The Scale as a Tool, not a Judge
I want to write a brief entry for those dealing with weight loss or as Tarkan from Logical Health and Well-being referred to it in an email, “health gain”. Much has been written on losing weight and the entire field of health and nutrition. There isn’t much out there that hasn’t already been said. I do believe, however, that what I’m about to share with you is something that can positively affect your life RIGHT NOW. It may not be new, but I’ve never seen it written anywhere else.
The material I’m presenting for free below will be sold as part of a course I am developing. I am presenting it here now so that you (the lucky readers!) can leave me feedback on its usefulness and understandability. So, with no further ado…
How should I view the Scale
The Scale. That word strikes fear into the heart of many men and women. I myself can think of times when I would purposely not weigh in because I didn’t want to know what my current weight was. I thought that as long as I didn’t know, it didn’t matter. If a concerned family member asked me my weight I would just say the last weight I knew of, knowing that in reality I probably weighed a lot more than that.
It was a nice day in March of this year when I stepped on the scale for the first time in a while and saw the large numbers looming. 4 5 8. I couldn’t believe it! How could I have gotten to be so big? I weighed 320 just 2 years before. Something had to be done and fast.
I would like to point out that when I first began my “health gain” I used the scale as something to judge my actions by. I would weigh in each week and if I didn’t lose enough weight, I’d become angry or upset, or even worse I’d begin to think about cheating because after all, what good was dieting doing me?
It took me about 2 or 3 months before an amazing principle hit me like a two by four across my forehead:
The Scale is not a judge, it’s a tool.
Those 9 words have changed the very course of my life. As of today I have lost 76 pounds. Every pound took work, I won’t lie to you, but it wasn’t as hard as you might think.
So what do I mean by the scale is not a judge? Well, for one I think most of us (myself previously included) treat the scale as some sort of divine being that decides if what we’re doing is good or bad. We go to the scale and let it decide what kind of person we are. I’m hear to tell you that the scale SHOULD NEVER hold that much power.
Judge vs. Tool
Instead begin looking at the scale as a tool, not a judge. What are tools? Tools are things we use to make what we are attempting to do easier and/or more efficient. Have you tried hammering with a hammer? Or undoing a screw by hand? Very difficult. But by simply using the proper tool, the work becomes 1000 times easier and faster.
This is how I view the scale now. About once every week or two, I step on the scale and see the number that appears. I don’t hold any feelings toward this number. I don’t think I’ve done good or bad, right or wrong. I simply see a number and I use that number as a tool to ask important questions.
1) What choices have I made this week to get to this current weight?
2) If the number is more than it was before , I’ll ask myself what can I do this week to see the number decrease?
3) If the number is less than it was before, I’ll ask myself what things did I do this week that helped the weight to decrease?
It sounds simple, I know. But if you treat each week as a chance to make small changes you’ll be amazed at the results. I don’t believe that one should jump head first into weight loss. It’s more successful when small changes are implemented over time. If you gain weight one week, think about your food choices and decide on the one thing you can change next week in order to see a decrease. If the weight goes down, do more of the same that you’ve been doing and you’ll lose even more weight.
It’s also important to remember that sometimes weight can go up (or down) without you doing anything different. The amount of water in the body fluctuates and can affect the current weight of the body. That’s why it’s important to always weigh in at the same time on the same day of the week on the same scale wearing the same type clothing. If you want an accurate weight that you can use to make changes I highly recommend the “same everything” approach.
Using this “Scale as a Tool” model I’ve lost 76 pound in 5 months, converted to drinking only water, stuck to the gym for over 6 months, given up chicken wings and bleu cheese dressing (my old vice) and now take an array of vitamins and organic whole food supplement that is awesome. If I had tried to do all this at once, I would have more than likely failed. Instead I layered success upon success and have made great progress. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Success in anything isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress.
What’s wrong with viewing the scale as a Judge?
I could just say everything and be done with it, but I’ll give a few reasons for those of you who would like to know in more detail.
1) When the scale is a judge, you will feel guilty.
Guilt is meant to be a good thing, but when applied to weight loss it’s an enemy! If you work hard for a week and cheat once or twice and don’t lose any weight, you’ll begin feeling guilty for not sticking to your plan. This will then lead to doubting if you should even stay on the plan, which could lead to excessive binging, which then leads to more guilt, which then leads to…you get to the point.
2) When the scale is a judge, your weight becomes the issue.
Your weight is never the issue at hand. You are who you are no matter what. The real issue isn’t your weight, it’s the choices you made to get to that weight. The scale judges weight, not choices. That’s why it’s up to you to not let the scale judge your weight; instead use it as a tool to change your decisions. Doing this will greatly improve your results.
3) The scale as a judge creates an all or nothing attitude.
The progress model states than any move in the specified direction of choice is a successful one, while the perfection model states that anything less than perfect is failing. Obviously, the scale as judge model lines right up with the perfection model. Instead of viewing slight weight gain as failure, it should be viewed as a tool that lets you know what choices you need to change next to continue in your weight loss journey.
In closing, I would like to remind everyone that weight isn’t the end all be all of health. The scale can never tell you how much body fat you have compared to muscle mass, or how your heart and lungs are doing. That is why true health is a daily endeavor and a worthwhile pursuit. I encourage you to exercise, eat right, and take nutritional supplements. You will literally add years and years to your life, and they’ll be enjoyable active years too!