The Tyranny of the Scale

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I had a good day yesterday and met all my goals.

Instead of my usual Friday -- feeling like I "deserved" a day off and drinking wine and not exercising-- I shifted my mindset and decided I deserved a healthy day! I actually got on the treadmill (which I haven't done on a Friday in a LONG time), and we ate a vegetarian dinner. I did eat at the high-end of my calorie range, but other than that I did great. I weigh 161.5 this morning.

The Tyranny of the Scale: when one's too preoccupied with the NUMBER. Do you get upset, mad, depressed when you "deserve" a bigger weight loss? Do you feel like quitting entirely, and tell yourself, "I knew this would never work!"? Do you avoid the scale when you know you've been bad? This certainly describes me, and Judith Beck calls it "Tyranny of the Scale". The excerpt below is from her blog:

"I told Sue that I thought she suffered from “tyranny of the scale,” that is, her mood was way too dependent on the number it registered. I told her it was difficult to get over the problem unless she started weighing herself every day. In fact, I told her, I not only wanted her to weigh herself, but I also wanted her to start graphing her weight.

Sue needs to see, over and over and over again, that daily fluctuations in weight are NORMAL. She had thought that the scale should go down every day or every week as long as she was sticking to her plan. She didn’t know that the scale is supposed to register a higher weight some days. It doesn’t mean she’s become fatter. If she’s stuck to her diet and exercise programs, it means she retained water, had some hormonal changes, ate saltier foods, ate later than usual the evening before, or experienced some other normal physiological change that we couldn’t identify. In fact, I told her, “Don’t look for why your weight is higher on any given day—unless you didn’t stick to your eating plan. Just assume it’s a normal fluctuation and that the scale will come down again within a few days.”


Someone in the comments section attested to this method, and said that after awhile, the number stops carrying so much importance -- it just becomes DATA in one's weight-loss journey. I loved that idea, depowering the NUMBER, and just using it as DATA in my quest to become healthier and fitter.

The blog is, and click on the tab for the "dieter's blog" if you are interested in checking it out. I'm going to use the blog as part of my daily reading assignment.

I've got another great day planned, and hope you do too. This is our last weekend before the holiday season starts, so we need to make it a good one!


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD4357551
    Okay TG - You are really getting after it and good for you!

    Great Friday and I know you'll have a great week-end.

    Not much else to say to a star player on a hot streak - you just let them go and cheer them on!!


    Keep it going!


    4077 days ago
  • NANCY-
    It is strange how we give so much value to DATA. Emotionally that is. It is true, the "thinking mistakes" start seeping in.

    I can see your mindset changing. WTG on having a healthy day! You are so worth it.

    4077 days ago
    I love the theory of depowering the numbers on my scale. I let them rule my emotions for the day or even the week.
    4077 days ago
    Thanks for the blogsite. I will definitely check it out. As for you, you are doing GREAT! Adding in extra workouts and eating super healthy! Give yourself a pat on the back and a big hug! Great job!
    4077 days ago
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