By Shannon Dey, M.S. Health Education & CEO-Founder Bombshell Fitness
Do you love your scale? It would be safe to assume that you answered this question with a booming “NO!” For a majority of women, the scale sits in a corner seeming to mocking us, doing it’s evil best to draw us in so that we find ourselves unwillingly stepping on it’s platform of doom and subsequently suffering an aftermath of self-loathing and depression concerning the number that flashes on it’s wicked dial. Like an old flame that we know is bad for us, we either try our best to avoid it’s temptation by shoving it in the back of the closet or even throwing it in the garbage. Or, we simply cannot stay away and keep going back repeatedly, over and over, as a means of self-torture, even though we know it may bring us pain. It is very possible that our relationship with the scale is a one that can linger throughout our lives, year after year only to bring us misery. At Bombshell Fitness we’ve trained thousands of women over the years and a large majority of clients come to us viewing the scale as a reminder they are “fat failures”!
But wait! It does NOT have to be this way! The scale is NOT evil, and it is not meant to torture! It is a TOOL to HELP us along our health and fitness path! When viewed properly, the scale can actually be a very positive tool in our journey toward weight loss and weight loss maintenance. It has been proven that obesity patients who lost a significant amount of weight through a weight loss program that utilized a scale as a behavioral modification tool to assist in their weight loss maintenance, were significantly more successful in maintaining their weight loss than patients who did not keep track of their weight post treatment (Kaukua, 2003).
Studies show us that rather than hiding our head in a hole and avoiding our weight, being educated about the current state of our body can prove quite helpful. How you view and HANDLE the use of the scale as a tool is up to you! It is certainly not being implied that you become obsessed with the scale or gauge each meal based on its readings. However, healthy, regular usage of a scale can help keep you on track for the long haul.
Here are some tips on using the scale as a positive tool in your fitness journey:
The number on the scale is not an emotional issue!
Repeat after me: “The number on the scale is NOT an emotional issue!”
Your starting point in your weight loss journey is just that – a starting point! Every “body” is different and hold different body weights not only based on body fat levels, but bone density, musculature, etc. Do not look at the current number and despair. The current number could be ANYTHING from one to infinity, it DOES NOT matter! What matters is how that number changes, either up or down from your base point. Take the emotion out of the number you see, and think of it as a GUIDE. Utilize the movement of this number as a guide to help gauge your progress and to help keep you on track and moving forward.
During Weight Loss
During periods of weight loss, the scale can assist us in several things. First it can help us assess if we are truly burning more calories than we are ingesting, therefore resulting in weight loss. The trick here is to stay OFF the scale except for ONCE per week. Make it in the morning, on the same day each week. Do NOT expect immediate weight loss. Give your program at least three to four weeks to even see ONE pound of weight loss! In the beginning of a new program, especially one like the Bombshell Fitness System designed to BUILD a fast, maintainable metabolism, you may even GAIN a couple of pounds due to a shift in foods and increased fluid intake. Weighing yourself daily is NOT recommended and can lead to an unhealthy obsession. In addition, your weight can fluctuate on a daily basis, even throughout the course of a single day. Weigh yourself ONCE a week and do not expect anything more than one to two pounds a week maximum AFTER your body has had its initial adjustment to your program.
During Weight Maintenance
Weight loss maintenance is where the use of the scale as a behavior modification tool can be extremely useful. Once you have achieved your weight loss goal, it is best to maintain within 3-5lbs of this goal at all times. Understand that your body weight can change throughout the month due to hormones, fluid retention, etc., so giving yourself a window of leeway is important. At this point, still stick with the only once a week use of the scale. If when you step on the scale during your weekly weigh-in, you find yourself more than 5lbs. over your goal weight, you know that you need to adjust your behavior (Remember, this is NOT something to become emotional over! It is a TOOL to modify your behavior for the following week). Take a look at the previous week and see what you did or did not do that caused the increase. Did you take extra liberties with your meals? Did you skip a few gym sessions? Whatever it was that caused the increase, modify for the following week so that you can get back on track.
The scale is not an evil contraption designed to bring you misery! It is a tool that can be used to assist you in your weight loss and weight maintenance goals. Take emotion OUT of the reading and rationally utilize it to assist you in your journey. A healthy relationship with the scale can help keep you on track and lean for life!
And remember, someday is NOT a DEY of the week!
Reference: Kaukua, J., Health-related quality of life in obese outpatients losing weight with very low-energy diet and behavior modification: A 2 year follow-up study. International Journal of Obesity, Vol 27(9), September, 2003. 1072-1080.
For more information please visit www.bombshellfitness.com