Following the seemingly obligatory Christmas binge, many people are working hard this January to shed the post-festive bulge. I too indulged somewhat over the holidays but I am enjoying getting back into the swing of my everyday routine.
A lot of my clients ask me what I think their ‘ideal’ weight is if and I can help them shed ‘X’ amount. Of course, I am happy and willing to support clients lose weight and tone up but I will never weigh them as part of the process nor will I encourage them to weigh themselves.
A few weeks ago, at the gym when I overheard a saddening conversation. A young girl aged around 9 of average height and build weighed herself on the communal scale and told her female caregiver her weight.
The ladies reply was along the lines of:
”Oh no you’ve put on weight! OK, that’s fine for now, but you have to be careful not to put on any more weight too quickly”
It disturbed me deeply that a growing girl (who was not overweight) putting on some size was a topic of discussion. I will admit I had to grit my teeth and mind my own business.
I would imagine that most women in the Western world have been concerned by the numbers displayed on a set of scales at one point or another. Most of us are able to maintain a somewhat healthy relationship with our weighing machines but for others, it can becomes a fixation with daily weigh-ins taking place.
Personally, I think that these apparatus play a very dangerous role in the lives of women often creating a yo-yo set of emotions depending on the digits displayed.
My mother didn’t keep scales in our house and so I remember my first time getting weighed quite distinctively. A doctor took my vitals and declared that I was ‘overweight’. I was flabbergasted, particularly as I was teaching four fitness classes per week and also doing my own workouts.
“Do I look overweight to you?” I asked, my temper flaring.
“Well… no” the doctor replied. “Actually you don’t, but the BMI chart says you are so I’ve got to advise you to do more exercise and to eat less”
After that, I vowed never to step on a pair of scales again and I nearly succeeded until the months before my wedding when I wanted to get as fit as possible for my big day.
I bought a fancy pants digital scale so not only could I check my weight, I could also monitor my body fat, my water percentage and my BMI. I absolutely loved it! Every week I dutifully, stepped on the scales, marvelling as I watched the numbers go down…until they didn’t.
I had plateaued and it felt awful. Never mind the fact I was getting a myriad of comments about how good I looked or that I was in the best shape of my life. The scales had an unnerving impact on my mood, emotions and self-esteem.
Crunch time came when I did a weigh in after a particularly hardcore workout. I was feeling (and looking) good and was excited to jump on the scales. It told me I had put on half a stone and I was devastated. I balled like a baby and vowed to work harder at my next session.
I later found out that my scales batteries were dead and I was, in fact, the same weight as the day before. That intense reaction shocked me out of my weigh-in habit and that time I threw out the scales for good.
Weight is a complex quantifier of health and a number of factors (height, gender, bone density, muscle tone, ethnicity, activity level) can affect how individuals of the same weight look.
As a fitness instructor I’ve been trained to form an opinion on an individual’s health via very basic factors (weight and BMI) but following my gut, I decided to shift my perspective completely and judge my health on how I feel, look, my measurements and the way my clothes fit. I encourage my clients to do the same.
So, next time you’re tempted to jump on the scales please ask yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose of this weigh in?
- Will the numbers displayed reflect how hard I’ve been working out?
- Will this weigh-in make me feel better or worse about myself depending on the numbers displayed?
If you’re finding the answers to these questions don’t quite sit right with you maybe it’s time to make like a snake and shed those scales!
Source Used: Daily Mail 2011
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