NHBPM: Our Frenemy the Scale

Digital, analog, medical grade, slider, no matter what type of scale you own, am I right in that it has the uncanny ability to hold your emotions hostage? Almost everything we do, and pretty much everything we eat, comes with a nagging thought in the back of our heads about what our judgmental and overbearing scale has to say about it. Half the time we listen and put down the cupcake. The other half we give it the big finger and devour that shit like it’s going out of style. Once the sugar high wears off, we fall into a state of self-loathing and will do anything to make it up to the scale. Two-a-days, chugging water, eating a bowl of kale for breakfast lunch and dinner, or in extreme cases, starving altogether.

There was a period in time where I’d get on the scale every single morning, and log every single day’s weight. The idea that this was okay and healthy for my psyche came from the clinic diet, where they felt a daily weighing was necessary in order to closely monitor and adjust as necessary.

For the majority of us, this is not healthy. It is a borderline addiction. I’ve even heard of people getting on the scale several times a day, every day. Stop it! Be honest with yourself – can you really do this every day and not let it affect your mood? If so, cool, do as you wish. But I’m willing to bet that you obsess over that number far too much. I know this because I still do it too. The naggy voice in my head is a faint whisper rather than a booming roar, but nevertheless it’s still there.

After my last body fat test, I made a conscious decision to record an “official” weight only once per month, and allow myself one (maybe two, if I’m being honest) “check-in” weight somewhere in the middle just to make sure I’m not flying off the rails. Even that shouldn’t be necessary, because if I continue to work out and eat clean, only good things can happen.

Right now I am focusing on one goal: build muscle. The body fat will fall in line. Losing that four pounds of muscle between my first body fat test and the second has bothered me more than I thought it would. Why did it happen? Because I was obsessed with seeing the number on the scale go down when I should have been obsessed with feeding my body and muscles the right foods.

I totally get why we use our weight as a measure of our success or failure. It’s an easy number to measure and changes the most frequently. It’s easier for others not in our world to understand. “Hey guess what, I’ve lost 10 pounds!” is more relatable than “Hey guess what, my lean body mass went up by 3.48% in the last four months!” I certainly don’t want to drown myself in a dunk tank every month only to see a 0.9% difference in the number I saw before. Somehow it doesn’t seem as big of a deal, right? But when I live and die by the scale, I’m doing myself a disservice.

So, screw you, scale! I’ll see you in a month.

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