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Are you a ‘slave to the scales’?

Many people have different relationships with their bathroom scales or even the scales they use at the gym. Some people will weigh themselves once a week, or once a month, some people rely too much on scales, and some people have a love/hate relationship with them. On numerous occasions, I have seen ladies scrunch their faces at the thought of stepping onto a scale and then hang their head in shame once they get off; I’ve even seen a girl weigh herself after doing 20 minutes of cardio to see if she had lost any weight. To an even worse extend (which is the reason I’m expressing my concern) I’ve even seen a young teenager burst into tears and storm out of the gym (without training) because of what she saw on the scales.

After seeing this young women ditch her session after seeing an unwanted ‘number’ on the scale I wondered why she would walk out without even giving it a go. I mean, if you were unhappy with what you saw wouldn’t that just give you more incentive to train even harder? Then I realised that this young women is probably not alone when it comes to being a ‘slave to the scales’. I then started to really feel for her and other people who live by the scales in search of a specific ‘number’. That one girl’s actions are the reason I am writing this in hope that it will reach a large amount of people and encourage them to overcome their unhealthy relationship they have with scales and other ineffective ways to measure body weight.

So, why is relying or obsessing over scales flawed?

Scales do not take into account a person’s individual body competition, meaning that it does not consider the body’s ratio of fat weight to fat-free weight that composes your body (including muscles, bones and organs). For example, two women could be the same weight but one of them can look much leaner when compared to the other. This is because of our individual body composition, what our bodies are made up of or how tall we are compared to others. Therefore reaching for a specific ‘number ‘or judging your body composition solely on a set of scales can be ineffective or sometimes a depressing way to see if you are on track with your weight loss goals.

While I’m on the topic, I thought I might as well bring up BMI (body mass index) and hope that no one is relying on this method to tell them that they are either ‘underweight’ or ‘obese’. BMI was developed between the 1830’s and 1850’s and is considered to be a standard for measuring the amount of fat in a person’s body. To give you an idea of how old this BMI method is - it was developed around the same time that the “typewriter” was invented. And just like the typewriter, it is outdated! BMI, just like scales does not take into consideration our body composition and especially in athletes, BMI does not distinguish between body fat and muscle mass. To also prove how inaccurate this method is, the one and only ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ is considered to have a BMI of around 30 (on season), putting him in the ‘obese’ range. Come on, really? Arnie? Obese? I don’t think so!

Anyway, I know some of us use scales at some stage and in some cases (such as body sculpting or boxing) the use of scales is necessary if you need to be a specific weight to compete. There’s also nothing essentially wrong with using scales if you’re the type of person who may like to maintain that stable awareness over your body’s metabolic records, however when it comes to general health and well-being or weight loss in particular it is important to remember not to become a ‘slave to the scales’.

Obsessing over the scales can damage your efforts to acquire a healthy fitness regime, can hinder performance or result in a depressed, unhealthy or unsatisfied state of mind which can negative effective on your entire day!

So ladies, if your wanting to lose weight or slim down and you notice yourself becoming dependent on reaching that specific ‘number’ on the scales (doing anything and everything to reach it) or noticing an unhealthy relationship between you and your scales then ask yourself the following questions.

  1. What influences you to believe that you ‘should’ be that specific weight?
  2. How do I know that specific weight is healthy for my body type?
  3. Am I comparing myself to anyone else?

Remember, the absolute perfect body weight does NOT exist! We are all unique; a certain weight can be ideal for one person but completely unreachable or unhealthy for another. DEFINITELY do not compare yourself to anyone else, especially if that person is much shorter than you or taller than you. Most of all do not let a little piece of equipment rule your life, ruin your morning or dampen your spirits in search for a healthy lifestyle.

It is your life; you make your own decisions so why be a slave to something that is only going to bring you down. Jumping onto the scales every day is not going to give yourself or your desired goals any justice. A much healthier way of monitoring weight loss can be achieved and managed through the use of body measurements, mirrors and even specific items of clothing.

Create a happier; healthier you by having the strength to walk past that set of scales or by accepting the number you see and remembering that you are an INDIVIDUAL!!

EmJ xxx