Growing up as a girl, we're given a lot of messages by our well-meaning families, friends and neighbors: Always be polite. Be a lady. Pretty is good. Beautiful is best. Then, as we get older, we're hit with all kinds of media messages: To get the guy you must be hot (and, of course, the ultimate prize is getting the guy!). The right haircut, lip gloss and outfit will help you go far in life. You'd be happier if you just lost 10 pounds. If you don't look like a celebrity or model, well, there's something wrong with you that you just must fix -- like right now. Otherwise? No hot guy, no awesome life.
Ladies, do you feel me on this? Most of us spend the first part of our lives in an insecure mindset that our culture bathes us in, conscious or not. So it's no wonder that we grow up not just thinking but believing that the number on the scale -- the exterior of ourselves -- is who we are and where we get our value from. When we step on the scale each morning, hoping and praying for a "good" number, we know that whatever flashes up will determine our mood for the day, whether or not we feel good about ourselves.
Which is exactly why I don't weigh myself more than once a week. If that.
We can talk about how muscle is denser than fat and how your weight can be affected pretty drastically by everything from stress to hydration to whether or not you need to go to the bathroom. We even can talk about some of the research out there that says that those who weigh in daily have more luck keeping the weight off. But for me -- and for hundreds of the other women I've helped and talked to -- the scale is a one-way ticket to poor body image. That number and its significance is just too ingrained in our psyche.
And the only way to get away from its yo-yoing, confidence-sucking and confidence-boosting pull is to limit your time with the darn thing. And find a deeper and more real and stable sense of power; one that doesn't have a darn thing to do with how much we weigh.
So woman (and men!) of the world, I urge you to ditch the daily weigh-ins. Instead of using your daily weigh-in to judge your progress, take that time to instead check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you feel and send yourself some unconditional love. Do you have more energy than you used to? What healthy foods sound good? How can you move your body a little more? What do you like about yourself? How can you show yourself love today? These are the things to focus on. By doing this, over time, you can develop a better relationship with the scale and yourself.
At the end of the day, we all want more than to see a certain number on the scale. We want to feel good about ourselves. We want to be healthy. We want to be seen. So honor those goals by listening to your hunger, paying attention to your body and respecting yourself by ditching the negative head-speak and embracing the notion that living a healthy life is a way to show yourself unconditional love and respect.
And, most importantly: You are so much more than that number on the scale.
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