Do you remember the fairy tales when they used to look in the mirror and say, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” This common question was popular in the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Now in recent movies children and adults step on the scale to determine their beauty. It’s funny, they do not even pay attention to how their clothes fit or what the mirror looks like, as soon as they step on the scale they feel beautiful or not.
It starts when we’re a child and we’re told whether we are healthy or not by our weight on the scale. Then we start to see media ads showing hot bodies, rapid weight loss and plastic surgery. All leading us to believe if the scale goes down, we will be beautiful and accepted. We then fight to burn off stubborn fat. We fight in many ways. Some buy weight loss pills, others practice moderate to severe starvation, while some try surgery. All to get the number on the scale to go down. But what does that number mean? If you lose weight through crash dieting, will you look good after you lose 50lbs? Will you feel good? Will you maintain it?
It amazes me how we have been controlled by this digital piece of equipment that lays on the floor all day. How do we rely on an inanimate object to tell us whether we are beautiful or not? A human could tell us we look amazing, our clothes could fit better, but if the scale says we are up two pounds, we immediately feel like a FAT failure. Trust me, I used to have this mind set. If I was down two, I was happy, up two and I was rude to everyone around. The sad part is, no one else could see any changes, just me and my bathroom scale (my depressed attitude made me uglier than the two pound weight gain did anyway).
We have to change this mind set. Weight loss does not mean pretty or handsome. If you lose 50lbs rapidly, trust me, you will not look attractive to most people. Many times, your skin hangs off of you, you feel like crap from nutritional deficiencies and you’re wondering how you are going to tone up the hanging skin. I have seen people be happy that they lost 100lbs in 4 months, but they look and feel ten times worse than they did when they we’re 100lbs heavier. Some are elated because the scale says 100lbs less, but when they really sit down and look at how they feel from starving and how they look from losing 50% of their muscle, it still does not equate to happiness or beauty.
To the flip side, I may meet someone who has lost pant sizes, gained strength and energy, but they are depressed because the scale says their up 5lbs. Many times when someone starts losing weight slowly through strength training and a good diet, they may actually gain weight or maintain on the scale due to muscle gain and other factors. Their body is working to get healthy, but many times they are dropping body fat and changing shape, tone and sizes. Their body is internally getting healthy and working to increase their metabolism. But sure enough, because the scale says their up 5lbs, they freak out and beat themselves up. Either they start to starve themselves, give up or go on a binge. They forgot that their friend mentioned how good they looked, that their rings were getting looser or they felt ten times better. The stupid, inanimate scale told them they were up 5lbs so this healthy crap must not be working.
We need to realize that the scale only gives us a number. It doesn’t tell us whether we are a ball of flab or a ball of fit! It does not tell us whether we are preventing disease or creating cancer and bone loss. If you are starving yourself, taking weight loss pills or going to most doctors to reduce your stomach size, please do not jump up and down for your weight loss. It’s not getting you to where you really want to be. At least I wouldn’t think so. Not from the after effects we have all seen and experienced.
It’s time we do what they did before scales existed. We focused on how we felt and how our clothes fit. If things were getting a little tight, we moved a little more or laid off the extra helping. If we were feeling run down, we used to eat specific foods to help get us going. Our goal was never to starve ourselves or drink protein shakes to feel good. Our goal was always to eat good food and work hard. Your body will look like what you do to it.
Think about how you take care of everything else in your life? Think of how you judge whether something is beautiful or not? Do you judge the beauty of a flower by it’s weight? Do you judge the condition of your car by how much it weighs? Do you think your dog is cute because it is at an ideal weight? No! You do not determine beauty by how much any of these things weigh and you do not keep them beautiful by weighing them on a scale everyday. What do you do? YOU TAKE CARE OF THEM. We take care of the flowers we want to look beautiful. We take care of the car we do not want to break down. And we love the puppy we want to live long. Guess what? That is the secret to your beauty!
Take care of your body. Give it the water you give to your garden. Put your body on a regular maintenance plan as you do your favorite car and give it the quality fuel it was designed to run on. Don’t throw your body on a scale everyday and expect it to look like what you want it to. It will not get you where you want to be. It will just spit out a number that gives you a false sense of health and gets you hung up on all the wrong behaviors. All the ones which lead to you not doing what you truly need to do in order to achieve a healthy, tone body!
Try this today. Whether you are thin, heavy, fit or flabby, get off the scale. Weigh yourself one more time tomorrow, write it down and then do a 180! Throw it out for 180 days and just focus solely on what you need to do to feel good and look good. Focus on the behaviors it takes to have a healthy body. Go walking, drink water, reduce alcohol, reduce fried foods, have fun with your friends. These steps lead to better health, peace of mind and a better relationship with you. Check it 180 days from now and see what happens. This does not mean free reign to eat and do what you want. This means free brain space to focus on what you can do to cherish your body without wasting your thoughts on what the scale says.
Don’t feel guilty or judged if you have tried the crash diets, the medical weight loss etc. We all have. We have all been tricked into thinking this is a faster, easier route, when really it’s a slow death and a miserable mental journey. Take care of you like you would anything else you value and never stop. Even if you have a setback, no biggie, just don’t give up. It’s never too late to feel better than you do right now, mentally, physically and/or emotionally. You were made uniquely beautiful and there is no one just like you. Start treating yourself that way, because you truly are the fairest of them all!