My irrational fear of the scale…
I’m going to get somewhat personal here…Perhaps being open and honest about my struggles is a form of therapy for me (and if it’s viewed that way, I do apologize) but I also hope (and believe) that by being transparent about things that are worrying me, I will be encouraging others and hopefully letting others know that they aren’t alone…
For many years of my life I let the scale define me. I honestly spent hours every single day thinking about that number on the scale…Had a lost weight? Had I gained weight? Would this food make me bloated?
I battled with this throughout my 20’s. I then decided to compete in a sport that was meant to help me focus on how much weight I was lifting and not on what I looked like. Powerlifting in that regard was awesome!!! And it really did help…BUT deciding to compete in powerlifting is something I wholeheartedly wish I had never done. Competing in a sport that focuses on the number on the scale was the worst thing for me…In case you haven’t read any of my previous blogs or emails, with powerlifting you need to try your utmost best to weigh as little as possible on the day of weigh ins (thereafter you can eat to your heart’s content until the comp) because that number gets compared to the amount of weight you are lifting (power to weight ratio).
I was told to weigh myself daily and although this got me over my initial fear of the scale (as it was the first thing I did every day), it also showed a side that I thought I had put in the past…Since deciding to stop powerlifting, I can count on one hand the amount of times I have weighed myself…It causes such an anxiety that I would rather not know…And through conversations with many women, young and old, I don’t think that I am alone in this…
So it is really no secret that a lot of us put our worth into the number on the scale. The thing with the scale is that it doesn’t tell us the full story!
If the scale is the only thing you are using to track your progress, it can be really, REALLY discouraging when you aren’t seeing the number on the scale continuously go down/up (depending on your goal)
BUT does that really mean that you aren’t making progress at all?
There are many reasons why the scale will go up, or down or won’t even move at all!!!
The things that I’ve noticed affect the number of the scale are:
- Water intake
- Sodium intake
- Muscle soreness (If you have had a really intense workout, chances are the scale will be higher the next day)
- Digestion (Have you gone to the loo?)
- Hormones (Are you close to the time of the month?)
- Sleep (Is your sleep off? Are you not getting enough sleep? This definitely affects the scale)
- Stress…Stress is probably the NUMBER ONE FACTOR that contributes to an increase in the scale! Corsitol is responsible for water retention in the body!
And then there’s silly things like weighing yourself earlier than normal or eating really late at night (This doesn’t cause fat gain but the food is still sitting in your tummy)
As I said earlier, I weighed myself everyday when I was competing. As much as I hated it, looking back I can see a pattern and that really does help. Apart from the above, silly things that I noticed that affect the scale:
- Fizzy drinks. This may appear obvious but the carbonation can cause bloating. Fizzy drinks often contain a lot of sodium as well.
- Medication: Believe it or not, I found that pain killers (from Panado to Myprodol) affected the number on the scale. Again…This isn’t fat gain, it’s merely your body holding onto water.
- Sugar free sweets or diet desserts…I find anything with sorbitol or xanthan gum causes bloating and this will obviously cause the scale to increase…Again, this ISN’T weight gain!!!
- Eating high volume foods…Having more food in the tummy could also show an increase in the scale, even if the food you are eating is low calorie…AGAIN…This isn’t weight gain and will normalize.
PLEASE, you need to be super objective with that number on the scale and remind yourself that it isn’t telling you the full story.
If you take anything from this, take this: THE SCALE DOES NOT DETERMINE YOUR WORTH! It’s just one of many tools to track progress…
Taking pictures, assessing how your clothes are fitting, measuring yourself…Those are also things that you can do to track progress!!!!
Instead of choosing one method, use a few!
If you, too, have struggled with the scale or you continue to struggle with the scale…Just remember you aren’t alone!!! EVER!!!