The Scale Doesn't Call You Beautiful
The evil called average
There once was an average girl. She had an average family and an average life.
One average morning, this average girl woke up from her average night of dreams. She jumped out of her average bed and ran down to the average bathroom. She looked down at the average scale and stepped on. Then she smiled. Her smile was big and not so average.
She ran out of the average bathroom to grab the average phone and call her friend, who was also average. She had news and she couldn’t wait to share. She had lost a pound from the day before.
According to Kalvin C. Chinyere, M.D., who wrote an article called “Fat America,” 17 percent of American children in today’s society are overweight. According to the National Institute of Health, 66 percent of American adults are overweight.
Those are some scary numbers, but what has stemmed from those numbers is a society obsessed with losing weight. Everywhere you turn there is books, magazine articles, and new fitness and diet fads popping up. It is no mystery as to why girls and women, or people in general, become obsessed with the numbers on the scale.
The average girl was in sixth grade. She was obsessed with the numbers on the scale. The sixth grade years are tough times. resulting in the beginning transformation from child to little adults. The are finally growing into their bodies; the baby fat is starting to disappear; they are starting to turn into young women or men.
What once was thought of as baby fat, is now just considered fat. What was once so easy to get dressed in the morning, turns into adding extra underclothes. If you don’t have one, you don’t fit in; if you have one, you are ruthlessly teased.
Self esteem issues start to develop. Maybe you just aren't pretty enough. Maybe the girls are tough on you and call you fat. You don’t have the name brand clothes to be considered popular. This average girl was me, and at that young age, I was obsessed with the scale. I was obsessed and struggled with being good enough to be accepted.
"Being obsessed with the numbers will only hinder your success!"
The Dangers of the Scale
The scale can be dangerous. Whether you are young or old, you can easily fall victim to everything it says. Old school scales are the worst for this. They only told you the numbers; the dreaded number of how much you weighed. Now-a-days, scales have gotten better. They can calculate not only the weight, but the body fat percentage as well. Some may also go as far to tell you the muscle percentage and the hydration levels. However, even with all those numbers, there is only one number that is being focused on - the number of your weight.
The numbers will often fluctuate. That means in a 24 hour period, you can potentially gain (or lose) up to 5 pounds. The problem is, that 5 pounds might not be actual weight gained, but psychologically, that 5 pounds might be the worse thing you have ever seen.
So why does the weight fluctuate so much. If you just ate, the meal itself has a weight to it. That might contribute to a few extra pounds until it is digested and leaves your body. Water is also a culprit. If you drink a few glasses of water you might see an initial gain, but if you don’t drink enough, your body will retain the water. If you eat a lot of high sodium foods, your body will also hold onto the water.
Mostly though, the scale is nothing more than a liar. If you have been exercising, chances are good you are building your muscles. This means you might actually gain weight, which is the exact opposite of what you are trying to do, which is lose weight. The scale will never tell you that, just like it will never tell you that you are beautiful!
How about you...
What do you think of the scale
See the scale for what it is...
The scale can be dangerous. It is easily obsessed over because most people can’t look beyond the numbers. Yet the numbers are concrete. They are black and white. They can not be smudged. It isn’t like a tape measure where you can lose a couple of inches by sucking in your stomach or just pulling a little tighter. (Besides, who is paying attention if you are holding it so tight you are turning blue in the face. As long as the inches go down! Unfortunately that also means you are lying to yourself!)
Some people love the scale. They think it is the perfect device to keep them in check. If they see the weight is on the rise, they automatically scale back their bad eating habits or do a exercise a little more to put them back in check.
Others hate the scale. They hate it because it lowers self esteem, whether it is because of someone they love being obesessed with the scale or them. They hate it because it doesn’t tell them anything they don't already know. They know where they stand based off of what they see in the mirror or how their clothes fit.
But we need to start looking at the scale in a whole different light. We need to see it for what it truly is. It is a tool. Nothing more than that. It shouldn’t be something that improves our mood, or makes our whole day go bad. It shouldn’t effect our self esteem. It is a measuring device - and no different than the measuring cups you hold in your cabinet. You wouldn’t cry because suddenly you had to upgrade from a ½ cup to a 1 cup measuring tool during a recipe, so why should be cry when we see an increase in our weight because of a little extra water or throw a party when we see a decrease?
How to properly use the scale
The scale is a measurement tool, and to use it properly you are going to want to keep track of all the data. As well as using the scale, it is a good idea to also use a tape measure to record the measurements from various aspects of the body. Using both will help you determine whether you are in a healthy range or letting yourself go.
It is important to keep things consistent. You should try to always weigh yourself at the same time each day or week. If you must use the scale, I recommend limiting it to a weekly basis just because the numbers can fluctuate so much throughout the week. Anything more than that can lead to an obsessive behavior.
You should also weigh yourself with the same outfit each time. Obviously if you are weighing yourself in the comfort of your own home you can do it in the buff, however, in the gym people might look poorly at you if you are jumping on the scale in your birthday suit. Just stay consistent so there is never a question as to whether the weight is from you or your clothes.
You should also stay away from weighing yourself after your workout. If you weigh yourself after you workout your muscles will be pumped full of blood. This will adversely affect the number on the scale and could lead to disappointment.
The main idea behind using the scale is to keep things consistent. You want to try to keep any variables out of questionable doubt. If you weigh yourself after breakfast, the obsessed person will only suggest the weight gain was from their food to make themselves feel better. As long as things stay consistent, the scale can be an invaluable resource for marking your successes.
Measuring your successes
If you must using the scale, a journal is vital to recording your results. If your scale has the option, make sure to track body fat percentage and muscle mass as well. If you really want to get all the numbers, you can even look up and measure your Body Mass Index (even though I believe BMI to be a joke - it will always be higher on those more muscular!) Then you are ready to take measurements of your body.
In the perfect world there would always be someone to measure us. However, that is usually not the case, so it is best you just learn to measure yourself. You can choose which areas you want to measure, but for my purposes, I measure these parts each and every week.
- Arms - Both right and left (because they are not the same size on everybody!) Measure the fullest part of your bicep, when not flexed!
- Chest - This is your ribcage area. When people measure the chest area, this is usually what they go for.
- Breast - This is around the fullest part of your breast. This is something majority don’t measure. I do it because these are usually the first to go once you start losing weight.
- Waist - This is the indention part of your waist. For the most part, it will be about 2 inches above your belly button. This is not were jeans sit on everybody so be sure to measure the right part!
- Hips - This is the fullest part of your body. The measurement should come around the middle of your butt and just above the pubic bone area.
- Thighs - Again, measure both right and left. From your inner thigh, this will be about 2 inches down. This is also the fullest part of your thigh.
Note: This is how I measure myself, but there are many other ways to measure. The key is to stay consistent.
You want to be sure you are measuring each part every time and you are in the same spot every time. Moving down even a quarter of an inch can drastically change your results.
When measuring yourself, you should also be aware of the slack (or lack of slack) in the tape measure. The tape measure should never be so tight to cause fat rolls over the top, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it won’t stay in place either. You should also make sure the tape measure is not twisted.
Make sure to keep all your measurements together. I suggest using a notebook just for your measurements. This makes it easy to compare from week to week. You can also keep track of whether or not the measurements have stayed the same, gone down, or increased.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Finally, make sure you take pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words. This is only necessary if you are embarking on a fitness or weight loss journey. If you just track your weight to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand, pictures are not necessary.
When you see yourself on a daily basis, you might not notice the difference in how your body looks. Let’s just say, you get used to what you have been seeing. The only way to really see the difference is to take a before and after picture. You can do this at 30 day increments or whatever you choose. The key is to wear the same outfit each time. Switching your clothes might make it harder to see. You also want to wear something revealing. Wearing baggy clothes will defeat the purpose. I suggest wearing either workout clothes or a bathing suit.
Taking the first picture will be difficult, but when you see results it will be worth the embarrassment. Who knows, the embarrassment might even keep you from reverting back to old ways. The picture will also prove to be an invaluable tool when it comes to your successes.
"Someone out there loves you regardless of your size; regardless of the number on the scale. It truly is what is on the inside that counts. You are beautiful!"
Get ready for more...
Here are some further articles I suggest reading... Enjoy
Bring It: P90X personal journey - This is an ongoing series of my own personal journey to get healthy. This is what was the original inspiration for "The Scale Doesn't Call You Beautiful."
Our Relationship of Weight With Scale - Weight is a big issue around the world. Can you keep your emotions in check when it comes to the numbers on the scale.
Look Good - Feel Great - It doesn't matter the number on the scale. If you take the time to care for yourself, you will not only look good, but increase your self-esteem.
Reality Check - You're Fat - Are you on a weight rollercoaster? Are you blinded by what your really see. Maybe it is time for a reality check.
Open up and say Ahhhh
You are beautiful....
For me, thinking positively about the numbers displayed on the scale is a hard thing to do. As a child I was obsessed with the numbers. As a teenager I also obsessed over the numbers and as an adult… you got it… I still obsess over the numbers. I could tell you at any point during my life about how much I weighed. Yes, I checked in with the scale that often. I have often found if my scale broke, I would immediately rush out to get another one. I had to have it around… I needed to keep an eye on the numbers.
Recently I have been in another health kick. I have been on my own personal journey with P90X. Knowing how difficult of a program P90X was, I expected the weight to just suddenly melt off. After all, it wasn’t as if I didn’t have the fat to lose. After a few weeks I was getting discouraged. The pounds were coming off, but they were taking there sweet time doing it. That is when I realized I was reverting to old habits again. I was starting to get obsessed with the numbers. I needed to take a step back and think of the scale the way it was meant to be… as a tool.
The scale doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. Sure, it will give you your weight, but unless you read further into the information, you will never know how much weight is muscle, water or fat. Even with the best of the digital scales out there, the numbers can be off. If your body is not well hydrated, it will show your body fat percentage higher than it should be. Most normal people will not be able to interpret these numbers properly to see the truth.
Most importantly, the scale does not tell you you’re beautiful. When people start becoming obsessed with the numbers, they start finding their self esteem slipping. If they are in a health kick, this can be the worst thing for them, because suddenly all their hard work just doesn’t feel like it is paying off. Remember, if you are doing something to change yourself for the better, you very well could be blinded.
We have a tendency to look at things with sunglasses on. We don’t see what is truly in front of us. From personal experience, I have lived life with blinders on. When I was a teenager, I always thought I was fat. I look back at pictures now and realize how wrong I was. I was healthy. As an adult, I have been on the rollercoaster of weight. When I put on weight, I never seem to see it. When I finally do, I try to lose it. If I am successful, I don’t see it either.
Getting caught up in the results and the numbers is not good for you. If you become too obsessed, it might actually hinder your success. You need to base your results off how you feel. And regardless, remember someone out there loves you and your size doesn't matter to them or the number on the scale. It is truly what is on the inside that counts. You are beautiful!
If you have lived a good life and have treated others with the respect they deserve, that is what matters. Long after we are all gone, that is what people will be talking about. Chances are high there will be no mention about the numbers on the scale or the size of the clothes. There will only be mention of how great of a person you are.
So next time you are staring at the numbers on the scale, think of it in terms of the big picture. Are you the best person you can be? If you are, maybe a new scale should be invented… one that tells you how beautiful you really are.