Why the Scales are Not Your Enemy...
It's very rare that you come across anyone who feels complete indifference toward the bathroom scales. For the majority of people I speak to, they are in one of two camps:
The Love/Haters: Those people are drawn to the bathroom scales like moths to light; and believe that the number it delivers dictates exactly how successful/worthy/confident they get to feel.
The Fear Struck: This is the group that fears knowing their bodyweight so much that they avoid it all together. The bathroom scales live in the attic/under a pile of towels or gather dust behind the loo.
Whichever group you fall into, it's not exactly a party. There is so much value placed on overall bodyweight that, obsess over it or avoid it, it has an impact on your self-esteem and wellbeing.
But what if we saw them a different way? What if, instead of believing that the scales are telling you how fat you are (and, by proxy, how worthy you are), you removed the power they hold over you and saw them for the useful but imperfect, data gathering tool they are.
Here's what your scales CAN do for you:
Give you a relatively accurate idea of how much your...
Recent Meals and Drinks
and Body Fat
Assuming you weigh yourself at the same time of day, having eaten roughly the same amount, nude and not wearing a Dolly Parton wig - it's going to be a relatively useful means of tracking if your body fat is changing.
Let's take the emotion out of it for a second - this is an inanimate object we're talking about after all. Yes, fat calipers, hydrostatic weighing or DEXA scans might all give you a more accurate picture of your changing body composition - however none of them are as easy as stepping on the scales after your morning wee.
Here is how I would suggest you view the scales:
1) Accept that they are a reasonable measure of whether you are gaining fat, when other variables are controlled (i.e. no Dolly Parton wig)
2) View those pesky and ugly-crying-inducing numbers as data. If you only weigh yourself once every 3 weeks you're not going to have enough data points to identify a trend. (I recommend my fat-loss clients consider weighing themselves every/every other day so we have meaningful data)
3) Give yourself a calm talking to prior to stepping on the scales. Know that they cannot measure your worth, confidence, beauty, strength, abilities as a mother or right to eat chocolate ever again. Part of the reason I encourage my fat-loss clients to weigh themselves regularly is it allows them to see the dramatic fluctuations in weight on a daily basis and understand that it does not relate to their fat cells - thus taking away the power the scales hold over their emotions.
4) Don't just use the scales. You have so many other data gathering tools at your finger tips, the fit of your clothes, taking photos or taking measurements. At Miff Fit we encourage all our members who want to see a physical change to track a number or measures. I've lost count of the people that have told me the scales aren't budging but their measurements are down. All of these tools are faulty, but combined, they can give you pretty good idea about your body's changes.
Upon reading this, you may decide that the scales are still something that will stay locked in the attic - and that is totally cool. I would however, encourage you to consider your 'why', especially if you are trying to change your body composition. You might just be denying yourself a useful tool based on an unhelpful set of untruths.