’s just not all about the number on the scales – they is a LOT more to health than that.
While there isn’t anything wrong with wanting lose some of your excess weight, the focus need not be on the scales. At best, I think the scales should only be used as a guide over extended periods of time and should never be used in isolation as a measure of “success” on your journey. A much more sustainable approach is to make consistent efforts toward being mindful with eating, enjoying all things in moderation and increasing your physical activity in a safe and manageable way. As all these things begin to fall into place, your weight and body shape tend to take care of themselves. You will find the most comfortable weight for YOU. It might not be exactly what the charts say you “should” weigh but you’re more than a chart. Only you will know where you feel happiest, healthiest and most comfortable.
Remember folks, this is a journey. YOUR journey. It might take a while but by practicing moderation and starting to challenge some of our thoughts around things like scales and food, you will be setting yourself up with a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.