It was 8:00 AM and I had just finished up a relaxing yoga session at my yoga studio. I felt like I was walking on cloud nine and had absolutely no worries in the world. There is nothing like starting your day off with yoga or meditation to really set the mood and get you centered, UNLESS, you have the following situation happen to you.
You see, as I was walking into the locker room (still in complete zen), I spotted a woman stepping onto a scale. My first impression: Why the heck is there a scale in the locker room of a yoga studio? My second thought: Why the heck are people still using the scale?
More on my first thought:
Not that I condone it, but I can KIND OF understand having a scale at a big Globo Gym. Trainers there may use it for their clients (unfortunately), and members seem to flock to it. Having a scale at a yoga studio though? Not so much. In a place where there are “no judgements” and mantras that emphasize loving yourself as it is in the present, a scale has no place.
I experienced a lean woman who had just completed the yoga class with me walk into the locker room with grace, step on the scale, and cringe. For what purpose? The scale could absolutely be wrong (machine error due to lack of calibration, flooring, overuse, ect) and the number she saw served no purpose in her day, other than to make her upset.
When I saw that woman cringe at the scale, I just stood there. I didn’t know what to do. I had no words in the immediate moment. I wanted to lecture her for even stepping on the scale in the first place. I wanted to console her and let her know that she looked amazing. I wanted to break the scale in half. As I stood there, torn up inside, I saw her grab her bag and briskly walk out of the room.
I really wish I could have told this woman the following things:
- It doesn’t freaking matter!!! I can’t even remember the last time I stepped on a scale and looked at the number. In fact, I choose to look away from the number on the scale when I have to at doctors appointments. Why? Because I know that even though I have come a LONG way from where I have been in the past, I still do not fully trust my ability to think logically after I see a number that may not be what I was expecting. How do your clothes feel? What is your energy like? How is your overall health? THAT is what matters.
- Do you need to poop? Funny, but true. If you weighed yourself before you eliminate, you may have a couple of pounds that aren’t entirely you 😉
- Are you salty? Excess salt in your diet can cause you to retain water leading to “water weight” on the scale.
- Are you a carboholic? Eating a high carbohydrate diet (especially in the absence of exercise) will fill your muscle and liver with glycogen (the storage form of sugar/carbs). When the stores are full, you can see an extra 3-4 lbs on the scale. After exercise or a short period on a lower carbohydrate diet, you may see weight loss. However, like with salt, this is not fat loss, but a loss of water weight.
- Where are you at in your cycle? We know that premenstrual water retention can drive up the scale.
- Eat water-rich vegetables? I can throw back a fair share of vegetables. If you consume a large amount of even healthy foods, like vegetables, you will see that “meal” on the scale.
- The scale is single focused. A scale doesn’t just measure how fat or how lean you are. It weighs muscle, bone, water, internal organs and every perfect piece of you. When you look at the scale and see that you’ve lost weight, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost fat. The weight loss could be excess water weight or even muscle! Since muscle helps burn calories at rest, looks sexy, and is an overall indication of health and strength, it’s not something you want to lose.
Even if that number on the scale is moving in the right direction, what you’re getting is artificial happiness. You are giving up control over your emotions to a machine. You are happy about some random number that doesn’t dictate how good of a person you are or your many contributions in life.
I used to say “take a pretty bow, wrap it around your scale, and give it to someone you despise.” Now, I wouldn’t even wish a scale upon your enemies.
Please consider removing the scale from your home or ONLY checking it once a month on a scale that also measures body fat %. Otherwise, step away from that scale!
Now it’s your turn! What are your thoughts? Is your happiness also dictated by the scale?