Is it Time to Press ‘Pause’ on Being Weighed?

Anyone who is a client of ours is more than likely aware of our attitude towards the scales; we kind of see it as somewhat of a necessary evil. Of course, we need some way of monitoring progress and setting goals for our clients. But we don’t just use the scales; we also take measurements and we measure body fat. We encourage all of our clients to NOT weigh themselves at home at all. And our emphasis is always on changing habits, rather than obsessing about a number on the scales.

The Scales can Becomes a Trigger

In some situations, the result on the scales can actually lead to emotional eating. A ‘bad’ result on the scales can trigger anxiety and even shame, leading to a low feeling. This can affect the person’s entire outlook on life. They judge themselves  as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, which can unearth all sorts of old feelings from childhood about failure and not being good enough. This can lead to bingeing and the feeling of being out of control. With these clients, we often know it’s a red-flag when we hear; “What’s the point?” or “I tried so hard this week but still didn’t lose weight so it’s not working.”

In reality the failure to lose weight can be down to all manner of things, but those clients don’t want to hear them; instead, they obsess about their perceived ‘failure’. In this case, this client may do better to NOT be weighed for a few weeks until they feel more positive about the results and, instead, they will be encouraged to focus on their habits and how they feel in their clothes.

It May Start an Obsession

Focusing solely on the figure on the scales can cause more harm than good in some cases. Some clients have a very unhealthy attitude towards the scales (which your consultant will try to talk to you about and will encourage you to question as part of your weight loss journey). This can lead to people obsessing about food (which often instigates overeating, rather than eating because you are hungry), negative thoughts about your body shape, lowered self-esteem and repeated yo-yo weight (losing and then gaining again in a constant cycle).

In some serious cases, an unhealthy obsession with the scales can even lead to eating disorders, such as binge eating or anorexia. It can also detract from other health goals – when you think that health is only about the scales, you are more likely to neglect changing other habits that will benefit your health (ie. instead of building in rest days, you may push your body to exercise too much which is counterproductive for health).

Is it Time to Press Pause?

Clients who become stuck or too fixated with the scales can benefit enormously from taking a break from it for a month or two. If you think this is relevant to you, discuss it with your Motivation weight loss consultant. They will guide you on the best way to approach your break from the scales, and they will emphasise how you feel and the habits you are trying to improve.

When we press ‘pause’, your consultant will either agree to hide the measurement on the scales (and record it privately, to be viewed at some time in the near future), or the client won’t be weighed at all (it’s up to the client).

In those scenarios, we simply focus on the good habits that have changed that week, and things such as how the person might feel better in their jeans. So we get away from specific figures altogether and, sometimes, using that strategy can be very effective indeed.

We sometimes agree to do this just for a few weeks before reverting to recording weight again, when the client is ready to do so.

Blog Post by Maebh Coyle