The scale is the devil. It really should not be part of your plan. It leads you down a dangerous and maddening road. It’s called Scale Despair.
This, one member of our group declared during a post vacation conversation. Incidentally, the discussion began after Butta declared that she checked her weight after a few weeks of consistently good habits. In her mind, better fitting clothes and a better feeling body must mean a ‘better’ (read smaller) scale number. Instead, “it suggests nothing has changed in my life” was her conclusion. “Though I am more mature now and go (mostly) by how my body feels and the way my clothes fit, I am still a bit puzzled”.
Such is the reality of many of us women who go on any kind of weight loss journey. Yes, we are encouraged to focus on how we feel and how our clothes fit, yet we are unable to let go of that darn scale number. It’s not our fault really. It’s what’s been drilled into us for decades thanks to the beauty and health industry. We get so attached to a number or a standard by which we ‘ought’ to adhere and become lost and desperate when we fall short of it. It’s psychological warfare. And the only way it seems we can win is if we change in our perceptions both of ourselves and our bodies. It’s what we are determined to do.
However it doesn’t stop the conversation or the question – which is better, the scale or the inches? Other than what we know or believe, the answer depends on your true goals. If you are stuck solely on a scale number, then by all means, ensure you have a process that is sustainable, otherwise you may become a hamster on a wheel. There are simply too many factors to account for which we often times do not consider when focusing on the scale (e.g. fat loss differs from weight loss). Not to say in can’t or wont change to your liking, but in our experience, it’s the least productive and most likely to cause scale despair.
On the other hand, we’ve found that having non-scale goals like running a 5k under 30 minutes, or having our clothes fit better (losing inches), has made the entire process a little less daunting. By also understanding the changes our bodies undergo during this process, we’ve been better able to manage our expectations. It has allowed us to actually enjoy what we are doing, create the kind of consistency we’ve been missing and develop the habits we know will ensure longevity.
As for that post vacation slump one usually experiences where exercise wanes or the vacation-esque eating ensues, we can confidently say, that’s a thing of the past baby! Sure it would take a day or two for pre-vacation level consistency to return but having ensured we kept just one habit (easily controlled) throughout the vacation, we were able to jump right back into things as if we never stopped. Scale despair be damned!