This week we are going to look at Scales; if scales have a negative or positive impact on our lives.
Society’s constructions around the ideals of beauty and health mean that scales are often viewed in a heavily negative or positive way. Society has all these rules surrounding the ideal body and ways of regulating these ideas such as BMI, average weights, only selling certain clothing sizes in stores. All of these things enforce in our minds what it means to be “healthy”.
Stepping on scales and seeing that little number can cause a massive amount of damage because it influences how we view our bodies and not to mention what it does to our mindset. That number dictates how we perceive our bodies, if we fit into this social ideal of “healthy”.
A number on the scales that is not “average” or has increased since our last weighing can make us feel worthless. A number that is not “ideal” or “average” makes us feel like we are not working hard enough or putting in enough effort for our bodies.
In reality, there are dozens of factors that can influence the number of the scale, whether we are losing weight, gaining weight or if the number stays the same.
Lack of sleep, for example, can influence our weight. If we are tired then our body goes into stress mode and stores fat making it more difficult to lose weight, likewise if you have more water in your body than usual, if you are on your period (ladies) or are weighing yourself at different times of the day, all of these will factor into your weight.
Diets with a damagingly low daily calorie count often show no difference on the scale because your body goes into starvation mode and stores all of its weight. Likewise muscle and fat weigh differently. You could cut out sugar, start training four times a week and feel fit and healthy but not lose any weight because muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore as you lose fat that number on the scales stays the same because you are gaining muscle.
That is why naturally skinny people can have less healthy bodies than someone who weighs more than them. Even though the number is low they at times will have less muscle and not be as strong as other people who train regularly.
While the scale can offer benefits to some types of training, e.g. professional body builders, fighters etc overall it is recommended that people do not focus on the number on the scale. This number often offers more negative aspects than positive and can have a damaging effect of the way we view our bodies and mindset.
Scales represent society’s way of regulating an idea of the perfect body, rather than conforming to this idea we should on healthier ways to monitor changes in your body. Dropping a clothing size, before or after photos, body measurements or how we are feeling or even how our energy levels are, these are all positive ways we can see changes in our bodies without the negative impact scales have.
Below is a clear example that the scales are NOT a good measure for health or weight loss. The client has not changed one number up or down on the scales, but as you can see her body has changed a lot!
So I leave you with this saying from Dr Libby:
When you step on the scales you are only weighing your self-esteem!!