Why we need to stop weighing ourselves.
The bathroom scales – small, innocent-looking and tucked away in the corner by the toilet but with the power to strike fear, self-loathing and obsession into the hearts of many individuals who have dared stand upon them.
They seem to be everywhere – in people’s houses, in adverts with a woman smiling and punching the air after reaching her 'goal' weight, in doctor’s surgeries and magazines. We can’t escape the scales, and they can’t escape us either – it’s an irresistible temptation to stand on one and measure ourselves.
In recent years, I’ve seen some improvement regarding people’s fixation with weighing themselves especially with the massive uprising of the fitness community on social media such as Instagram, inspiring people to embrace muscles, get strong and ultimately get heavier. We have also seen a massive change with the increasing amount of body positivity talk on social media – encouraging people to love themselves at whatever size they are and striving to be healthy and happy. These are huge and refreshing changes and will hopefully set the pathway for a change of attitudes towards weight in society.
It may not be the overarching view, but I firmly believe that weighing yourself has little use in the search for both health and happiness these days. A person’s health, happiness and self-esteem should not be, and cannot be, determined by something as crude as a number on a scale which does not take into account a huge variety of other factors.
Although some improvements may have been made, I think that we should move past the idea that your health is all down to your weight. Instead, a better litmus test could be an intelligent conversation with your Doctor discussing other indicating factors such as blood tests, BMI, and your mental health (which is just as important as your physical health).
Growing up in a society where people weigh themselves and discuss, compare and berate each other’s weights can undoubtedly have negative consequences for young people in particular. Over 1.6 million people are estimated to have an eating disorder in the UK, not only is that a huge number, but it has massively increased in the last few decades.
Of course, I am not blaming scales for the rise of prevalent rise of eating disorders in the UK, but I believe that encouraging children to weigh themselves at such a young age and rely on the scale for self-esteem and happiness is a dangerous game to play.
One of my top tips for someone suffering from an eating disorder or someone who has a bad relationship with food, in general, would be to throw away the scales. As long as you cling onto the scales, the eating disorder will inevitably cling onto you. Scales can hinder recovery and trigger re-lapses, and I’m afraid that, for that reason, amongst many, they belong in the bin.
Additionally, how is it even logical to base all of your self-worth on simply how much you weigh? Your self-worth should be based on how good a person you are, your personality traits and how you treat other people, not by a number on a pair of scales. Weighing yourself and finding out that you’re X weight instead of Y weight, can make you feel terrible and potentially ruin what would be a good day. You look in the mirror afterwards, suddenly feeling insecure and spotting several ‘faults’ about your body which you may not otherwise have noticed. Why do that to yourself?
If you’re concerned about being or getting healthy, please do not base it on how much you weigh. You could be very unhealthy, restricting yourself and completely miserable yet still be in the “healthy” BMI range and have a supposedly “healthy” weight. Likewise, you could be very fit, in good shape and yet still be labelled unhealthy because of an arbitrary and completely outdated measurement.
If you want to get fitter or healthier, then listen to your body, do what feels right for you and, ultimately, what you’re comfortable with. Nourish yourself with nutritious foods but also listen to your cravings, move more, and take enjoyment in endorphins from exercise. If you do want to track changes in your body or compare, then I would advise taking progress pictures, judging it by how your clothes fit you and most importantly, by how you feel in yourself.
Weighing yourself simply serves no purpose, and at the end of the day, your weight does not matter in the slightest. Bin those scales, go out there and live your life.
#tyro #norm #scales #weight #health #sweat
Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash