I get it. I know who you are because I’ve been in your shoes. As a chronic dieter and scale obsessor, I can remember those pains of frustration when you’re absolutely doing everything right, and yet not getting rewarded with the number you would expect. It is the very reason why I would quit any diet I ever tried. My thought process would tell me that if the scale isn’t going to cooperate on my terms, then I may as well go back to my old eating habits so I could at least ENJOY myself. Why yes – I think I will help myself to that piece of delicious chocolate. Oh, a spoonful of ice cream? Make it a bowl! Oh potato chips, I never really enjoyed you but I have deprived myself for so stinkin’ long… Then, a few weeks later, I would step on the scale and my pulse would start pounding at the sight of the number I was now seeing, and the dieting process would restart once again. This time is for real, I’d tell myself. I’ll buckle down and do what it takes, and…it’s just.so.exhausting.
The cycle kind of repeats itself, doesn’t it? This very cycle is probably why the diet industry is so successful. The diet industry wants you to believe you’re going to lose weight. Losing weight means a lower number on the scale. We all (well, most of us!) want a lower number on the scale! So this industry will sell you products with the promise to fulfill your scale dreams. Sometimes that industry will give you a promise to achieve losing a certain amount of weight in a time frame. Therefore, not only is the diet industry promising you’ll have a lower number on the scale, they are often promising to do it in a quick amount of time. And the best sellers will often be the companies that offer the biggest promise with the smallest amount of effort.
The older we get, the longer we are being fed these promises. For as long as people buy into these promises, the diet industry will continue to thrive. However, that’s a whole another post. Let’s get back to you, Frustrated.
I understand that you are writing because you’ve been working hard. You’ve probably got some goals, and you’ve been working hard to achieve them. If the number on the scale is not cooperating, you’ve possibly entered the mode of analysis to see what exactly you’re doing (or not doing) that is not allowing the scale to work in your favor. If you’re in analysis mode, I’d like you to check out my related article on Scale Frustrations – Why am I not losing weight? (It will open up in a new tab, so come back when I’m done!)
If you have done the analysis and are still frustrated, I have some very important suggestions for you to consider in this journey. I think these questions and suggestions are far more important than your analysis of what you are doing right/wrong.
- Ask yourself: What are your non-scale goals? Why did you start this process? What are you hoping to achieve? Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to be active? Do you want to make better choices to set an example for your children? What kind of behaviors does your healthy self exemplify? Are you proud of your work?
- Drop your time goals. Type A people – I’m talking to you! It’s understanding to want to lose weight in a certain period of time, but sometimes our bodies do not want to cooperate. You can take all of the scientific models of calories in/calories out, overanalyze how many calories you should be consuming to get a certain result, and you can have the perfect plan in place. In the end, our bodies win. It is up to our bodies to cooperate, and there are so many complex factors such as muscle mass, our exact metabolism rate, water fluctuation, hormones, and the actual nutritional content of foods – it is impossible to be fully and completely precise.
- Take measurements! I cannot stress this enough! Chart your measurements. The scale will not tell you if you are gaining muscle mass, but the measuring tape will! Sometimes “weight loss” comes in the form of a smaller body without a reflection on the scale! Your clothes will start to feel looser. Here’s a guide with printable chart to help you out: How to take measurements
- How do you physically FEEL? Forget the scale – let’s talk about the stuff that really matters. How is your energy level compared to before you started your journey? Has your sleep pattern changed for the better? (Moms of babies – I know that’s a silly question!) How do you feel after eating a nutritious meal? Journal your progress, and take note of these markers. (If you don’t have a blog or a journal, you can always send yourself emails!!)
- Stop beating yourself up. Seriously. It’s OKAY to slip a bit. I’d even say it’s okay to slip a LOT. As long as you’re getting back on that wagon right away, you’re still in the game. When you slip, take note of how you feel. Determine whether there were triggers, and see if there are ways you can deal with the triggers in the future. Then, move on.
- Put away the scale for awhile. Send it to time out! If you are working on living a healthy lifestyle, the scale won’t matter. Your body will react accordingly to however you decide to fuel it. At the end of the day, it is not about the number on the scale. Sure, seeing a lower number can give us great satisfaction. But living a lifestyle that is healthy will be far more rewarding. Let me say this again – your body will reflect your healthy lifestyle. It may take you longer than you hoped, but this is not a short-term process!
Above all, be kind to yourself. Love yourself and take care of your body. It is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.
With much love,
P.S. Can you please SHARE this post? Perhaps there is someone else that needs to hear this. Thanks!!