Why is it crazy to constantly weigh yourself? (By the way, Weight Watchers does not recommend this it advises once a week and no more.) Because you already know how big or little you are, how fat or thin you are. You already know if you've gained or lost weight this week. You know because you ate or didn't eat the food; you exercised or didn't exercise your body. You know because your clothes are either getting tighter or they're getting looser. Or they fit exactly the same as they did last week. Yesterday. Three hours ago.
"OK, maybe I do have the big picture," you say. "But I want exact numbers, and what's the harm in that?" The harm is that whenever you step on that scale, you give your power away. You get on a lifeless piece of junk and say: "Tell me, am I allowed to like myself, or shall I hate myself today?"
Sometimes the scale says we weigh less, sometimes more. Whatever the number, our reaction is often to eat to celebrate if the news is good, and to punish ourselves if it's bad.
That's why I've decided scales are for fish, not people. We usually feel as if we can't live without them. But one of the best things you can do for your life and your weight is to throw your scale away.
Uh-oh. Have I gone too far? Do you have visions of gaining staggering amounts of weight if you don't use your scale to discipline yourself?
It won't happen.
In my dozens of years of working with people, I have never met anyone (including me) who threw out her scale and gained weight as a result. Never. In fact, the opposite usually happens. Suddenly we realize that, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we've always had the power. We keep looking for answers from scales and from people's reactions to us ("Honey, does this make my butt look big?"), when all along, we already know the answers we need. We just don't let ourselves have the information. We're not used to turning inward, to getting answers by reading our own personal radar, by trusting our own thoughts and feelings.
Here is how you give yourself information. When you wake up, ask the question, How do I feel today? Do I feel comfortable in my body? Healthy? Radiant? Every day, you have the power to decide how you feel unless you give that power to your scale. And you do that each time you step on, each time you say, "Tell me, oh mighty piece of metal, am I allowed to feel good about myself today?"
I say: Give away the scale and keep your power. You don't need a piece of metal to tell you if you've gained or lost weight. You already know the answer. And you don't need it to tell you whether you're allowed to like yourself today. You are. You belong here. No matter what you weigh, you deserve joy and happiness and connection to people you love.
So don't feed yourself heed yourself. And here's the amazing thing: Allowing yourself to know what you already know feels wonderful. It's you affirming yourself, no matter what that meaningless piece of metal has to say.
Try something radical. Instead of trusting your scale, trust your jeans they never lie. When I put on my fat jeans and they're tight, there is no denying that I've gained a few pounds. And then I can decide what I want to do. Buy bigger jeans? Slink off to Thailand and have liposuction? Eat a bit less this week? Now, there's a concept.
Geneen Roth is an international teacher, speaker, and writer of best-selling books on emotional eating. You can visit her at geneenroth.com.