The Scale Ritual

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It’s a ritual that we chronic dieters do 1-2 times a day, once a week or not at all when we are “off the wagon”.  Why is it so important to know that number?  What do we believe that number means? More importantly, is it true?


I watched it every week at Weight Watchers.  Women preparing to get on the scale.  Wearing the same clothes week after week for months.  The obligatory potty break prior to stepping up.  Wearing small or tight clothes one wouldn’t DARE wear in public, except to Weight Watchers.  Getting on the scale, even in this supportive environment, became a source of shame.  Some women were outraged at the number, others stepped down with slumped shoulders.  Why?  It wasn’t because of the number on the scale.  The number is a circumstance.  It is neutral.  It just IS.  It is what we make that number mean that causes us grief.


If the number goes up, the self-talk sounds something like, “I knew I shouldn’t have gone out with my girls, or out on that date.  Now I have to work that much harder this week”  Or “I did everything RIGHT this week! What happened? It’s not working.”


If the number goes down, then we give ourselves permission to be proud and the self-talk sounds something like, “Yes! I worked out hard this week.” or “I stayed within my points this week.”


The thoughts in and of themselves are not a problem, how you feel when you think that way and ultimately what you DO when you feel that way is creating the results.  Let’s break it down.


Much of the time the feeling after the thought, “I did everything RIGHT this week! What happened? It’s not working”  is DEFEATED.  This usually leads to sitting on the couch watching our favorite show and eating comfort food because you feel bad (defeated).  So you get on the scale and it says your weight is down and the thought, “Yes! I worked out hard this week” crosses your mind.  While it looks positive and harmless, this can be a sneaky saboteur because the feeling of being JUSTIFIED in skipping a workout (or two or more) can lead to backsliding/off-the-wagon/simply not taking care of ourselves.


It is so important for you to be aware of your thoughts and be kind when you notice them because you can’t beat yourself into submission to lose the weight.  If you haven’t noticed the theme yet, it is- when we feel good, we do good; when we feel bad, we do bad.

Challenge: Step onto the scale.  The number is what it is.  What do YOU make that number mean?

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