You’ve been here before, and now you’re here again.
You hop on the scale, but after weighing yourself, you find that after one whole week of eating healthier and hitting the gym daily, you are only down one pound.
You’re now discouraged from eating bland, nasty “health” foods, and feel compelled to just eat what makes you happy since you’re not losing weight anyway.
Going to the gym ties up a couple of hours in your schedule, so why waste your time there if it’s not even working?
Sound familiar? Well, you aren’t alone.
The Problem With The Scale
Despite all the lotions, potions, diets, gyms, videos, and paraphernalia that are available, America seems to still struggle with weight.
This is the problem: the obsession with the scale.
Many people define themselves by what they weigh, which sends them into the vortex of dieting and cheating for years, if not the span of their entire life.
Why You Need To Get Off The Scale And Start Looking Within
The scale is an extrinsic factor—a measurement outside of you. And this is precisely where the issue lies.
Intrinsic motivation is a motivation to engage in an act for its own sake, while extrinsic motivation is based on the reward and punishments the act might bring.
As human beings, we strive for reward, which is why many people eat poorly—it extrinsically motivates through physical pleasure (good taste!).
For many people struggling with weight, there is indeed an intrinsic reward of eating poorly because it tastes great after a long day of hard work.
A body builder will build muscles because, intrinsically, the bodybuilder loves lifting for his/her own sake. However, there is an extrinsic motivation to look good, and thus obtain attention and admiration from others around them.
So how does this pertain to your struggle with losing weight?
Here is the key: it’s essential to make health and fitness an intrinsic motivator as well, rather than only an extrinsic motivator.
If you ditch the scale and stop weighing yourself every day, then consider the reasons why you would exercise and eat optimally, you can then focus on the following rewards that would affect you internally vs. the simplicity of the readout on a scale:
- Improved energy and performance
- Improved sleep
- Improved mood
- Improved focus
- Improved physiology, thereby lowering cholesterol, fasting insulin and glucose levels, and improving natural hormone function
- Improved fitness
- Improved outlook and patience
- Improved body composition (body fat percentage vs. weight alone)
- Improved self esteem
- Improved skin
These are ten rewards that come within the first 30 days of shifting away from the scale and to a more intrinsically driven motivation to live a healthier life.
If you wish to lose weight, patience and intrinsic dedication–not weighing yourself on the scale every day–will be the key to success.
Set up achievable timeframes for yourself and focus on what you will do in those timeframes to yield better results in your journey. A plan of action will always yield successful outcomes, as long as you stick to them and enjoy every part of the way.
Jenn Zerling, MS, CPT, also known as JZ, is a fitness expert, global presenter, author of Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools. Her mission: to break the chains of obesity in America. JZ has her first nutrition app coming out on iphones October 2014, called JZ FITNESS. Follow Jenn Zerling, MS, CPT: Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, Youtube.
Photo by Caitlin Jane Photography