I'll never forget the first day that I asked my nutritionist, "Why don't you weigh me?" I was mad. I was 31 years old and I had been going to see her for 3 whole months. There was a scale right there, in her office. It actually took a lot of courage for me to ask her. I was so ashamed of my weight, and I didn’t understand why she wasn’t weighing me...
Sara looked at me, and the most neutral tone imaginable, she said, “I think you already know how much you weigh.” There was no judgement: not a hint of emotion. I thought about it, and I said, “Yes, I do.” She replied, “So, why do you need me to weigh you?”
I had to really think about that. I did know my weight. In fact, I weighed myself once in the morning and once in the evening, to see how, “I was doing.” I did that consistently. I answered her, “Because my weight fluctuates and I want you to help me. I don’t want to gain weight.”
Sara taught me that yes, the body’s weight does fluctuate: about 3 pounds up and 3 pounds down, based on water weight, and what we eat (after all food has mass): and that is every day! Depending on how much water you drink; how much salt you’ve eaten (and how much water you’re retaining); along with how much food you’ve had; all of that, adds up to about 5 or 6 pounds of fluctuation, daily! And that is natural. It didn’t mean that I was gaining weight.
Now, here is the part where Sara helped me to connect the dots, and a very important part of how we help our clients at Pongo Power. This is the element in this process of discovering myself, that had gone missing on me. She asked, “And how do you feel when you weigh yourself?”
“I feel good when I have a good day, and I’m on track to lose weight, and I feel pretty terrible if I am gaining weight.”
“But how do you know if you are weighing yourself so often? You body weight is naturally going to fluctuate about 6 to 7 pounds, every day.”
“So, that’s why you should weight me!”
I was attempting to get Sara to take responsibility for me, and my emotional state. And, Sara was always very responsible. She was respectful, she never spoke to me in a degrading fashion. Sarah encouraged me. And encouraging me was not all that Sarah was in the process of doing. Sarah was teaching me how to think about weighing myself, rather than to weigh myself. Sarah was teaching me about how I think about my life, my emotional state, and my identity: not just my weight. And here was the biggest revelation of all. Sarah suggested,
“So, the scale is informing your emotional state.”
“Does that make you feel good?”
“No, it actually often makes me feel terrible, because I gain weight so often.”
“Does your clothing fit?”
“Most of the time.”
“Then why do you think you’re gaining weight?”
It took a few sessions of that conversation, and I’ll admit a few months of that conversation, to have me reprogram my brain, and realize that I was in fact using the scale to inform my emotional state. My weight was not actually fluctuating as much as I thought it was.
That was part one: realizing the scale was a trigger for me.
The next part in training my brain to stop believing in the number on the scale, instead of believing in myself, was to learn how to inform my emotional state, with other pieces of information. How are my relationships? How is work going? How much sleep do I get? Had I gone to a museum lately? Was I spending quality time nourishing my creativity and my soul, outside of work?
The only problem with all of that, was that I thought that all of that was going to be going shitty or well, based on my weight. My weight had become a representation of my success in life, and that was simply absurd. Only, much like Dante being lead by Virgil in the Divine Comedy, I was learning from Sara that the hell that I was putting myself through had an end in sight.
If we find that we are having an emotional response to the number on the scale, then it is time to redefine what has us feeling happy and fulfilled in our lives. And, I would like to suggest that there is no need, nor any point in weighing ourselves more than once a week. In fact, because it has the potential to be an emotional trigger for me, I do not weigh myself more than once every 2 to 3 months. I know how my clothing is fitting me! I do not need to weigh myself.
I’d like to suggest that you do not need to weigh yourself either. But, if you do feel it is necessary to have an objective measurement, than consider perhaps you only need to weigh yourself no more than once or twice a month.
Our view of life, how we see ourselves - our thoughts, feelings, and actions - when we are empowered and aligned with what truly matters, we can create fulfilling and satisfying lives. My emotional state is based on my how I am being when I am communicating with the people in my life. Being able to express love and affinity when I talk to my colleagues, our clients, my loved ones, and to have intimate relationships; all of these connections are what inform my emotional state. Also, being able to counteract negative self talk, with positive self talk has helped me. Going to a museum; taking a bubble bath; cooking a great meal; spending time with my dog; training for an event; and traveling: this is how I feed my emotions.
And most profound of all, being conscious of how I am being in relationship to other people, is no longer an act, based upon my appearance, my clothing, and my body image. I am no longer behaving and acting in ways just to control my life. I am being transparent, true, and emotionally connected to the people in my life, with honesty and integrity. It’s not an act. It’s not a show. My life isn’t an image, my life is about making a difference, rather than making other people wrong. My life is about loving people, rather than being obsessed with the number on the scale; and that is what informs my emotional state.