Why you need to throw out your scale, and focus on the real issue – self love deficiency, and a disconnection to your soul-purpose.
I had a session with a client recently that really made me see how many women struggle with this aspect of tracking their weight through weighing themselves daily, sometimes multiple times daily, and allowing that number to dictate how they feel about themselves.
6 years ago, when I graduated from my Counselling Psychology program, and mindfulness Coaching Training, I started practicing professional holistic counselling, and was one of the first to call myself a “Holistic Counsellor” because I wanted to practice differently with a whole person centered approach.
I wanted to be teaching what many others in the nutrition and fitness industry are not teaching.
I somehow knew I was going to be leading women to freedom from food and body issues. And that I would not be guiding them to eat better and exercise as the only methods to thriving on all levels. Including with ‘weight loss’.
Ironically, one of my first clients was struggling in this area, and I have attracted many others over the years who were struggling with compulsive, emotional, binge eating, restricting, food obsession, body image, and emotional imbalances.
I was on this track to holistic healing and ‘weight loss’ back then, but honestly didn’t see that as my calling.
I don’t like to talk about calories, micro-nutrients, macro nutrients, carb to fat ratios, and pull out the calculator to determine the target heart rate you need to be at in order to burn fat.
This just bores me to death, and feels completely out of alignment for me.
Almost 9 years ago I got my certification in weight training, and worked in a few fitness centers. Little did I know that this was going to be another trigger for me in the body struggles arena.
I recall one day, while doing what I was taught to help someone determine the heart rate they needed to be at to achieve the ‘fat burning zone’, that this is just NOT the issue!
The calculator was brought out – which totally felt so wrong to me, because we are not made up of numbers!
It was in that moment, I realized I was not going to approach health and fitness in this rigid, mathematical way.
The number on the scale means nothing. The number of calories you eat and burn means nothing. And I will share with you the reasons why in a moment.
For now, let me just say that I have had my battles and struggles with the scale.
It began in my teen years when I was trying not to weigh over 90 pounds, and anything over that made me feel fat.
I was hospitalized twice by the age of 16 because my weight dropped too low.
It continued into my adulthood, where I would obsess over my body, how many pounds eating that cookie made me gain, and would repeatedly weigh myself multiple times a day.
If the number was up by a few digits, it was time to tighten the reigns and restrict my food, and up my exercise and really beat the shit out of myself. I would tell myself that this time I was going to be “good” and eat only pure foods, and watch my calorie in calorie out ratios like it was my job.
And I did exactly that. And you know what? I was miserable.
This constant inner struggle and torture I was putting myself through made me contemplate self-harm many times, but my inner strength, and resolve to keep going, and learn and grow has kept me on this path, to where I am today.
Today, I would say I am about 98% free of my food and body wars.
But it didn’t come without a lot of working on myself, healing my inner pain, traumas from the past, and processing some of the things that happened to me, and choices I made, and forgiving myself for not loving myself in the way that I deserved to be loved.
And, I can tell you what made it all worse..reading too many books on nutrition, food plans, and being told what I am ‘allowed’ to eat, and what foods were ‘bad’. This sent me into my crazy place, and only made matters much, much worse.
Same goes for tracking my calories in calories out ratios. I have never been much of a numbers person, but I had this nailed!
But, I also hit another rock bottom with this magic iPhone app, when I felt the compulsion to go run off the extra calories I consumed from a tablespoon of carefully measured natural peanut butter. This is not living!
All calories are not created and processed equally.
The higher caloric number in a tablespoon of natural, organic peanut butter, for example, is much higher than in a low calorie, low fat packaged cookie, but the body will use the nutrients in the peanut butter in a much better way, than in the low fat cookie.
Focus on nutrition – not calories.
Eat when you are hungry – stop when you are full.
Stop using food as a drug – and deal with the REAL issues that need your attention.
There is a lot of shame and isolation around these issues of food and body.
I know my struggles were kept under cover, and not very many people knew the pain I was in, and the secret obsession I had around my body, and food.
The secret self-loathing I had for my body.
Not even my husband was fully aware. Probably to his day, he doesn’t really know the full story of what I went through, because I was too ashamed to even share it with him.
When life felt out of control, I used food as my drug, and as my ‘safety net’.
If there’s one thing we CAN do with food, it is to use it as a form of control to overcompensate for the areas we feel out of control.
But this is not the purpose of food. And we are not meant to suffer and use food as our battle ground.
So, now I am stepping into this as a leader for women who are also struggling secretly with these painful issues, and will use my mess as my message, my pain as my purpose, and use my wounds as my wisdom to help women free themselves from this self made prison.
You may be wondering, if you don’t ‘stay on top’ of your weight if you will pack on the pounds because you aren’t paying attention.
Let me ask you this:
What you are doing right now with daily weigh in’s and calorie, and pound obsession…
is it working for you?
What we focus on expands. So if you are weighing yourself from a fear based, anxiety place, you are only anchoring the problem further.
Instead, I have clients focus on what truly needs the focus.
Clients who are fixated on their body, food, calorie counting and obsessively weighing themselves are presented with the 30 day challenge: Store your scale outside of your house, in the shed or storage area, and focus on the inner work during our 30 days of working together.
I tell them that they will instead focus on their body connection, emotional work, spiritual practices, relaxation, meditation, empowerment, speaking up for themselves, mindset, intuitive eating, saying how they truly feel, and working on developing a healthy overall lifestyle change that promotes effortless weight release.
It’s an inside job. And it’s not really about the weight.
Here are 7 reasons you need to ditch the scale, and go on a weighing and measuring detox:
- Focusing on the problem will not lead you to the SOUL-ution. Putting too much emphasis on obsessing over the numbers on the scale will only block you from getting to where you want to be. Ask yourself: does getting on the scale and seeing the number inspire me? Does it make me feel good? The stress and anxiety over this preoccupation will increase the cortisol (stress hormone) in your body, which is the hormone that causes stubborn belly fat accumulation. Focus on what you want instead. You want to feel good! So put your focus on doing the things that make you feel alive, and energized like eating well, and moving your body, self care, emotional nourishment, and relationships with others.
- Muscle weighs more than fat. So if you are working out, and doing any strength training, you will be gaining muscle, which will show up on the scale as if you have gained weight. Instead, focus on how your clothes feel, how you feel in your body. Another side note: if you have an adrenal imbalance, with predominant fat storage around the middle, intensive exercise will only make releasing the weight more challenging). For more on this you can grab the free Adrenal Health Video Series.
- The scale will not tell you if there is another underlying physiological or emotional reasons behind your inability to release body fat. As above, if your adrenals are tired, your thyroid is sluggish, and your hormones are out of whack, this will make shedding inches near impossible even with your best efforts to eat well and exercise.
- The scale will not tell you if you have a digestive disorder such as leaky gut syndrome, low stomach acid, or inflammation due to eating foods you are sensitive to. These need to be addressed, and eating foods we are sensitive to is a factor in fat loss resistance.
- Your stress levels and emotional health cannot be measured by the scale. I can’t emphasize this enough. The emotional root cause needs to be addresses, and conscious attention on rending to our stress management through mindset shifts, emotional healing work, spiritual practices, and engaging in more pleasurable activities all work to reduce the stress response. Compulsive eating is an alarm bell letting us know that something in our life needs to change. Something completely unrelated to food and our weight.
- It’s making you miserable to focus on what you weigh. I am all about feeling your feelings, and that means the crappy ones as well as the happy ones. But if you are deliberately doing something that is unnecessary, day in and day out, that is making you feel dis-empowered, and miserable – why are you doing it? Let that shit go,
- Your worth can not be determined by the number on the scale! As women, our bodies go through many changes over the cycle of life. Having babies, our monthly cycles and hormone fluctuations all can lead to the number on the scale going up and down. Learn to love your body as the miraculous thing that it is! Learn to live in tune with it, and ride the ebb and flow of these changes. Be grateful for your body, and treat it with love. Love yourself where you are NOW, while making changes to achieve the body that you want.
If you are ready to go deeper with this, I have a 4 video series called “Food Freedom: Mind & Body Journey to Radical Self Love” online self study program.
Also check out the Podcast Why Diets Don’t Work.