To weigh or not to weigh? That is the question!
It is a very valid question if you are in the process of losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. I was asked by a client what my stance was on weighing yourself versus avoiding the scale. Interestingly, I answered her question quite differently from just a few of years ago.
When I stopped being an assertive weight loss coach several years back I was completely against clients weighing themselves and stepping on the scale. I sympathized with a fellow therapist who had a scale graveyard behind her office. In the past I had witnessed the painful, stressful and even traumatizing effects that scales could have on a client. After stepping on the scale and realizing they hadn’t lost a few pounds (as they had hoped) - or even gained weight -clients were more devastated and discouraged than ever. So, I concluded not to encourage clients to weigh, or to reduce it as much as they could tolerate.
My intention was to help them be in tune with their emotional and physical needs and learn how to self-regulate in a gentle and loving way. Scales had taken on the face of punisher and controller, thus intensifying feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness. After all our precious Selves can’t and shouldn’t be measured by a “thing” that shows a certain number.
I, too, had put my scale away for a few years. When I got weighed during a doctor visit I realized that I wasn’t immune to weight gain either and realized that in order to honor my body and physical wellness, I had to make some changes. I dusted off my scale and stepped on it. My attitude was that of curiosity… whatever number got displayed, it was a not measure of my SELF or self-worth - rather a piece of information similar to looking at the level of oil in my car. It motivated me from a place of self-compassion and self-care to make some positive changes, which then produced the results I was aiming for.
So, my new philosophy is: If you can step on a scale and love yourself throughout the whole weighing process, by all means go ahead and weigh yourself. But, if you step on feeling anxious or worried, you may not be ready. Instead, focus on nurturing yourself well (emotionally and physically) and set an intention to explore the triggers that lead to emotional comfort eating. Here’s my suggestion: Only when you can look in the mirror, weigh yourself without judgement and your self-reservoir is full, weighing yourself may be a good tool for staying the course.