This month in our phone coaching conference call, the Authentic Athletes tackled the topic of the dreaded scale. It is such a heated topic that I wanted to bring it up in this month’s newsletter and also elaborate on how we can create better feelings when we decide to jump on board the emotional roller-coaster we call the scale.
The Dreaded Scale
First of all, how do we know to make the scale an issue? Really think about that. It is a valid question. When you get on the scale and choose to feel bad, how do you know to make that decision? What is the weight actually saying about you? About your week? About your progress toward your goals? And even about your self-esteem? We can feel great about ourselves and two seconds later after stepping on a scale, feel overwhelmed, depressed and hopeless. How does such a small device have such power? There are several issues that come into play regarding feeling bad about the scale.
The first issue is lack of basic knowledge about how much you really should weigh. This is less common to my readers and I won’t go into too much detail here because of the level of education most of my readers have. You can do a simple Hamwi equation to get your bottom line least amount you should ever weigh. That is at 5 feet tall you weigh 100 pounds, and for every inch add 5 pounds. So at 5’9″ for example it should be 145 minimum. I usually add about 5 pounds or so for most athletes. Now that we have an understanding of how much we should weigh, the scale should be no problem right? Not so fast.
The second issue is lack of self-trust. This issue is more elusive than the basic math stuff mentioned previously. You want to make sure that you are on a program that feels right for you. Sometimes this is challenging because it gets interrupted by the third issue…
The third issue is lack of self-discipline. It starts out as knowing that your calories are too low and that you need to add a bit of food, but it turns into a nightmare of cramming everything you can in your mouth until the next day so you can start fresh. Don’t fool yourself. If you can tell your calories are too low, increase them, but do so in moderation.
So here are some suggestions and fixes. Many of these we talked about in our conference call. I want to thank the Authentic Athletes for their contributions and insights.
- Get clear about your goal. I know this sounds simple, but many people think that their goals are to workout, eat healthy, drink a gallon of water, eat healthy, and post updates to social media challenge groups. Those are a form of goals. More specifically, behavioral goals. And, it is important and necessary to have behavioral goals. But, the reason behind the behaviors in the first place, that is the real reason. The outcome goal. Get clear about what all of these behaviors are for.
- Know your bottom line weight. Make sure you have a goal as to what is a realistic least amount you want to weigh. If the goal is to just keep losing more and more weight, eventually you would weigh zero pounds. I know ludicrous, but it is about as silly to not have a realistic weight goal. Consider how much muscle you have and add 5-10 pounds depending on your lean muscle mass. Also, the Hamwi equation is just a guide, obviously you don’t have to use it, but if you are using the scale as a form of measurement you will want to have a bottom line weight figured out.
- Be disciplined with your eating. There is nothing worse than having a horrible food week and then jumping on the scale and seeing it go up 5 pounds or more. This is mostly temporary water and sodium retention but why torture yourself. If you don’t want to be disciplined, don’t even bother to use the scale. Make a decision on what lifestyle you are going to choose and then don’t be shocked when the scale goes up if you ate poorly.
- Trust yourself. It is important in my opinion to include both self-trust and self-discipline. The reason is that, you really want to trust yourself to eat more food if you are hungry, or your energy is low, or if you are on a program that doesn’t seem to be right for you. Not everyone likes to eat meat, and that’s ok. If you want to go vegan or vegetarian, do it. If you tried doing low carb and it seems off to you, stop doing it. If you eat a certain type of carbohydrate and notice your energy is lower than when you eat a different type, make a change. Self-trust is very important. This includes if you are working with a coach. If there is a food in your program than feels off to you, you should be able to inquire about making some changes. Obviously if you are doing a competition and you are 6 weeks out, there won’t be as much wiggle room as if you are doing a program for maintenance or general weight loss. Nonetheless, the discrepancy should still be brought up. I have had clients tell me they are gagging on their food. Good to know. I certainly don’t want that to be the case. But if they did not tell me, I would not have known to make some changes. It is important to understand what foods your body likes. And I don’t mean, hey I need to eat ice-cream all day, every day. You get my drift.
That’s all for this month. I hope you have enjoyed it. I want to thank again the Authentic Athletes for bringing up this important subject and also for contributing to generating solutions so that we can feel good about ourselves no matter what our weight is.