Don’t judge yourself by a number on the scale!

Don’t judge yourself by a number on the scale!

Posted by Joy McCarthy on Oct 09, 2012 | Wellness And Balance

How often do you find yourself staring down at the scale only to be disappointed with the number? If this occurs first thing in the morning, it is not a very empowering way to begin a new day. Some women even weigh themselves twice daily, morning and evening. Ending your day feeling bad about the results on the scale may provoke a cookie binge in an effort to comfort yourself. Not only will those extra calories promote weight gain, but the negative feelings may also raise cortisol, the stress hormone that puts fat on your belly.

I can relate. Years ago, I used to weigh myself nearly every single day and I let that number determine my mood. In retrospect, it seems totally silly that I would do that to myself, but at the time I thought it would keep me at my desired weight.

While studies do show us that weighing yourself keeps you on track to reaching your goals, once a week is all that is needed. In fact, your weight can fluctuate anywhere from three to seven pounds throughout any given day just from water retention. So weighing yourself daily is not an accurate assessment of your overall health.

Since few women are happy with the number they see on the scale, but many of us are goal- and results-oriented, I recommend a few other ways to assess your health. Weight loss (if needed) after all, is nothing more than a side effect of good health. Here are three ways to measure your success that don’t involve a weight scale:

1. Your energy levels. For one week, write down your overall level of energy, giving it a rating between one and ten, ten being very high and one being very low. Be sure to make note of energy fluctuations throughout the day as well.

This will help you become aware of your overall level of energy, so that you can do something about it if it’s constantly low.

Low energy in the middle of the afternoon can indicate a blood sugar imbalance, especially if you are eating refined sugars mid-afternoon (cookies and candies) or too many carbs at lunch. The pasta or white-flour sandwich bread you ate at noon may be a one-way ticket to sluggish energy and the desire to crawl under your desk and take a nap by 3 p.m.

2. An exercise journal. Exercise is a wonderful way to build confidence in your body and feel empowered to eat better and take better care of yourself overall. I probably don’t need to convince you of this because you already know how awesome you feel after a great workout! When the endorphins are flowing and your blood is pumping, you’ll automatically reduce your stress levels after a crazy day at the office.

Keeping an exercise journal will help you keep on track and will create awareness about how often you exercise. It’s easy for a whole week to slip by and not work out if you don’t actually write it down. I suggest you put a one-month calendar on your fridge and write down the days you work out.

You will feel wonderfully proud of yourself when you review the previous month’s calendar and see how often you worked out. If you didn’t meet your fitness goals, that’s okay too. Let it motivate you to get your booty moving because you know how good you will feel when you do!

3. How do your clothes fit? Since I personally only weigh myself when I go to the doctor once per year, I go by how my clothes feel. If they are getting a little tight (and this often happens in the winter because I’m not riding my bike everywhere), I know that it’s time to hit the gym more often and increase my level of activity.

Just keep in mind that if you feel a little bloated during certain times of the month because of PMS, those are not the best times to assess how snugly your clothes fit you.

When you feel good, you look good. Weighing yourself on a scale will tell you nothing that you don’t already know about your health. That’s not to say you don’t ever need to weigh yourself. Assess your goals before you step on the scale. If you are on a weight loss plan, then weighing yourself once per week is a great idea, but daily and twice-daily weighing can be detrimental your emotional wellness.  So don’t let a number on a scale make or break your day. Energy levels, a solid exercise schedule and that feeling you get when you know you look great in your favorite outfit are much more important indicators of overall health.