Using your scales as the window to your mind
Chances are that if you have been struggling to lose weight for a while you are familiar with experiencing an array of emotions when you get on the scales. I can remember the anticipation of a slimming club weigh in. In fact, I would only go when I lost weight because I felt such shame if I had gained a pound.
We make it mean such a big deal as to whether the number has gone up or down. It’s worth remembering it’s only a number. The number itself has no meaning. It’s our thoughts about the number that make it mean something. The evidence for this is that the same number will mean different things to different people.
Consider the number, 13 stone and 5 lbs. What does that number mean to you? What thought do you have about that number? How does that thought make your feel?
Here are the some of the thoughts that you may have had:
- I am so glad that I am below 13 stone now
- I would do anything to weigh that
- I am 3 stone heavier than that
- How does she know how much I weigh?
- I felt terrible when I was that weight
- I would feel wonderful if I was that weight
So, one simple fact. A number that is entirely mathematical can create a whole array of thoughts for different people. And those differing thoughts create different emotions, different feelings. They could be something like:
- I am so glad that I am below 13 stone now – Competent
- I would do anything to weigh that again – Regret
- I am 3 stone heavier than that – Shame
- How does she know what I weigh? – Curios
- I felt terrible when I was that weight – Relieved
- I would feel wonderful if I was that weight – Hopeful
Now think about you how you act when you feel competent vs when you feel shame. When you feel competent you have a confidence that what you are doing will get you the result that you want. You have likely made progress on your weight loss journey, you believe it is working and you know that if you carry on you will get to your goal.
But what about when you feel shame. Often people who feel shame about their weight feel stuck and unable to move forward. They are tied up with making it mean that there is something wrong with them. This makes it difficult to find the feelings, the motivation, the belief that weight loss management, getting to and maintaining their ideal weight is even an option for them.
Some people associate such intense feeling of shame with the number on the scales that they avoid weighing themselves altogether, just like I did.
When I coach people on weight loss, I ask them to weigh themselves every day. This is so they can observe their thoughts and feelings about the number on the scales.
When you weigh yourself every day you will see your weight fluctuate regularly. It could be hormones, it could be water retention. There are plenty of reasons. By getting used to weighing yourself every day you can observe how you think and feel about the number you see on the scales.
Before I found life coaching for weight loss, the only thing that has ever enabled me to manage my weight permanently, the number on the scales would dictate my mood for the entire day. If there was a loss it could result in me feeling confident that the diet was working, and I would feel compelled to stick with it. Sometimes I would have the thought that I deserved a treat because I had done so well and have some chocolate, and then find that I couldn’t control my urge to stop at one small piece.
Likewise, often if I saw a gain, I would start to have doubts that the diet was working and convince myself I may as well have dessert because ‘being good’ wasn’t yielding the results I expected.
What I didn’t know then, but what I teach my clients now is firstly that this mind drama is a huge opportunity for learning to observe our brain in action; and that secondly we have the power to choose the thought to create the feeling that we want to help us reach our weight management goals.
The feeling that you have when you stand on the scales is optional. It’s created by the thoughts you have when you see the number. If you change your thoughts your will change how you feel.
Weighing yourself daily is a fantastic learning experiencing for practicing this skill. First get competent at observing your thoughts and feelings, and then learn how to actively change it to what you want it to be.
This skill, if you can learn to develop it now with your weight, can be applied to any circumstance in your life. You can literally learn how to manage your thinking.