The tyranny of the bathroom scale

“Hanging your self-worth on failing to achieve some random number set by some ever changing poorly articulated stupid societal norm documented on an inaccurate and cheap bathroom scale, is just silly.” 

That is a quote from my Conquer The Carbs weight loss program.

And it is great concept.  A concept I cannot consistently follow.  HARRUMPH!

Though I wrote that sentence over a year ago now, I still suffer from the tyranny of the bathroom scale.  And I voluntarily subject myself to it daily.  Yep, I weigh myself every day. 

Seriously?  Why? What are you thinking?  Crazy Doctor!  Truthfully, right now I am in the middle of a thirty day (if not longer) Intermittent Fasting experiment and I am monitoring my body’s response.  And to be honest – this experiment, is changing the way I view the almighty scale – a most welcome phenomenon.

Why do we let ourselves be brutalized by an inaccurate number on a weekly, often daily basis?  A number that fluctuates as much as 5 pounds over the course of 24h?  A number that is, at best, a poor indicator of our overall health and well-being? 

It’s just a number!

This has to stop!  Seriously.  The bathroom scale is just a convenient tool to monitor progress.  Nothing more.  Yet we make it mean so much more.  So. Much. More.  So much unnecessary suffering.

That three digit number dictates my mood for the day.  If it’s up 2, I’m disappointed and frustrated.  If it’s down 2, I’m thrilled, practically elated.  If it’s the same – Meh. 

I doubt we will ever stop focusing our attention on the almighty bathroom scale.  We must neutralize its power.  Let’s take that three digit number and change our thoughts about it. 

Let’s explore with a little self-coaching.

That three digit number is a neutral fact. Your weight – as determined by the force of gravity on you body – is a fact.  A neutral fact.  It is your thought about that fact that gives it meaning and power over you.  Some people would be delighted to weigh 200 pounds.  Others are aghast at the thought! 

What is(are) your thought(s) about the neutral fact your weight?  Write them down.  Seriously, get a pen and paper and start writing. 

  • I am so fat, this is impossible!
  • Oh, how lovely!
  • See, You shouldn’t have had that birthday cake!

Chances are, your thoughts tend toward the negative, self-reprimand bitter flavor.  How does the “I am so fat, this is impossible” thought make you feel?  Inspired? Enthusiastic?  I doubt it.  Negative thoughts generate negative feelings (it’s just how the world works.)  More likely you feel discouraged, frustrated or defeated. 

Your feelings in turn drive your actions.  So when you feel defeated, you may give yourself an up-by-the-bootstraps-kick-in-the-butt effort.  Does that actually work?  Not in the long run.  More than likely you turn on the self-criticism, resign to your fate and shift into eat-to-console mode as you sink into the couch with a bag of potato chips.  Confirming your belief – weight loss is impossible.

But…. and this is the best news ever – you can change your thought(s). 

Ask yourself… Is this thought helpful? Does it help me move closer to my goals?

Is ‘I am so fat, this is impossible’ a helpful thought?  Does it help to move you closer to your goals? No.  And emphatic no.

So change your thought – not your circumstances (your weight remains the same, and it’s likely gravity remains unchanged.) What is(are) a better thought(s) that generates a more helpful feeling? 

Let’s say you would like to feel inspired to lose weight.   What thought about your current weight would you need to think to feel inspired on purpose?

Some ideas include:

  • It is possible I can lose weight and keep it off;
  • I can lose weight and not feel hungry all the time;
  • It takes time to lose weight.
  • Everyone struggles at times.

If we choose the thought, everyone struggles at times, is that thought helpful for you?  Does it help you take action to move closer to your goal?  If so, keep it.  If not, keep working through ideas until you find a thought that helps you feel inspired (or however you would prefer to feel over defeated.) How does that new thought make you feel?

Change your thoughts, not your circumstances.
Change your perspective and change your feelings.
Change your feelings and change your actions.
Change your actions and change your results.

Huh?  Look at that!  You changed your circumstances!

You must change your thoughts first.  A change in circumstance will follow.

How cool is that?

Buff it up, my friends
Dr Karen

Are you ready to Buff Up Your Brain? Ready to, lose weight, increase your mental clarity and polish up your thoughts? Let’s chat.