You’re working like a champ at losing weight. You’re doing the work, figuring out why you overeat, and you’re changing your perspective about your body and your emotions. You feel amazing about how it’s going and you’re certain that you have lost weight.
So you step on the scale, excited to see the payoff.
But then your heart sinks.
Not one bit of a pound lost.
“Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.” You say to yourself.
Then the blame game starts.
“I knew I ate too much pasta on Monday.”
“I did have dessert on Wednesday. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“OK – what do I need to change?”
You start strategizing; flashing back to everything you ate that past week trying to determine what stopped you from losing weight.
“This just isn’t working. I’m doing something wrong.” You’re frustrated. Angry even.
You’re angry because you were feeling so good and doing so well and you think the scale is telling you that you’re wrong.
So you lose faith in what you were doing. You step back a little and let old habits come back. You start beating yourself up again. You go from feeling amazing and empowered to feeling hopeless in the 30 seconds it takes to weigh yourself.
I’m able to tell this story seamlessly because I know it like the back of my hand. My hunch is that you do, too.
We are a society of instant feedback.
Growing up, we get ‘good job!’ from our parents after just about everything we did. We get test scores all through school; we get input from our teammates and coworkers. We can tell pretty quickly if other people think we’re doing a good job.
Naturally, when we decide to lose weight, we turn to the scale for that instant feedback.
We let the scale tell us if what we’re doing is working or not.
Simple, right? For some people, yes, it is that simple.
But for most it isn’t.
And thinking it should be that simple is a big factor in giving up.
The scale is just one piece of information in lasting weight loss. And it’s not the most instant form of feedback you can get.
Remember how you felt before you stepped on the scale – feeling good, feeling positive, feeling like you are headed in the right direction.
That is your most instant form of feedback.
Feelings like confidence, empowerment, even calm or hopefulness are your first clues.
This is your emotional compass and it gives you lightening-fast feedback.
Those feelings of optimism, freedom and even authentic contentment are the first forms of feedback that tell you you’re on the right path.
And you don’t have to lose any weight to feel that way.
It takes your body a little bit of time (but not much) to catch up to that emotional momentum.
But it will if you let it.
When you check in with how you feel, your feedback is truly instant.
You know within the minute that what you just did worked, because of how you feel.
When you look at your feelings, it’s not about being happy all the time. It’s not that you have to feel crazy-good 24 hours a day.
But you will know you’re on the right path to lasting weight loss when you feel the tension decreasing, the resistance slowly breaking down and your confidence building.
When you create awareness of what you’re thinking and claiming ownership of every moment in your life.
When you start to heal your mind, your body will follow.
And only then is the scale useful.
But thinking that the scale gives you up to the second feedback is a misuse of that tool.
Every tool has it’s place- the scale’s place is not at the front of the line.
Your emotional compass is.
So next time you weigh yourself, take stock of how you have felt the days before you get on the scale.
If the scale hasn’t moved, remember that your body will release excess weight when it’s ready.
You job is to allow the healing first.
No scale can tell you the moment that you do that.
You can tell if you’re doing your job of healing by how you feel.
If you feel like you’re on the right track, just keep doing what you’re doing.
The scale will follow.
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