Don’t Be a Slave to Your Scale

Have you ever tried to lose weight? I’m guessing that the answer is probably “of course, are you kidding?” Most of us, at some time, have looked at diet books, pills, potions – anything we could find to get rid of unwanted pounds.

My question is not “did you lose the weight and keep it off?” because I’m pretty sure the answer is “no.” My question is, “how often did you weigh yourself, and did it help?” In other words, are you a slave to your scale?

You should know that I once weighed about 25 pounds more than I do today. I have been on many different diets, and, for me, none of them worked. Well, they did work, while I was on them. But once I stopped the diet, the weight came right back. While I don’t exactly remember all the diets I’ve been on, I do remember the scales I’ve been weighed on – both my own, and at the group meetings I used to attend.

And when I belonged to group programs, I remember I wouldn’t eat the day of the meeting, because we had to weigh in. Then, after the meeting I would go out and eat. I’m afraid I wasn’t a very good groupie.

Let me tell you about my experience with owning a scale. I have a professional scale – you know, the one with the weights, the big one that you move every 50 pounds, and then the smaller one for the individual pounds. Many years ago I conducted my first weight control group out of my living room in State College, Pennsylvania, so I bought the professional scale. I suppose it’s a good one, because it still works.

Over the years, I have found that weighing myself doesn’t really help me with controlling my eating. I used to weigh myself all the time. I’d weigh myself at the beginning of the day, and then at the end of the day. Eventually I learned that the numbers on the scale weren’t always very helpful. I always weighed more at the end of the day – who doesn’t? But it wasn’t fat – it was the weight of all I’d eaten during the day that hadn’t been digested.

As I “evolved” my weight control programs, I would only weigh myself every few days. Even that didn’t help me. See, if I found I had gained weight, I would be depressed, and I would eat more. Conversely, if I saw I had lost weight, I would be very excited, thinking, “If I did this before, I can do it again.” Guess what I would do? Yes, I would eat. So, for me, weighing myself every few days was no help at all! I always wound up eating afterwards. Sort of defeats the whole purpose of having a scale, right?

Each person finds his or her own weight strategies, for better or for worse. I think, for me, the best thing is to just not weigh myself at all, or perhaps maybe once every few weeks. The reality is, I know when I have overeaten. Luckily for me, I don’t punish myself, and I try to just move forward. I have learned to balance my overeating with periods of eating less – and according to my doctors’ scale, my weight has stayed the same for the last 10 years (plus or minus a pound or two).

If you are a person who weighs yourself all the time, try giving yourself a week off – you know you deserve it. Pay attention to how you are feeling, emotionally. Hopefully, giving yourself this week off will be a liberating experience. Maybe you will be able to discover something about your behavior. Maybe you will discover you don’t have to be a slave to a scale, and you don’t have to be a slave to your diet.

When you learn to trust yourself not to depend on a single number, and you will stop being a slave to your scale. You will be able to trust yourself to make the correct choices for yourself. Perhaps…over time, you may discover a way to lose weight – a whole new way.


Become At Peace with Food: Stop Dieting and Lose Weight

NOTE: Information in this site should not replace any medical advice you have
received from your primary care doctor or other medical professionals.