No Wellness Wankery

18: Do you own scales? They might be stopping you from finding your healthiest weight

July 05, 2022
No Wellness Wankery
18: Do you own scales? They might be stopping you from finding your healthiest weight
Show Notes Transcript

You don’t need to weigh yourself. Ever.

In fact, weighing yourself may make it harder to find your healthiest weight in the long term. Have you noticed how seeing a number that you didn’t want on the scale can throw you into a spin and actually demotivate you?

Your health, your progress, your wellbeing cannot be measured with scales.  But why are we all still so hooked on this number?

Need a little extra support to ditch the scales? In my FREE 30-day challenge I’ll teach you how to say goodbye to crappy old-school diet advice and create a healthier relationship with food. 

Click here to sign up for F*CK DIETS Challenge.

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy

If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at

 Hello, welcome to the No Wellness Wankery podcast. My name is Jenna D'Apice and I'm joined by...

 Lyndi Cohen. Hi, guys. Today, we're going to be answering another lovely question from Katie, who's got a really good one.

 Let's listen to it.

 Hi, Lyndi. My name is Katie and I'm from Adelaide. My question today is I have developed healthy habits over the last three years really quite well but my relationship with the scale is still pretty poor in the sense that my dress sizes have been going down but the number on the scale is still the same. So I'm just wondering what does that even mean? It's confusing and regarding how I look in my body image. I just wondered how can that be when you're going down in dress sizes but the scale stays the same? Hope that makes sense. Sorry, that's a bit disjointed my question, thanks.

 That's a great question. And I'm not even a dietician or nutritionist. The first thing that springs to my mind is that muscle weighs more than fat. So as you're shrinking...

 Yeah, oh, absolutely.

 So muscle, I think it's those muscle weighs a whole bunch more than fat is going to weigh. So it's smaller. It's smaller and denser and it's heavier. And so, but basically when we're using a scale to try and work out how healthy we are, we're completely missing the mark. As Katie's saying, she's adopted all these amazing healthy habits.

 She's feeling great.

 She's feeling great and she's going down dress sizes and yet when she looks at the scale, she's like, well, that's not representing how I feel. And I guess one of the questions is, I guess you're weighing yourself out of curiosity just because you want to know that number. This is just another example of how weight on the scale is not going to reflect anything to do with your actual health. So yes, muscle is going to weigh more than fat does. Also there's a whole bunch of different factors like water weight or body composition that shifts as you get older. Time of the month. Time of the month. There's a whole bunch of things that are going to shift and change. So it's not actually a representation of anything. So I think we need to kind of get curious about why are we still weighing ourselves? Why do we need this number? Now is it so that you want to fly in a small aircraft and you need to know how much you weigh or you have to go horse riding or some other very niche purpose of knowing how much you weigh, but I think we still want to be able to see that that number is going down, don't we? And it's like, why? Why do we need to have a smaller number?

 What do you do with this number at the end of the day?

 What do we do with this number at the end of the day? Nothing. No, no, we don't do anything with it, except that I think it's very much tethered to our goal weight, right? We have this idea, this is how much I think I should weigh. And for me, I'm like, okay, if I was at my skinniest, I weighed this much, therefore I'd like to get back to it. And I wonder if it's tethered to that idea. When I was happier, I weighed this much and therefore I'll be happier when I get to that number.

 But how can you kind of start in the journey of, do you think people should be trying to ditch the scales or weigh themselves less or remove themselves from the number?

 What options should you try and work towards?

 I mean, I think if you can be detached from the number, I think that is really good. If you have a history of disordered eating slash eating disorder, then it's gonna be really hard to be detached from the number. And you're gonna be able to say, I am trying to have a healthy relationship with it, but I would argue that for many years, even post-recovery, I would say it is, can be kind of dangerous territory to be weighing yourself. In fact, it's not actually a metric that you ever need to know. I don't know if you know this, but if you go to a medical professional and they need to weigh you, you can ask for something called a blind weigh-in, which is where you get on a scale backwards and they read the number and they don't tell you what that number is. Particularly if you have a history of an eating disorder, disordered eating, let's say you're pregnant and your obstetrician wants to weigh you or you're going in for regular appointments, you can absolutely be doing this. If you're going to a gym and they're demanding that you weigh yourself, you can tell them to get screwed. And you can leave. And you can leave, leave because that's just not at all anything healthy you need to do. I do think you can get to a point where you have a healthy disconnection from the number that you're seeing, but I just don't even know what the purpose of seeing that number is. That's how much, how little, merit I believe it has in rooted in your health. So I guess my question to you, Katie, is why are you still measuring your weight? And it's obviously something that is important to you, and I think that's probably something that's an heirloom that's left over from past dieting days, from anything you previously did before you found this way of just being healthy. And I would say that if you continue doing all the healthy things, and I don't know what would happen to your weight. I actually don't know whether it would go up or go down, but I think hopefully with time you'll become less and less attached to whatever that number on the scale is. If you feel like you need something to attach to, to show if you are healthy or not healthy, what are some other markers in your life you can look for or check in on that aren't the number on the scale. Yeah, there are so many different things you can do. So at different points in my life, I've used different things. So when my mental health is very much a focus, I use steps. And I know some people say that can kind of become disordered and it can become disordered for some people, but I can have a very healthy relationship with my step count because I know when I hit a certain number of steps, my mental health is so much better. So for me, I kind of have this like a little goal that I kind of go for because I just know I'm going to have a happier day. One of my friends, she had a way where she'd film herself doing handstands and she'd measure her progress through this kind of video format, which is such a nice difference from this whole before and after photo kind of idea. Another friend of mine, she was using very much her mental health as a check-in point where she'd do like an anxiety quiz to see how your mental health is from week on week on week, or at the end of the day, just kind of rating how you're feeling that day.

 I like to check in with how well I fall asleep, how easily I fall asleep at night, because if I'm not in a good mental health state or I just lay awake and it takes me so long to fall asleep, or if I'm not eating well, I don't sleep well, and there's so many factors. But I know when I go into bed and I lay down and I get a good night's sleep, I'm like,

 okay, things are operational.

 I really like that as a metric. Another one is whether or not you're waking up with energy. And it's quite hard to measure that as per se, but I know when I wake up and I'm feeling good, I'm like, probably a whole bunch of things have to align for me to get to this point that I'm measuring my success. I also just want to, while we're here, just really just reiterate the whole BMI thing. So BMI, body mass index, is a simple algorithm that takes into consider weight and height and then it like, nothing else, puts them onto a graph, compares it with what other people in the population are. and it was developed more than 200 years ago by a statistician, not a healthcare professional, and then he wanted to look at population-wide data, and it was such a simple metric that people just started adopting it. They were like, well, this is easy, we don't need to pay money, we can easily apply it to people, and somehow it got embedded as a metric for how we measure health, even though simply what we're looking at is height and weight. It's not talking about how much sleep you're getting, about your blood results. It's not looking at your mental health. It's not looking at any...

 Even just your general body composition.

 It's only a composition. It's not looking at fitness level. It's not looking at... And this is the science that I think sometimes when we hold on to a certain weight, we're looking... We're kind of going, but I do want to be within a certain BMI range or whatever it is because it categorizes us as something that is obviously, which is typically quite shamed and has got some stigma attached to it and I think we want to try and escape that. But the BMI is such a useless garbage that is population data that's somehow been extrapolated to be fingers pointed at individuals' health even though it tells us nothing. I just really want to step away from using weight on a scale and BMI as any metric. And as you can see from Katie's example, it doesn't make sense.

 Yeah, and then you come back to questioning what's going on. Am I doing something wrong?

 When really that's the thing that's wrong, not you.

 Yeah, the act of the weighing of herself when you're doing all these wonderful, awesome, healthy habits, Katie, and I think you're brilliant and I'm proud of you and all the stuff you're doing and keep doing it, but can you get rid of

 that scale? Maybe it's a challenge. Maybe if it's just put it out in the garage for a little bit and see if you can leave it there for a little bit. I know it's a big step. Scales cost a lot of money. Just throw it in the bin. Maybe you're not there yet. Maybe see if you can go without it.

 Yeah, they do cost a lot of money, but I'd say your mental health is probably worth it. How much do your scales cost?

 Well, I've never bought scales. I've just looked at them and I said they were like a hundred.

 Well, you know there's one saying like, oh, this is a body fat scale.

 Yeah, that's such nonsense.

 Like, how do you measure? What is putting laser beams through my body? I don't know what it does. But yeah, I think once you actually detach from weighing yourself every day, because I remember my mom had the thought of if I don't weigh myself every day, then I will lose control. Like, I will put on weight and I won't be able to stop it. And it's a hard thing to detach from, but once you do, it's great.

 And do you just lose control?


 No, okay, good.

 You don't.

 Let's just clarify that. You don't. You don't spiral out of control. I think weighing yourself is setting yourself up for that thinking. I think when you hop on the scale and you don't see the number that you wanted, that's what it leads to you falling off a certain bandwagon because you question everything that you've been doing. You either double down hard or you go to extremes. We've talked about this before, but I just think if you want to sabotage yourself, weigh yourself. That's my tip for today. Anyway, Katie, thank you for your divine question. And if anyone else has any other questions, we'd love to try and answer them because these things aren't black and white. There's a lot of gray territory, and we'd love to try and answer them. So please leave me a voice message at nude underscore nutritionist asking us your question. And if you are loving the podcast please leave us a review wherever you listen to your podcast. We'd love to hear from you. Hopefully it's good. If it's not, send me an email. If you've gotten this far of the podcast and you don't like it, then I don't think you'd still be here.

 But we'd love hearing from you and we'll chat to you next time.

 Do you feel like you know what you should be eating but you feel completely out of control of food? You're either eating perfectly or you're face planting into the fridge. Well, if you've got binge eating or you're struggling with emotional eating, I can help. Check out my program, Keep It Real. I've got lots I can teach you and hey, you don't have to be a binge eater for the rest of your life. You can get 20% off Keep It Real when you use the code PODCAST when you check out via the website. And because I don't want this to be just another failed attempt for you, I'm offering a 30-day money back guarantee because you know what, you've just got to give these things a go, money back guarantee because you know what, you've just got to give these things a go, no risk, give it a try, check out Keep It Real.