The Scales. Argh. Do They Fill You With Dread?

Published: 20 Jul 2015

The Scales.  Argh.  Do They Fill You With Dread?

From my perspective there is not much going for weighing yourself as a measure of health or to track health improvement. In fact I can’t think of one positive.

To be honest the only clients I routinely weigh in my practice as a Dietitian in the Penrith area are those people in recovery from anorexia nervosa, and even then only at the beginning of their treatment.

Weight is an extremely poor proxy for health. I have heard many stories from clients over the years about how weight and weighing has had a derailing effect on their health habits. For example

“I’ve been walking with a friend 3 Dietician and weighingtimes a week, we are getting faster and I’m not so puffed out anymore. My blood sugars in the morning have come down from the 6’s to the 5’s. I’ve even been managing to eat until I feel comfortable instead of eating everything on the plate. I couldn’t get ok with throwing food away so I put out a smaller amount and if I think I want more I wait a little while just to be sure. I actually feel really good, better than I have in ages. Well I did until I weighed myself and I’ve hardly lost anything, I really thought I would have. I feel really demotivated, I don’t know if it’s worth it.

What would it be like to not weigh yourself? Could you trust that your body knows what it is doing and will guide you to your best health? This idea might strike fear into your heart, or it might present an opportunity to break free from their oppression!

Our health behaviours as well as genetics and life circumstances actually determine our health. If we take care of our fundamental needs for:

  • Regular predictable sleep
  • A varied diet based primarily on plant foods
  • Hydrating with water
  • Emotional regulation and stress management
  • Moving our bodies in a way we enjoy
  • Connecting with our friends, family and community

Then our health will be the best it can be and our weight will settle where it should be.

So, how to step away from the scales? Some people go cold turkey and throw the scales away. Others take a gentle approach and gradually reduce how often they weigh themselves, daily to weekly to monthly. Importantly take notice how knowing your weight influences how you take care of yourself, if it has a negative effect emotionally and physically then consider not weighing.

I look forward to hearing your feedback on dumping the scales.