Scale not moving? Thoughts from a dietitian

Scale not moving

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Kayla

This morning I did something I hadn’t done in weeks. I stepped on the scale. As per usual, I pulled out the scale from beneath the vanity and ensured it was on a sturdy surface – all corners firmly on the floor.

I slept like garbage, felt puffy and sore from the previous day’s workout, yet I remained curious about what today’s ‘horoscope’ would read. When I stepped on, it was more than I anticipated – 3.6 pounds to be exact. The scale was not moving. Actually, the scale hadn’t moved in months.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t upset. I took the reading as just that – data— output based on my input. After all, it’s not like my family and friends love me any less because I weighed heavier this morning than I did a month ago.

In my morning daze, I pushed the scale back to its resting place. Dutifully, I logged the weight in MyFitnessPal because, hey— that’s been my routine since 2011. Weigh. Record. Weigh. Record. But why?

Progress > Perfection

I’ve thought about this for some time now. How does keeping weight records dating back over 10 years serving me? So I can look back begrudgingly and compare my lowest weight from 2013 to today? Contrast and criticize my 15+ pound weight gain? And who’s the judge to say this lower weight was more “healthy.” The scale was not moving but that didn’t mean progress wasn’t happening.

My weight from 2013 doesn’t consider the hours, days, or weeks I spent building muscle, learning about nutrition, and becoming a better version of myself. It’s hard to recall exactly, but I am pretty sure I had a low-calorie protein shake and carrot sticks for the better half of my day. In the evening, I exercised incessantly, suffering through endless hours of cardio to “burn more calories.”

Little did I know that I was tanking my metabolism and making unwarranted sacrifices. During this phase of meticulously combing through Women’s Fitness and SHAPE magazines – a horrible place to look for reliable nutrition information – I decided to pursue health and wellness as a career, and that’s when I decided to become a Registered Dietitian.

Knowledge is power— NOT 🤦‍♀️

I thought “improving my health” and “losing weight” would get easier as I learned more about biochemistry and nutrition. Unfortunately, the opposite was true. The more I learned, the more I thought of foods as “good” and “bad.” My calorie intake and output became my own personal science experiment. Weighing foods to the gram, diligently tracking in MyFitnessPal, combing the data to ensure I reached my daily nutrient goals. This is no way for any sane person to live.

Maybe you feel this way? Stuck in a monotonous loop of overindulging and restriction. As I have told countless clients in the past, “it’s not about what’s on your plate; it’s what’s in your head.” This is why MINDSET is such a central topic in my LIFe program. I would like to think that most of us recognize that broccoli is healthier than an oatmeal creme pie, and what we really need to work on is the mental clutter of what we think is best for us.

Years after I graduated to be a Registered Dietitian, I realized that much of the curriculum was based on flawed research, bogus national nutrition guidelines, and an unfair prejudice that “calories are king.” Well, folks, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Weight management is more about hormone management over calorie deficits and “willpower” – gosh, I loathe that word. If you are fueling your body correctly, you shouldn’t be hungry. Hunger does not equal weight loss. Let me repeat that— hunger does not equal weight loss!

Choose something different

If you are looking for something new – a way to improve not only your health but also your perception of health, then LIFe is right for you.

You’ll have access to a women’s-only online community, free from the distractions of social media and society’s highlight reel. LIFe provides resources, community, and guidance from a Registered Dietitian {me!}— all managed in a convenient mobile app.

Curiosity over judgment

If you’re still reading this. Thank you. I think it’s a message most women need to hear.

We often talk about negating the scale and admonishing its use to save our sanity. It’s true; for some people, weighing may not be helpful. On the other hand, it can provide us with data. Data helps us measure progress. I challenge you to really look inward at your relationship with the scale. Approach its outputs with curiosity— not judgment.

I recognize that weighing and frequency of such an act is different for everyone. You know you best. Be honest with yourself and consider ways to measure progress off the scale. It could be measurements, bloodwork, how clothes fit, or even “feeling better,” which we measure during the first week of LIFe with a body appreciation scale.

Whatever you do, choose to measure something. It could be how many servings of vegetables you eat or how much water you drink. Without data, we cannot determine progress, which fuels our motivation to continue with desired behaviors.

Words from the Wise

“Be curious, not judgmental.”

– Walt Whitman

Whether it’s the weight on the scale not moving or why the Starbucks barista is being such a b*tch this morning, be curious.

Be curious about the person, the process, the end result. Consider the circumstances leading up to a particular outcome.

For instance, maybe the teenager who prepared your grande skinny vanilla latte – no whip, woke up to troubling family news or was on the receiving end of one of life’s crappy giveaways. Suppose the dipwad who cut you off in traffic was late for a job interview because their newborn was screaming all night.

We all have “those” days. It suits everyone best, including ourselves, to be curious, compassionate, and most of all, kind.

Yours truly,

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