"I swear the scale is broken. It hates me. I ate perfectly all week. I was the freakin' Mother Teresa of food all week long! But this stupid thing says I'm UP 3 pounds. Why do I even try?"
Sound familiar? I know it does to me which is why I rarely weigh myself. I've noticed that sliding my scale over a mere 2 to 3 inches can magically cause an instant weight loss - or gain - of multiple pounds.
Talk about playing with your emotions. I even bought one of those fancy pants scales that scans your body fat, heart rate, tells you the weather and monitors your home's carbon monoxide levels... I'm pretty sure it has a setting to locate any surrounding leprechauns and unicorns, too.
Here are my thoughts on scales. They are useful, in the long term. They can help us track our results, or lack thereof, over weeks and months. They are to be used strictly as a means of measurement, not, however, as an emotional barometer.
The problems proliferate when standing on the scale determines the rest of our day. If the number that pops up causes an emotional spike in either direction, forget about the scale, it's time to check yourself.
Understand this now, the scale is merely showing the relationship between you and the earth's gravity. That. Is. It. Resist the temptation to use it as a moral compass. Resist the urge to beat yourself up over a high number or the thought of rewarding yourself for a low one. As a matter of fact, resist the urge to weigh yourself every day.
If that thought immediately sent shivers down your spine and panic to your brain, it's time for a measurable intervention. The most successful weight loss clients I've had rely on the scale, at most, for a once-a-week check in. They understand its use. They understand its dangers.
The clients who seem stuck, no matter what they do, are those who insist on weighing themselves daily... sometimes multiple times. This is madness. It's asking for frustration, depression and anxiety. Guess what? All three of those can lead to weight gain through a cascade of hormonal cues. Do you see the problem now?
Your weight will fluctuate. This is a fact. But if you are living the proper lifestyle - and not suffering an extremely rare disorder - your weight will go down. This is also fact. I have yet to work with anyone who is immune to weight loss. But I have worked with dozens of people who certainly think they are. Now if I could only make people immune to the scale, I'm quite sure all violent crime nationwide would drop.
If you like what you've read, head over to FreshEvolutionFitness.com and click the blog "How do you see yourself?" for another free dose of real talk from a real trainer. Until next week, smile, find something to be happy and excited about and live your life to the fullest!
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients