If you are working on eating intuitively (principles that teach you how nourish yourself based on recognizing and honoring your own body’s cues) or want to be able to eat intuitively in the future – you may be wondering if you should be weighing yourself to monitor progress, or throw the scale away altogether.
First, it might be helpful to ask yourself what your relationship is like with your scale. Is the scale like a bad ex-boyfriend that you keep texting, knowing the relationship is not going anywhere? Does the scale determine your mood – if you gain a pound or two do you feel guilty and ashamed of yourself? If you can relate, lets explore more.
Finding food peace on your intuitive eating journey is not measured by pounds lost. In fact, the number on the scale says very little about your overall health and well being – so why use it as the only marker of success? Its not to say that weighing yourself is wrong, but at what cost? Feeling like you obsessively have to weigh yourself in order to ‘monitor’ your eating is no way to live, and certainly does not promote good mental health.
So whats the alternative? How do you measure improvements with your relationship with food and body (thoughts, feelings, behaviors) as you learn to heal and trust yourself? Here’s some ideas, to start:
Ways to measure progress without the scale:
- You stress less about food. Food doesn’t preoccupy all your thoughts, and it frees up a lot of time and energy spent worrying or second guessing all of your food choices.
- You binge/overeat less. When you nourish yourself properly and leave the diet mentality behind, you feel less need to eat past the point of fullness.
- You are able to identify hunger and fullness sensations. Dieting wreaks havoc on your internal food regulation system. But with practice, these cues can return when you are working with your body and not against it.
- You eat a wider variety of foods. Foods that were once off-limit may now make a regular appearance in your kitchen, no big deal.
- You feel more satisfied by the foods that you choose to eat. Eating foods that are considered super healthy but lacking in taste leave you unsatisfied. But you are able to make food choices based on taste, preferences, and cravings vs just nutrition labels.
- You are able to socialize at social events. You no longer get so stressed out by going out to eat, and you’re able to have meaningful conversations and experiences with your loved ones.
- You can move or exercise for purposes other than punishment for eating or for burning calories. You can either move mindfully (or take rest days) based on what your body is telling you and what feels restorative.
- You stop labeling food as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Food becomes just food, not a moral decision every time you eat.
Focusing on progress with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors around food is way more telling than any number on a hunk of metal. If you are already working on healing your relationship with food, what progress markers do you use? We would love to hear about it!