I’m betting the answer to the above question has been “yes” at one time or another, maybe even now. We’re in mid-January, the beginning of the “fitness season” (read: weight loss season) and a plethora of people are stepping on scales in their bathrooms, gyms or any other place that they think might have a “better” scale to determine their self worth.
My last post here was about how I feel about the word about the word diet. It’s now time to come clean about how I feel about scales:
Unless you are following a doctor’s specific order to lose weight (or weight management) to optimize your health, I do NOT believe in weighing yourself on a frequent basis (daily or even weekly; monthly is only slightly tolerable).
As a dietitian, I fully understand the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for the general public and for those with diabetes. (I even have a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management from the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in addition to being a Certified Diabetes Educator). Personally and professionally, I just can’t support the culture of dieting and scale obsession.
If you’re female in our “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” or the “see how fast she dropped that baby weight” society, you’ve likely been a part of the dieting culture. You may not even realize how much of that culture is ingrained into your way of thinking (or feeling) you’ve been a part of it for so long.
Scales have somehow gained “almighty” status by being able to direct how people feel about themselves. A number on a scale has become powerful enough to direct an emotional range from anxiety and panic to soul-crushing disappointment or elation in a matter of minutes.
I have had my time of being ensnared in the power-grip of the almighty scale. I had to break up with my scale years ago and it wasn’t easy. It took a long time to transition responsibility of my self worth from a scale to myself.
The only time I step on a scale now is when I go to the doctor for yearly check-ups. The number on the scale is not what the Ideal Body Weight formula would calculate but as long as I’m within the range for my height, it’s one of the markers that tells me I’m healthy.
It’s just a number, it isn’t who I am (or even the only thing that determines my health status). It took me a long time to come to that way of thinking but it is now the core of who I am and what I do for a living.
I don’t watch television commercials lately (thank you DVR!) but I caught the New Year’s Kellogg’s Special K commercial and I hate to admit that they get it The :30 spot has women stepping onto a digital scale in the middle of Times Square (home!) and the reading has no numbers – just words: positive, joyous, and inspirational words about living life and loving who you are right now!
It is my hope that through this blog and through the nutrition practice I’m developing that I get the chance to help others realize that balance is the key to a healthier, happier lifestyle not numbers on a scale.