Ditch the Scale: Avoid Obsession

You've been there before, and now you're there again: Hopping on the scale to find out that after one whole week of eating healthier and hitting the gym daily, you are down only one pound. Discouraged from munching on veggies and bland food that never fills you up, you feel compelled to just eat whatever makes you happy since you're not losing weight anyway. Going to the gym takes lots of time out of your schedule; and your scale still isn't moving? This isn't what you signed up for.

This is an inner speech of the average dieter.

Despite all the lotions, potions, diets, gyms, videos and equipment that are available, Americans seem to still struggle with weight. One problem may be the obsession with the scale.

Realize that the scale measures everything: bones, muscles, fat, brains, organs, blood and water. So while your doctor might have told you that you need to drop weight, unless you have a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scan, you will never know where you are losing weight when the time comes.

More: Foods that Burn Belly Fat

The diet industry has emphasized the number on the scale to define a person's progress with health shifting behaviors. However, it can do the exact opposite. People are defining themselves by what they weigh, which can create the vortex of yo-yo dieting for the span of a lifetime. So get off the scale and start looking within.

The scale is an extrinsic factor—a measurement outside of you. Extrinsic motivation is based on the reward and punishments that an act might bring. Intrinsic motivation is to engage in an act for its own sake, which is what you should strive for.

As human beings, we strive for reward, which is one reason many people eat poorly. It extrinsically motivates them since it offers social rewards.There is an intrinsic reward of eating poorly because it tastes great after a long day of work. While this might seem virtually impossible to shift, it is quite possible.

More: The Truth About Fiber

Each individual must determine what intrinsically and extrinsically motivates him or her. Create a list and turn to it regularly while you evolve.

According to Maxwell Maltz, a famed plastic surgeon from the 1950s, it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Top present-day motivational speakers, including Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins, use his findings. Therefore, allow at least three weeks to take root before moving on to another new habit.

For example, a body builder will build muscles because intrinsically, the bodybuilder loves lifting for his or her own sake. There is also an extrinsic motivation to obtain attention and admiration from others.

So how does this pertain to weight loss? If you ditch the scale and consider the reasons why you should exercise and eat optimally, then you can focus on the following 10 rewards that will come within the first 21 days of ditching the scale. You can earn these improvements that affect you internally and externally:

More: Fuel Up With Bacon to Power Through Your Long-Distance Training

  1. Energy and performance
  2. Sleep
  3. Mood
  4. Focus
  5. Physiology, thereby lowering cholesterol, fasting insulin and glucose levels and improving natural hormone function
  6. Fitness
  7. Outlook and patience
  8. Body composition (body fat percentage vs. weight alone)
  9. Self esteem
  10. Skin

If your goal is to lose weight, then patience will be the key to success. Set up an achievable time frame for yourself and focus on what you will do in that period to yield better results on your journey. A plan of action always yields successful outcomes, as long as you stick to it and enjoy every part of the way.

Active logoStay healthy with our nutrition guide.

About the Author

Jen Zerling

Jennifer "JZ" Zerling, has an M.S. in Kinesiology and holds multiple certifications in personal training, Spin, nutrition and yoga. Her leadership experience includes directing the fitness and nutrition for guests at Stay Fit Housing, directing the fitness and nutrition department for Cenegenics Beverly Hills, clinic management for several Lindora Medical Weight Loss Clinics in Southern California, Fitness and General Management for the Sports Club/LA and fitness programmer for high schools involved in Matthew McConaughey's non-profit foundation, Just Keep Livin. She also developed and operates a successful corporate wellness program for South Bay BMW and writes courses for national personal training organizations. JZ's fitness and nutrition writings can be found in multiple media resources (including JZFitness.com) and she authored the book, Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools. She is a fitness and nutrition presenter at national conferences and her JZ Fitness Nutrition app is available on iTunes and Android.

Jennifer "JZ" Zerling, has an M.S. in Kinesiology and holds multiple certifications in personal training, Spin, nutrition and yoga. Her leadership experience includes directing the fitness and nutrition for guests at Stay Fit Housing, directing the fitness and nutrition department for Cenegenics Beverly Hills, clinic management for several Lindora Medical Weight Loss Clinics in Southern California, Fitness and General Management for the Sports Club/LA and fitness programmer for high schools involved in Matthew McConaughey's non-profit foundation, Just Keep Livin. She also developed and operates a successful corporate wellness program for South Bay BMW and writes courses for national personal training organizations. JZ's fitness and nutrition writings can be found in multiple media resources (including JZFitness.com) and she authored the book, Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools. She is a fitness and nutrition presenter at national conferences and her JZ Fitness Nutrition app is available on iTunes and Android.

Discuss This Article