There is a distinct obsession with the number on these cunning metal devices… why? The whole concept of healthy eating and living a balanced lifestyle should be as void of stress as possible, not another opportunity to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
So often I see people who let the number on the scales dictate their emotions. As the number goes down they experience euphoria, excitement, pride and a giggling smugness that it was worth sacrificing that dessert to get these results. However, when it goes up…batten down the hatches! The storm rolls in as does a range of emotions: plummeting morale, replaced by anger, self-hatred, self-flagellation, humiliation, embarrassment, guilt and for what?
When we think logically, it’s easy to see that this number is no direct reflection of our health. So why give it so much credit? Not only does the machine not take into consideration your body type, muscle mass, bone structure, metabolism, stress levels, water consumption, sleep intake or the time of the day and the list goes on…but most importantly the number DOESN’T MATTER. No one person is the same shape, weight, height, size etc, so to measure off against someone else when you think they look like you, is silly. Just as having an expectation of what you should weigh is silly. There is no competition to weigh more or less than someone else or society’s supposed expectations of us. The only competition we should focus on is giving ourselves the happiest, healthiest, loved life we can.
Saying that, I am aware this is quite a controversial topic for some people and the more I have spoken to people about this, there does appear to be various camps to ‘scale watching’. So I want to acknowledge that there are groups that embrace the scales as a part to play in their training regime and enable them to stay in a designated *zone* to aid their sporting need: Jockeys, runners, boxers etc. More often than not, when these athletes are performing at a high level within any activity, the sole purpose is to ensure that all parameters of their life are sensibly managed to not sway or alter their sporting performance and not as a crucifix to mental uncertainty. However, I’m writing this article for those who aren’t professional athletes but let the number on the scales rule their lives.
If this is you, I want to tell you that the perception that the higher the number the unhealthier you are is misguided! Muscle weighs more than fat, so the leaner, and more toned you become may lead to the weight on the scales increasing. Let’s go back to basics and focus on what is important: your health, your wellbeing, your sanity!
If you fall into the camp where your emotions are linked to the number on that scales, here are four top tips to help you see the bigger picture and find alternative ways to find that peace.
The clue is in your clothes
How you feel in your clothes is a great indicator and can highlight to you how your body is doing. If the clothes become a little snug (and we have all been there) then let them be the gentle guide encouraging you to focus on exercise, portion control and stress-relief. Equally, buying clothes you can’t squeeze into with the aim of fitting into them with an attitude that says “When I’ve lost X weight, I’ll fit these” is just setting yourself up to fail. Be real with yourself; find clothes that fit your body shape and make you feel fabulous.
At the end of the day, how you feel in your own skin and body is the utmost important factor to your wellbeing and nothing should sway you from tapping into positive self-perception on a daily basis. Love yourself first and foremost and love everything about you, all the lumps, bumps and embrace everything that makes you unique, because you are. Learning to love yourself is the most important project we as humans will undertake and when we start to achieve this (it takes time!) you’ll find that things you held so highly such as the number on the scales, simply fade away and your true beautiful soul will shine through.
Similar to the above but geared more towards your general wellbeing, rather than your body image. The power of positivity is such a valuable and underestimated act that in this day and age can get lost between deadlines, expectations from ourselves and others and agendas. Being positive and thinking the best in all outcomes of life (even when part of you doesn’t want to) really does propel you into a better frame of mind, and will allow you the freedom to see more out of life than any number on a scale can.
Health & Fitness
Last but not least, your health and fitness are paramount. Having a strong body and mind is what matters most, we need to nurture and keep them both strong to deal with life’s ups and downs and make the most out of life. With a strong body we can overcome obstacles and when our mind is strong then, we can accomplish more than we ever dreamed. So rather than taking ourselves for granted and pushing ourselves to extremes (which we can all do), let’s be kind to ourselves. Build ourselves back to being strong and healthy so that we can embrace the best out of our lives and not be slaves to a machine.
Your happiness should not be tied to the number on a set of scales, so as hard as it may be… Throw them out and focus on what’s important: How you feel in your clothes, how you feel in general. The scales don’t deserve the credit, your commitment to health, wellness and self-love does! So start giving yourself back the credit, you’ve earnt it!
Remember this, you are perfect as you are, and most importantly you are unique, embrace this with everything you have.
Words by Carole Armitage: Personal Trainer, Wellness Consultant and Founder of Carole’s Kitchen