Hello, GOALfriend, and welcome to episode number 285, the one where we talk about weighing yourself.
But before we get into that, I wanted to share a post that my client Holly posted in the Get Your GOAL group recently. She said, “Just some encouragement for anyone who *thinks* they HATE counting calories or that it's hard or that it's tedious or that it isn't fun. I thought all of those things in November when I joined!! I mean, I REALLY thought it was a super true fact. I'm not sure when it happened, but it feels easy now and automatic to track my calories. It has to be the journaling, because I definitely never sat down and picked out new thoughts to think intentionally. My mind is kinda blown honestly. So if anyone is just getting started and thinks tracking calories is THE WORST or that it will be the hardest part, you might not always think that!”
I love this! First of all, because YAY Holly, for being able to go from hating counting calories to it now being easy and automatic.
And I also love it because it highlights the real-life benefits you get from doing what can seem like intangible mindset work. Like, you’re putting in the daily work of journaling, and in the moment it doesn’t always seem like you’re making these huge changes, but suddenly, just a few months in and you’re kind of a different person, with different thoughts and feelings and habits.
And all without forcing yourself. You guys, this process can feel natural and easy. I LOVE IT!
And I’m sure some of you are totally on board with the idea of how mindset work or journaling *might* be helpful for counting calories (because it is), but you also think there’s no way it can help you get on that scale every day or every week or every how-ever-often and weigh yourself. Weighing yourself is different, right? It’s hard, it feels terrible, and if you could just throw away your scale, you definitely would.
I totally get it. I have long since made peace with the scale, but there was definitely a time in my life when weighing myself was the bane of my existence. I would let it ruin an otherwise good day, and really let it have power over me.
I hear from clients all the time that they hate to weigh themselves because the daily fluctuations drive them crazy, or they feel like the numbers just mess with their heads. Like, they feel really good about their eating and exercising and water and sleep, but then they get on the scale and their weight is up, or it’s still the same, and all of a sudden it’s like everything they’ve been doing is all for nothing.
If this is you, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re talking about WHY weighing yourself feels awful, and I have a super practical process that you can implement right now to feel better about weighing yourself. While also losing weight!
What?? For reals.
The first piece of this puzzle I want to pull out for you is this one, and it might be the most important thing you learn today, even though I’m not going to spend a ton of time on it: The scale and the number on the scale do NOT create your feelings. You don’t have feelings of frustration or anger or despair or wanting to give up because of your weight, or because of stepping on the scale.
You have feelings because of your thoughts.
It’s always your thoughts that create your feelings. I’ll refer you to the bonus episode from a couple of weeks ago, called The Wheel – you can get the link in the show notes to go to https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/the-wheel/ to listen and download the visuals.
I know this concept feels really counterintuitive. We’ve all been taught our whole lives that things outside of us give us feelings – that mean words hurt your feelings, that getting unexpected money makes you happy, and that sunshine on your shoulders makes you cry. Thank you for that, John Denver, but you got that one wrong.
You feel things because you think things.
And this is fabulous news! Because you have agency over your thoughts, you are not at the mercy of them. Metacognition and neuroplasticity – which are the ability to think about your thoughts and change them when you want to – are your superpowers. You were born with these abilities and, even though we don’t get taught how to use them in school, you can put them to use any time you want to. This is literally what we talk about on every episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, and the work we do every single day in the Get Your GOAL mastermind group.
You can observe your thoughts and they are always optional.
So, let’s talk about the thoughts you have when you get on the scale, and exactly how and why they’re not serving you, and then, after that, we’ll cover how to think things that DO serve you.
Have you ever actually listened to what you’re saying to yourself when you get on the scale? Most women don’t, so I totally understand if you’ve mostly just tried to shove it down and get on with your day. In fact, I hear a lot of my clients talk about that – they say things like, “I felt really bad when I weighed myself this morning, but I’m not going to let it get to me!”
But here on the Get Your GOAL podcast, we bring this stuff up on purpose. That’s why you listen to the podcast, right? Because you know I’m going to talk about the tough stuff! Like, I’m not afraid to share my deepest, darkest thoughts, because looking at them and feeling the feelings they create are the actual steps to getting your goal.
So let’s go.
Here’s the scenario: you get up in the morning, you go to the bathroom, you open up your tracking app to look at yesterday’s weight, and then you hop on the scale. It’s up by four-tenths of a pound from yesterday, and here comes the onslaught, so fast that you barely hear any of it:
Oh, crap, I’m gaining weight.
This isn’t working.
I’m such an idiot.
I must be doing something wrong.
What did I eat yesterday? Did it have a lot of sodium?
I’m stuck and I cannot get the scale to go lower.
I’m never going to lose this weight.
I’m going to be fat forever.
I hate this so much.
What should I do? I’ll eat less today. I’ll go under by a hundred calories, or maybe two hundred calories to get this weight off, and then I’ll go back to my target.
Maybe I should go under for a few days, just to be safe.
This weight just isn’t coming off.
I must have eaten the wrong thing. I’ll cut out dessert, or try something with fewer carbs. I’ll eat a smaller breakfast this morning. Maybe I just won’t have breakfast at all.
I can’t believe I’m not losing any weight yet.
This is out of control.
If I keep gaining like this, I’m going to be as big as a house!
I have to get a lid on this.
It’s really not fun, having all those thoughts, coming at you a mile a minute.
And each and every one of them is CREATING (because your thoughts create your feelings – we just talked about this! It’s not the scale!), your thoughts are all creating some version of anger, frustration, disgust, fury, self pity, urgency to just run away from all of this, hatred, loathing, despair, sadness, and – my personal least favorite – helplessness.
But here’s what’s really going on, and the reason I brought all this up: these thoughts (all of them, everything you hear – or don’t even hear, as the case may be, but just feel the feelings of) are all your brain’s attempt to analyze the number on the scale in order to predict what’s going to happen to you next.
Stay with me here. Your brain – when it’s spewing all this venom at you – is actually just trying to keep you alive. It’s doing exactly what your brain is supposed to do.
Your big, amazing human brain has evolved over millions of years to be able to take in complex information, synthesize it quickly, and then make a prediction about the future, so it can solve any potential problems and keep you safe.
And this has served us particularly well… you know, since we’re still here, and we made it all the way to the top of the food chain and everything.
But it also – in the case of weighing yourself, really specifically – doesn’t serve you at all.
So, real quick, let’s just compare how this skill of ours used to work, versus how it comes up for us now. Way back in caveman days, you would wake up, go to the bathroom, look around you, notice that there’s fresh deer scat a few feet away, then run back to your cave to grab your pointy rock on a stick, and go hunting for deer. Your ability to take in one piece of data – in the form of deer poop – analyze the situation, predict the future, and act quickly could feed you and your family for a week. This was SUPER helpful.
But today – again, really specifically in relation to weighing yourself and losing weight – quick analysis is useless. And feels bad.
Your body – maybe you’ve noticed? – doesn’t lose weight quickly. And, in fact, being a biological specimen with billions of organic processes that take in energy and create waste, changes in weight all. the. time. Your weight is constantly fluctuating. This is fine, it’s normal, it’s natural, and it’s exactly the way your body is supposed to behave.
But your brain? Totally can’t handle it. Your brain literally evolved to make quick decisions and move you into action on one piece of data, but one piece of data about your weight – even two pieces of data, today’s weight and yesterday’s weight – is completely useless information.
Your weight doesn’t change based on what you ate yesterday, it changes based on the BILLIONS of processes it is completing every minute of every day. These daily, minute-by-minute changes aren’t actually telling you ANYTHING about your overall trend of losing weight or not losing weight.
So, it’s up to YOU, the manager of your brain, the person with the superpowers of metacognition and neuroplasticity, the one who can observe these thoughts and intentionally direct them to go a different way – to think something else on purpose.
And here’s how, in two simple steps: you’re going to decide exactly WHEN you’ll analyze your weight loss data, and you’re going to gently redirect any other thought your brain tries to offer you.
Let’s start with that first step, and I’ll break it down for you.
You can do this when you very first start on The 5-0 Method (my free weight loss program), or at any point along the way. It’s never too late to set yourself some parameters for when you’ll analyze your data, and learn how to gently redirect your brain when it analyzes every day anyway.
The first thing you want to do when you’re deciding on your parameters is to intentionally create a feeling of kindness to yourself. You’re giving yourself the gift of calm weigh-ins. You’re giving yourself the gift of managing your mind. You’re also giving yourself the gift of information, data, so you can see and measure your progress toward your goal. Everything about weighing yourself is for YOU. A gift to yourself, given with kindness.
Next, you’ll want to choose parameters that make sense and – here’s the most important thing – FEEL GOOD. Really spend some time thinking about this. How often do you want to weigh yourself, and why? When do you want to analyze the data, and why?
Remember that gathering the data (weighing yourself) and analyzing it are both gifts. Don’t give yourself the dubious “gift” of weighing yourself from a place of fear or lack. Don’t give yourself the “gift” of analyzing too soon or never, because you don’t want to know how bad it is. Weigh yourself frequently enough to have plenty of points of data to analyze, and then analyze it far enough apart to prove to yourself that of course you’re losing weight! I personally suggest daily weighing and monthly analysis – but how does that feel to YOU? Is that a kindness?
Next up, just know that when you’re recording the data (aka, weighing yourself), your brain absolutely, 100% guaranteed, is GOING to try to analyze the number. Remember, that’s its default setting! It’s supposed to do this! So, don’t get thrown off your game when you step on the scale and feel all those terrible feelings. That’s your brain doing its job.
Your job, as we discussed, is to gently redirect those thoughts with a loving reminder of exactly WHEN you’re available for analysis.
And here’s my word of caution about this: don’t argue with yourself.
There will be a part of you that wants to just shout back when your brain says something like, “This isn’t working.” Like, “Yes it is! Don’t say that! Stop being mean!”
Instead, acknowledge that your brain might be right, and remind yourself that you can’t possibly know if you’re losing weight or not until you can see all the data. Something like, “That’s true, it might not be working, but also? It might. So, let’s keep doing what we’re doing and collecting numbers, and we’ll find out on May 28th (or whatever, whenever your next check-in is).”
Gentle redirection doesn’t feel like arguing, it feels super calm. It feels decisive. You know exactly when you’re going to analyze and there’s just no need to do it now.
You can feel how different that is from your current weigh ins, can’t you? Like such a kindness to yourself!
In The 5-0 Method, my free weight loss program, I have printable tracking pages for your daily weight, your calories, your water, your journaling, your sleep, and your exercise. This is where you’ll record your data, and gently redirect anything else your brain has to say about it.
There’s also a monthly check-in sheet, which is where you analyze the data. Because, again, a monthly analysis is my recommendation. You can definitely stretch it out longer if that feels like a gift to yourself. I don’t suggest analyzing sooner than that. Biologically speaking, your body and your weight just aren’t going to change that much in less time, so it’s not super helpful or relevant to try to analyze less than a month’s worth of information. So, on the monthly check-in sheet, you can look at your trends and see what’s going on with the big picture.
And this kind of work – exploring your thoughts, learning which ones to redirect and which ones to feel through – is exactly what we do in the Get Your GOAL mastermind group. We are bold and fearless in our examination of the tough stuff, and while you’re going through it, you have the support of me as your coach and over a hundred other women who are doing this work alongside you. It’s unlike any other group you’ve ever belonged to. It’s not a bunch of women “trying” to lose weight, but mostly complaining about how hard it is (I know you’ve been in groups like that before), it’s a beautiful group of powerful women exploring their own minds and encouraging you to be your best right along with them. It’s a fabulous place to get your goal.
My friend, I hope this episode was really helpful for you. Go make powerful decisions about how to gather your data, and then analyze it when the time is right. Have a great week, and I’ll talk to you again soon.