The Scale Break
The scale is such a funny thing. The number it shoots back at you has the power to transform your day. It can make you feel as the next Gisele, or it can make you want to curse every pair of Skinny jeans roaming the planet . Who would have thought that a number would have so much control over one’s mood? Yet, it does. Because that number reflects so much more than the amount of skin, muscle, fat, bones, organs, tissue, cartilage and so forth that our bodies are composed of. From doing what I do and simply being somewhat of a chatter box, I’ve seen that it reflects self worth, beauty, accomplishment, hope, dignity, confidence, athletic performance, perception, and the list could go on and on.
Now, this power that “the number” has can drive you crazy—not in a good way. You know it does if you want to hurl your scale across the room after you get on it. Yes, that’s a sure-fire sign a scale break is in order. Another biggie is your reaction after weighing-in. If you find yourself stepping on the scale every day and that “the number” determines your mood, then the scale needs to take a back seat for now. As I’ll sternly tell my clients, if the “scale scare” starts to occur, don’t focus on the scale, focus on your behaviors and actions. Because it is what you do that determines that number. Seriously. And, only get on the scale ONCE a week. Do it in the morning, first thing after you wake up and after you go to the bathroom. And be sure to use the same scale every weigh-in and do it in the buff, folks.
Tips for the “Scale Scare”
If you feel as if the scale, or calorie counting for that matter, has become your enemy while you’re trying to ditch some pounds, keep the following tips in mind. And if or when you decide to befriend your scale again, only weigh-in once a week. It’ll simply serve as a barometer. At least that’s my advice. However, everyone’s relationship with their weight and the scale is different. You do what works for you and keeps you feeling good. Because eating healthfully and being active is all about feeling good and at peace with your body. With that said, check out my top tips for living healthfully and happily without your stinkin’ scale or mad calorie counting.
- What color is your plate? Yes, colors do matter! Each color of the rainbow dishes up different antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins. In other words, the more colors you have, the more health benefits you’re reaping. If your dinner is chicken, cauliflower and mashed potatoes, you need to mix things up! Swap the cauliflower for cancer-fighting broccoli and switch out the mashed potatoes for roasted sweet potatoes, which provide a healthy dose of Vitamins A and E and potassium without the added fat and calories from the mashed potatoes. Basically, at each meal try to maximize the colors of the rainbow. Not only will you get in extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but you’ll notice that whole foods with lots of color just so happen to be fruits and vegetables! These fiber-filled wonders will help fill you up, without filling you out. Be on the color look out!
- What does your journal say? Keep a food journal for at least a week to keep track of what you’re putting into your body. This will enable you to see your eating patters, ratio of macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs), and connect your mood with the food. Writing down the foods, times, and amounts you eat, enables you to see if anything in your eating patterns is awry. For example, do you not eat breakfast? Do you go more than 5 hours without eating,causing you to overeat at your next meal? Do you dine out a lot? The journal will let you see what eating pattern/s need to be changed. Another biggies is the ratio of proteins, fat, and carbs you’re eating. Each meal and snack should contain a source of lean protein (turkey, chicken, tofu, pork, fish, seafood, low or non-fat dairy) to keep metabolism and lean muscle mass up and you feeling full. Each meal or snack should also have a carb—think fruits, veggies, and/or whole grains. You must food combine here. Don’t just have an apple for a snack, throw in a light Babybel cheese. If just having salad and chicken for dinner and still ravenous, throw in a serving of starch, such as 1/2 cup of brown rice or an ear of corn. Lastly, write down your mood when you eat. If you notice that you’re eating when stressed or lonely, recognize the connection, make a list of other things to do when you feel this way, go to the list when the emotion occurs next, and do one of the “distractions” on your list, such as reading or calling a friend. The more you say, “No,” the more you break the reward system in your brain associated with that emotion and food, breaking the pattern for good.
- Do you follow the hunger scale? This one is always so much easier said than done. For the simple reason that people eat for so many reasons beyond hunger, but when trying to lose or maintain weight that becomes an issue. With that said, make a conscience effort to rate your hunger before a meal or snack. If 10 is stuffed and 0 is ravenous, on a scale of 1-10, you want to stay around a 3-6. Three being that you feel hunger and 6 being satisfied. You never want to let yourself get too hungry or stuffed because if you go to one extreme, you’ll soon be at the other and the cycle will only continue.
Choose a Goal
While keeping the above tips in mind, it’s now up to you to choose a goal. One that is achievable, realistic, and tangible. For example, if you always dine out for lunch, perhaps deciding to bring your lunch four days per week is your goal. If you only eat one serving of veggies per day, up it to three or four each day (1 serving of veggies = 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw leafy greens).
My point is to just choose a goal! Work on it til it’s achieved and then choose another one. Keep in mind if you’re trying to lose weight or live healthier, it’s a process that takes time and dedication, but you will get there! Studies show that achieving small healthy goals on a daily basis is what keeps people on the longer path of achieving their ultimate weight loss goal. It keeps motivation and the positive factor up! Lastly, please realize that a healthy range of sustainable weight loss is 0.5-2 pounds per week.
So—go on! If you’re having a “scale scare,” take your scale break and focus more on goals! Then, once complete, choose another goal! And the process just keeps on going! Remember, healthy living is about appreciating your body and all it can do for you, fueling yourself with real whole foods, and feeling energized, vibrant, and well.