If you think it’s crazy that I’d even suggest you quit the scale, just know that I get it.
I was very connected to my scale for 40 years or so… even though I hated it, I felt that I needed it.
The dilemma, though, was that I’d sometimes work really hard, and then the scale would tell me I’d gained weight! Or I’d know I’d been eating horribly, and the scale would tell me, “Never mind that you feel awful, you’ve lost weight! Keep it up!”
And sometimes, I’d know I had a lot of weight to lose, and I’d know how long it would take to move that needle, and it made me not want to try at all… and so I’d just go eat a brownie.
So this little device told me how to feel:
Even though it wasn’t always giving me accurate information!
So I quit the scale.
I haven’t seen my weight in over five years. Just over five years ago, I decided I was sick of how the scale made me feel, and I was going to quit it for one year. I told myself that instead of listening to it, I’d listen to my body.
And I’ve never felt better, and I’ve never found it to be easier to maintain a healthy weight (or at least I assume I’m healthy since I’m still in the same size- or smaller) than I have in these past three years!
And you can quit the scale, too.
Before we go on, I want to say this: in this post, I talk about intuitive eating. So today, I will suggest that you start to listen to your body instead of the scale. I’ll tell you why I think it’s a healthy idea, and I’ll give you some tips for getting started. But I will not talk about what to eat until the next post. So. Today: why it’s an awesome idea to ditch your scale. In this other post: how to eat if you ditch your scale and want to truly feed your body what it needs instead of what some guru tells you to eat.
What you need to know: everything you need to know about how to take care of your body is inside you. You just need to be willing to be brave enough to shut out the external voices, and tune in to the internal voices.
Can it be scary? Yes, I will admit that it can be. But before you decide, ponder the following questions:
- Do you regularly start a new diet and feel super excited and think “this is the one, this time I’ll lose the weight for good!”?
- Do you weigh yourself regularly? And do you either do a happy dance, or decide you need to “just work harder”? (and maybe feel a bit angry at yourself. or the scale.)
- Do you regularly start a new diet, maybe lose some weight, but eventually find it too difficult, and quit it? And then gain back the weight?
- And finally: do you know what foods your body loves? What about foods your body doesn’t love, and you feel better when you avoid or eat only occasionally?
I think you know where I am going here. If you feel like you need a guru and a diet book to tell you how to eat, and you feel frustrated that no diet has worked, and you feel attached to the number on the scale, even as you hate it and hate how often it makes you feel bad… you might want to quit your scale.
It can be scary, but try to think about all you have to gain!
- Freedom. If you tune in and take the time to listen to your body instead of a number, you will be free of the scale, but also of the need to find the next big diet book. Or the need to exercise more to burn off those extra calories. You’ll be free of beating yourself up. If you never know what that number is, you are free to live and move in your body, and to listen to it instead! You’re only tied to your body, not any external program or rules or source to tell you if you’re doing well or doing poorly.
- A connection to your body. This is the ultimate, moms! In this world of a new diet trend every six months, we are totally disconnected! We eat what the gurus tell us to eat. We hear about a new diet trend on the Today show, and think, “Gotta try it, Oprah loves it!” What if we didn’t, and instead said, “Huh. It might be good to listen to what they’re saying, but I think I’ll just keep eating and moving in a way that makes my body feel good.”
- Empowerment. And with empowerment, confidence! When I regularly weighed myself, my confidence went up and down with the number. When I stopped weighing myself and started tuning in, it took time, but after a few weeks, I realized: “I can do this! Without a diet plan, without any rules other than the ones I make, I am eating well! I feel better! I got this!”
Freedom. Empowerment. Confidence. Feeling connected to what your body needs and needs to avoid? How can you not want that, right??!
What then do you measure?
So maybe you really want to have something to keep track of. How about this? How about if you measure, or keep track of:
- How you FEEL.
- Fitness goals.
- Water, veggies, fiber, protein.
- How your clothes fit and feel.
- How you feel as you move in your body.
Want to see me chat about this and dive deeper? Here you go!
Okay, so let’s really discuss what this looks like, Cori. How can I take this big leap and quit the scale?
Glad you asked! Let’s dive in!
I’d like to start by giving you some mindset shifts to consider, and next we’ll talk about specific, actionable steps you can take (with a worksheet you can download!!).
First: Be open to a new way of thinking about your health and wellness goals.
Your body has all the answers. All of them. Educate yourself on nutrition, learn about healthy foods, but ultimately, let your body decide what foods you like. What fitness makes you happy and makes you feel strong and lean and amazing. Make small, sustainable changes, one at a time, instead of diving head-first into a crazy new diet program every other month. Easy does it. Tune in. Take care of you. Your way.
Second: Embrace good, hard, challenging and empowering fitness.
Movement is therapy. Our bodies love to move. And one amazing way to connect to your body and move away from your dependence on the scale and strict diet programs? Get sweaty, get breathless, push yourself! When you are at your healthiest and strongest, your body confidence will skyrocket! Will your body be perfect? Nope. Probably not ever (and what’s perfect anyway??). But if you choose to quit the scale, replace that energy focused on that number with the number of reps, number of miles, number of steps, number of minutes.
Focus on a great workout, happening on a regular basis, and see how much easier it is to tune in and find out what your body needs. The fitter you are, the healthier your body, the easier it will be to pay attention to what your body is asking of you. You’ll be surprised at how, after a good sweat session, your body will tell you it needs water, or protein, or rest. It’s pretty awesome how our bodies know.
Third: Tune in, and trust yourself.
This one is hard, I get it! But your body knows, and I would just encourage you to believe it, until you really see it for yourself. I get that it’s hard, so for now, just try on this small mindset shift. Instead of asking yourself, “Does this fit my diet?” try instead, “Will this make me feel the way I want to feel?” Ask yourself that often enough, and see if you don’t start to get some really accurate, really helpful, really empowering answers.
Fourth: Progress. Not perfection.
So, you’re ready to quit the scale. Yay, you! Remember as you get started: you don’t suddenly have to be perfect! Instead, strive for the 80/20 principle: 80% clean living, 20% fun!
I’m ready to take action, I’ve got my Mindset shifts starting to solidify, now what do I do to make this work?
Yes! I know how hard it can be to make a big change like this, but I’m excited you’re willing to try! I love specific steps, so I wanted to make a worksheet for you that you can use to really stay committed and see success in this journey towards freedom from the scale! Download your worksheet here. It goes into depth on the following steps, and it will give you a physical tool to hold and see and help you get on track and stay on track!
On your worksheet, we’ll go into greater depth, but your action steps are the following:
Know your Why and create (and use) your mantras.
Why are you ready to give this a try? What do you want to gain? What do you want to stop doing? And what mantras (reminders, phrases you can repeat over and over) will help you stay on track?
In my case, I wanted to be free of the stress and anxiety of the scale, and I wanted to learn to trust my body, so my mantra became: “I don’t need the scale to tell me how to take care of my body.”
Form SMART fitness goals.
I’m encouraging you to dive into your fitness as a means for connecting to your body, gaining body confidence, feeling stronger and fitter, and (let’s be honest) keeping your mind off that dumb number on that dumb scale. Forming super SMART fitness goals will help you to do just that!
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Track your journey (maybe).
Are you one who really likes spreadsheets and finds that, when you start a new diet, the accompanying materials help you feel confident you’ll succeed? Then you might benefit from using a journal as you quit the scale.
And finally: commit! And then find a support and accountability partner or group!
Your final step is to make the commitment. I highly recommend at least a three month commitment. A year is way better. And if you’re really nervous, then just commit to a month (and it will be my prayer that your month becomes three months, which becomes a year, which becomes three years!). Make your decision, and then find a friend, or a group to help you stay accountable and on track. Mom’s Running Club is an awesome group to do so, and if you think you’re even a little bit curious, email me!! We are all about SMART goals, body confidence, progress (not perfection), and caring for one another!