In honor of Valentine’s Day I want to talk about that one bizarre relationship nearly all of us have experienced. It’s brought you pure joy and the most excruciating pain. It’s that quirky love affair we both gravitate towards and yet become paralyzed in when it comes to our ability to process a logical thought. There’s the quick and nasty break-up followed immediately by an urge to get back together. This cycle goes on and on for what feels like eternity. Oh boy when that relationship is good, it’s magical, but when it’s bad, nothing could be worse.
I’m not referring to a person, I’m talking about the scale. That nasty little machine that is completely unforgiving. When we’ve lost body fat and we step on that scale it’s like the whole world just became a lot bigger. “Wow down two pounds. There it is. I think I’ll step on it again just to make sure. Yep, still there. One more time, just in case.” A grin from ear to ear. Nothing can go wrong today!
And then… the other side of the relationship surfaces. You know you’ve been eating too much and moving too little, but you courageously approach the scale. It’s a tentative walk with lots of deep breaths, tension and anxiety. You step on and there it is – the cruel reality staring you in the face and you can’t fight back. Maybe it’s time for another break up. You scream, “scales are stupid and this is ridiculous. I can’t take this anymore.” Or maybe you keep breaking up and getting back together all day long. “I’ll weigh myself at the gym later and when I get home tonight….maybe things will be different later.”
I’ve never seen anything play a head game like a person’s relationship with their scale. When I work with clients I use the scale as one measure of monitoring progress. The ultimate goal is to wean one away from too many weigh-ins. The scale has its place, but it’s overused. Once a week or even once every two weeks is plenty. The way your clothes fit will tell you what you need to know.
Maybe it’s time for a different approach. My personal catharsis took place when I was 15 years old. My parents bought me several pairs of dress pants for Christmas. To my astonishment, none of them fit. Too many donuts in the school cafeteria was starting to make me look like a donut.
My parents said they would return them and buy a bigger size. I adamantly refused. I said I would fit into those pants within several months by exercising more and eating less. And, that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t even think to weigh myself, all I knew was that I was going to fit into those pants. I used that approach one other time in my life when I gained a little more than I wanted in my 30’s.
I will never forget the feeling of those pants fitting perfectly.
For the next month try lessening the weigh-ins and focus on another approach. Maybe your unique approach is what will give you what you’re looking for.