Measuring What?

Feb. 11, 2014

The scale often makes its way (no pun intended) into the walls of my office.  It is never as simple as “I weighed myself today”.  Usually, this action results in some sort of modification in how the rest of the day was carried out, and/or a shift in self-worth.  An undesired number appears; feelings of shame (feeling bad about who you are) and guilt (feeling bad about something you did) ensue.  A ‘desired’ number lights up and a sense of pressure to maintain said number increases. Distorted eating or eating disorder behaviours are usually not far behind.  A salad is consumed for lunch instead of the much-desired beef burrito.  It is as if this one adjustment magically redeems or reverses what was shown on the scale earlier on.  Perhaps, feelings of failure emerge, leaving you bingeing throughout the day while thinking, “I’ll do better tomorrow”. A work out routine typically stimulated by health turns into an unhealthy motivator to burn calories and lose weight.  Insecurity creeps in.

We forget that weight fluctuates for a number of healthy normal reasons throughout the day… from fluid/food intake, to bowel movements, to time of day. What is concerning is how much of one’s worth is tied up in the number on the scale. That this number determines whether one will have a 'good' day or a 'bad' day, whether one is 'good enough' or deemed a 'failure'.  You question having felt good about yourself earlier on in the day, before having stepped on the scale.  It must have been a lie.

The number doesn’t have to determine your mood, worth and confidence.  It is simply a number.  It does not mean you are unhealthy nor does it mean you are healthy. Stepping on said device cannot measure your blood pressure, the strength of your bones, or if you are nutritionally sound.  It does not take into account muscle mass or genetics.  My suggestion, throw away the scale.  Why keep it around? In times of desperation and self-doubt, it will seductively lure you back. Do not let it measure your self-worth, self-confidence, hunger cues, health, value and motivation. Take inventory on your life and work towards having healthy relationships with friends, food, exercise, spirituality, your body and so on.  We are intricate beings; the scale cannot accurately measure all of who we are, nor should we let it.