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The New Way to Weigh Yourself

by Elise Museles

It was a perfect day.  The clear blue sky, low humidity and cool breeze were so inviting as I set out to take a well-deserved break and enjoy an 8-mile run. I was running downhill pumping my legs and glanced at my trusty GPS.  What?  7:21 (minute miles). Feeling inspired by my almost record breaking pace, I picked it up and looked down and saw 9:44. Huh?  How could that be? Damn GPS.

Weight Loss & StressDisappointment set in, and my self-esteem plummeted. In spite of the crisp fresh air, laser sharp focus and light bounce in my step, I told myself a different story: I was a slow poke, someone not at the top of her game who was unfit and lazy.  While it turns out that there was some interference with my electronic device and my pace that day most likely hovered somewhere in the middle of those two numbers, I marveled at the fact that I let a faulty GPS dictate my mood and affect my run.

It was ridiculous.  Irrational. And totally self-sabotaging.

I nearly stopped in my tracks when I made the connection between my silly experience and what many people feel when they hop on the scale first thing in the morning.  Good mood or bad mood?  Skinny or fat?  Success or failure? All in the name of a number.  One number.  That sacred number.

Have you ever stepped on a scale, disliked what you saw, and then got off and back on to be sure that number was correct?  What?  How could that be? Frustration. Guilt. Judgment. And then the bad mood F-O-R  T-H-E  R-E-S-T
O-F  T-H-E  D-A-Y.

Let’s be honest here: anything can throw off that number…stress, hormones, humidity, dinner the night before, too much salt, too little water, medication, constipation…and the list goes on…

I bet you already forgot (and never cared) about my running pace.  No offense, but that’s what I think of your weight. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you tap into your own body wisdom and learn to trust it…if you listen, your body has a lot to say.  Chances are, you already know how you feel before your toe hits the edge of the scale.  You understand what it means to come alive when you are moving your body, eating whole real foods, planning in advance, enjoying your rituals and reducing stress in your life.

And conversely, you don’t need a number to tell you that you’re not your most vibrant self when you have been off track eating salty restaurant meals accompanied by dessert every night without time to exercise, let alone have time to plan out healthy home cooked options or even come up for air.  You just know.

When you simply look for external clues, like the “perfect number”,  to tell you how you should feel, you lose sight of how you really do feel.

So be brave, take the first step! Get rid of the magic number and toss the scale..or at least bury it for now. What could be more powerful than deciding that you’re the one to choose your mood (or self-worth) and not leaving it up to a hunk of metal to decide for you?! And, in my experience, I have never heard of anyone (including me) who has thrown out the scale and regretted it.  Most likely, you will be doing yourself a favor by giving your body what it needs as you learn to understand the messages it sends you.

Shhhh…your body is talking.  What is she saying?  Keep listening, and I bet she won’t be shouting at you in numbers.

Question of the day:  Have you ever broken up with your scale?  Share your experiences with us.

23 Responses to The New Way to Weigh Yourself

  1. Kathy September 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Great post Elise! I had a teacher at IIN (can’t remember her name) who said not weight yourself everyday and if you must -write the # you like and tape it over the scale! I’ve often said this to some of my runner girls who are obsessed with losing weight! I will be sure to share this blog post with them! = )

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 2:22 am #

      Kathy,
      I love the idea with the tape! I am going to use that trick for clients who are not ready to break up with their scales. I think it might have been Geneen Roth who said that:).

  2. Susan September 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    I enjoyed this….and all so true. You’re right. I’d be afraid to break up with the scale even though I know what it says almost every day. Its a security blanket for someone who used to be fat….which is too bad for me.

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 2:25 am #

      Hi Susan,
      Thanks for sharing. For you, it sounds like the scale is a reminder of the progress that you have made in reaching a healthy weight.
      xo

  3. Beverly Rosenstein September 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Our society pressures women to be thin, no matter how healthy they really are. This is a disservice to all women. I hear the struggles from everyone, and they can be remedied by eating healthier and nothing in excess. No one should deprive themselves of the happiness they deserve. By giving up everything one loves, depression and frustration ensue.
    Women know their bodies better than men do, I believe. And they use different elements as barometers of checking in, such as a pair of jeans a size too small. “I think I’ll try to fit into those.” When one is disappointed that she doesn’t fit into those jeans, she recoils and sometimes starves herself. The way to staying healthy is to balance your diet and exercise daily, whether that is a workout on the treadmill, pilates, yoga, weight training or other. I have stuck by this tenet my whole life, yet always strove for better.
    Learning new ways to eat healthier and be better, like Elise prescribes to, really makes a difference in one finding balance.
    To anyone reading this, don’t give up, no matter who you are. Just strive for higher levels without looking at scales or measuring your body next to your teenager’s or your thin friend’s. Remember, feeling good about yourself really comes from inside of you, not from what you feel others think of you.

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 2:28 am #

      Beverly,
      Wow! I love all your insights. Thanks for the reminder that feeling good comes from within and not from other people’s opinions or measuring up to unrealistic standards.
      Thank you!

  4. Lauren September 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    I broke up with my scale years ago and I wont even ask the doctor what the number says because as long as my pants fit, then I must be doing something right!

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 2:29 am #

      Lauren,
      Using a pair of pants is a great barometer. Good for you for really not caring about a “magic number.”

  5. Helene September 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    LOVE this article. Oh, how true! Thank you, Elise, for pointing out how important it is that we not define ourselves by a number.

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 2:35 am #

      Thanks, Helene. I am so glad that this post resonated with you.

  6. Jennifer September 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    I had never even thought about breaking up with my scale even though we have a love-hate relationship! This is a brilliant article, thanks for making me think twice about what it really means to be healthy.

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 2:38 am #

      Oh, Jennifer, I know about the love-hate relationship. What about treating your scale like an acquaintance….you can live with or without them and your interactions do not have much of an impact on your day:). Let us know if this works!

  7. Stacy Fradkin September 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Great post! I have never owned a scale and there is not one at my yoga studio. I look at how much I weigh once a year at the Dr. My 13 year old is asking for a scale. She is a competitive soccer player, fit and beautiful. The “go by how your clothes fit” advice is not working. She knows she looks great, but……she still wants that scale. What to do?

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 3:42 am #

      Stacy, that is amazing that a scale has never been part of your routine. Have you asked your daughter why she wants to own a scale and what difference having the scale will make for her? Why don’t you use the opportunity to explain to your daughter about tuning into her body and share your experiences of cultivating a healthy relationship with your own body as an example for her. Hope this helps!

  8. Gretchen Brooks Nassar September 14, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Great topic, Elise! Nicely written and so true! I think this will resonate with many people. I know I’ve had this experience even when I know what you say is true about weight fluctuations. The thing is, we (some of us anyway) tend to use numbers more than our own inner wisdom and body sense. I know I’ve done both. I try and let my internal feelings of my body guide me, but I’ve let the scale numbers do a number on me too, on occasion.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing so candidly and giving us the “get real” picture on this weighty subject. Thanks! ; )

    • Elise September 14, 2012 at 2:34 am #

      Gretchen,
      So well put! And while nobody is perfect, just knowing that your inner wisdom and body sense are your true guides is a huge step in the right direction.

  9. Gail September 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    I loved your article Elise. The connection between your running speed and the scale was right on. I think it can be expanded still further…not being able to do a certain yoga pose, not getting through your to do list,..it’s about being grateful for who you are and what you can and what you are able to to accomplish and be..not what you CAN’T. With that said, I still can’t part with my scale. The 6th month period that I did experiment with this idea, I did gain more weight than I would have wanted. For some reason, even though I’m not happy with the “number” I’m ok with it but use the scale now to keep me in a range which allows for those life fluctuations. I figure im a work in progress and accept that i only keep practicing happiness from within rather than from without. Awesome post.

    • Elise September 17, 2012 at 12:32 am #

      Gail, I really appreciate your insightful comments. You hit the nail on the head with the “range”! I work with my clients who still use the scale as a guide and as a reality check to focus on that “range” instead of being fixated on a number. Thanks for sharing your personal story. xo

  10. Jenna September 17, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    Great post, Elise! I used to be a little bit OCD about weighing myself so this really hits home. I really am happier when I don’t step on the scale so I now avoid it if possible. More people need to accept that we are only human and there truly is no “perfect” number in all aspects of life. Nice comparison to running pace. I really should give up my GPS watch and my scale! Enjoyed the read, keep em’ coming.

  11. Tanya November 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    This post totally resonates with me. About 4 years ago I stopped weighing myself, I cant say I ever forgot the magic number I had always aimed for. However it has lost the impact it used to once have. In these 4 years I have learned to read my body better or as you put it listen to her. It has given me back control. I wish more women could experience the freeing feeling. Thanks for writing about this and creating more awareness with this amazing site.

    • Elise November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Hi Tanya,
      I love that you have learned to read your body better and listen to her:). And, you must feel so liberated now that the “magic number” does not control you. Keep sharing your insights!
      Elise

  12. Aimee February 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Wow, this post hit the nail on the head. Not only do you know what you’re talking about but I think you just made a lot of women realize how silly it is to be upset over their “number.” Sure, we hear it all the time, but you pointed out some great stuff that surely got our attention. Great blog. New reader here! I’ll definitely be back 🙂

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