A common theme I’ve noticed among many clients is an obsession with the number on the scale. It is so easy to get caught up on the number, rather than the health behind it.
Jason at Everyday Paleo, wrote a great post about this recently, (part II here)explaining that weight is little more than the effect of Gravity on your mass, and should be treated as such. From his post:
Measuring gravity’s affect on your body, and then assuming that measurement to be relevant to your physical attractiveness is insanity. Stop doing that. Now!
I will concede that the scale can be a motivational tool in the first few weeks of paleo eating and proper exercise, but after that it quickly becomes worthless. Please allow me to make a few points and try to play to your sense of reason.
- If a woman or man is attractive, would they also be attractive on Jupiter? They would weigh a lot more there. Would they somehow be much hotter on the moon due to weighing much less?
- Can you imagine answering the door when a blind date arrives and having them greet you with, “Wow! You might actually be hot! Can you step on this scale so I can know for sure?”
I understand the desire for a tangible, measurable mark of progress, and certainly that is good to have, but if aesthetics or weight are the ONLY goal, making progress can be difficult.
My best compliance with clients is among those who have a serious or life threatening condition and are very motivated to make lifestyle changes. Logically, these clients also lost the most weight, though this isn’t their focus.
On the other hand, clients who focus heavily (no pun intended) on weight, have a difficult time losing it. From a psychological perspective, this makes sense too. If you are constantly thinking about your extra weight, feeling bad about your extra weight and asking yourself “why can’t I lose this extra weight?” … your subconscious is going to try to ease that anxiety and give you mental reasons (excuses) that you can’t lose that weight.
Concentrating solely on weight also shortchanges people from a health perspective, since it encourages eating too little to try to make the number move faster. Contrary to conventional wisdom, since it isn’t just about calories, eating too little can slow progress.
Still not convinced that weight is irrelevant? Jason gave an example in his post of a client who made massive health and fitness improvements, yet her weight before and after was exactly the same!
The Bottom Line..
If you need a concrete benchmark of progress, measure yourself or take before pictures. This will be much more encouraging to see progress in and will help avoid the unhealthy focus on weight.
What do you think? Still prefer the scale or willing to switch to measurements and pictures? Let me know below!