Do you often feel overwhelmed by the number on the scale, or find yourself avoiding it altogether, perceiving it as a detriment to your weight-loss journey?
Engaging in either extreme can be counterproductive and emotionally taxing. A balanced, neutral approach to the scale is crucial, allowing you to progress in your weight loss journey without unnecessary stress.
In this episode, we’ll explore achieving a “middle ground” with the scale. Reaching this balance transforms the scale from an object of avoidance into a neutral, informative tool, helping you to better understand your body’s needs.
We’ll dive into reshaping your relationship with the scale and fostering a neutral mindset, allowing you to assess your weight loss progress effectively and efficiently.
Hello there, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast this week. I am so excited that today’s topic is all about the scale. This is something that I often discuss at length with my clients. It’s something that many of you have had a history with when it comes to healthy eating and weight loss. And I know I have had my own long history with the scale as well. For me in the past, my success with weight loss of course felt very tethered to the scale and I often felt very pressured by it, and it really felt like that I would have a good day or a bad day depending on the number I saw on the scale.
And this is really common when it comes to having a weight loss goal. We will feel like the only way for the number on the scale to go down is to have a pressuring, almost micro managey, vigilant relationship with the scale.
And so in today’s episode, I want to have an open discussion about this. I want to talk about how most resources will tell you to approach the scale, whether that’s to use it constantly or to not use it at all. And then I want to offer the approach I have my students and clients go through inside owning your eating habits and we’re really going to dig deep into the mindset shifts that you will have to make with the scale in order to have a useful, effective relationship with it in your life.
So I’m really excited to talk about that today. Before we begin, quick announcement, the own Your Eating Habits Group program is open for enrollment. So what’s gonna happen when you join for our cohort starting in November, is you will join a group of like-minded women all working towards the same exact goal using the best process to do so.
So you learn the foundations of naturally healthy eating in this program and this program is truly making healthy eating and weight loss more accessible than ever for a high achieving woman. So if you identify as a type A woman who’s tried all of the things to lose weight, you’ve put in all of that effort with still not having the results you want. This program was designed for you, so you’re going to learn the process, you’re going to use the tools, measure your progress, and get the support you need to succeed in this program.
So to reserve your spot, go to KatRentas.com/coaching, fill out your application, and that’s the link that you will go to to learn more and apply. So I’m so excited to see all there and we start in November. All right, so let’s get into the topic of the scale. And what I want to start with today is talking about the two extremes.
Of how most of us will see the scale. And what happens is most of us will start when it comes to dieting and weight loss on one extreme. And this extreme is when you view the scale as the only metric of your progress. This is very common of more traditional diet protocols and weight loss programs. It teaches you to use the scale as the only indicator if what you’re doing is working or not working, if you’re eating the right things or not eating the right things.
So if you’ve attempted these types of approaches and failed, this is why you have developed this pressuring relationship around the scale because in your mind you’ve been conditioned to believe that to gain weight is to fail and to go backwards and to lose weight is to succeed. It’s that black and white thinking around the scale. And this isn’t accurate whatsoever, but it is where we can expect our brain to go.
Sometimes when we have a dieting history that really is the essence of a diet. Diets are not morally wrong, but what it is is a set of food rules or a food protocol that teaches you that to lose weight, you simply need to eat the right things and avoid the wrong things. And natural permanent weight loss requires so much more nuance than that. There is so much more that occurs in order to teach your body how to lose weight permanently. That is what we focus on in my practice and we’re gonna talk about that more today.
But this is the first extreme, right? It’s where you see the scale as the only metric of progress and it’s very black and white thinking. What tends to happen is then we can go to this alternate extreme, which is on the other end of the spectrum, and this is when we completely avoid the scale and we start to see it as toxic and non-useful.
Now, this mindset can be a really common response to diet culture. So I personally in my past, remember when I had the anti-D diet mentality and the anti scale mentality as well, in practicing this work for the better part of a decade and helping hundreds of women change the way they eat, I can tell you that this mindset for most of you will not be useful. In fact, I would even say that it’s just as non useful as the previous mindset where you are using the scale as that only metric of progress and you are dependent on it because this mindset where you avoid the scale completely is rooted in fear.
When we avoid the scale, we’re still giving power over it and we’re continuing to solidify this mindset that it is something to be avoided. It will be walking on eggshells in your weight loss journey and your results will always feel fragile because you’re going to have a fragile relationship to the concept of your weight, to the concept of seeing that number on the scale.
And this is not what we want. We want you to feel like each step that you took to create weight loss was a solid, determined, deliberate step. When you avoid the scale, you are still giving power over it when it’s coming from that fear. When we view diets as strongly negative, also we’re still giving diets the power to affect our emotional world. The scale is neutral. It is an object. It shows you a number, right? It’s not good or bad. This is a number reflective of one condition of your body, which can lead us into the useful relationship you want to have with the scale, which is somewhere in the middle.
So the middle and the balanced mindset that I want to offer you today is when you see the scale or the number on the scale as an important metric of progress from your body.
So you do use it to gather the data and gather the math of your progress. You see it as math and you only ever see it as math that is neutral. So the number is never good or bad. It simply can be reflective of the end result you’re looking to achieve. And at times that number can inform you of what’s working and what’s not working in your progress. But here’s the difference in this balanced mindset with the scale, you take the number on the scale with a grain of salt because you have added context that the two previous extremes do not give you.
And here’s the context that you have with the scale. When you’re in that middle, your weight isn’t the metric that you have the most control over in your weight loss journey, the number that is on the scale over the course of your weight loss journey is not what you have the most control over.
Weight loss or a number on the scale is part of the end result you want to create. But when your body decides to release that weight permanently is ultimately your body’s business. It’s your body’s doing. Now, when losing weight, you and your body are in a partnership, you are communicating with each other, and that’s part of the skill building. Your body’s job is to release weight when it’s healthiest for it to do so, and its job is to provide you the cues with what it needs to lose weight.
So in own your eating habits, the cues you focus on will be hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and pleasure with foods. This is what your body has control over the pace of natural weight loss and providing you those cues. What you have the most control over when it comes to your weight loss is what you feed your body, how you manage your thoughts and emotions and how you eat your food.
These are the skills you develop inside own your eating habits. That is where the focus goes. The healthy middle with the scale is acknowledging what you have direct control over each day and what you don’t have direct control over. When you think you have direct control over the scale in a pressuring way, you will fall on the first extreme where you hyper-focus on that result as a measure of progress. This is dangerous because I promise you, you will be making massive progress moving towards the permanent weight loss you want and the scale won’t be moving.
And it’s because in moments like this where you’re making progress, but the scale’s not going down, your body’s just adapting to the changes you’re making. So you’re still building those skills. Roots are taking hold beneath the surface before you see the sprout come out of the ground. Nothing has gone wrong, but if you think the scale is the only metric of success, you’re going to think something’s gone wrong.
If the scale’s not going down yet and you’re going to quit, you will quit what is working for you and you will stop making progress. That is not something we want. And then what happens when you go to the other extreme where you become anti scale is where you’ll still have that belief that the scale is everything, but you’re shielding yourself from the pressure of that. This is why anti scale methods aren’t often effective for many. It’s because that approach is still reflective of the fear that so many have of the scale because deep down they do believe that the scale carries more weight than it actually does, and no pun intended,
The middle mindset with the scale is a very mature one. So it has the necessary context. The scale is an important tool to use to be aware of where your weight result is at.
It’s a useful piece of data, but it’s not reflective of your self-worth or the effort you’re putting in or your skill building. It’s simply a tool we can use to communicate with our body’s progress. The weight you observe on the scale is just one way we can potentially communicate with our body’s needs. So if you’re not losing weight for a while, this can be your body’s way to communicate their stress regulation that needs to happen. If you’re gaining weight back over a period of time, this might be an indicator that your body’s telling you you’re feeding it too much.
The scale and the weight you observe on the scale is more reflective of your body’s needs than you. It’s a communicative tool to check in with your body, address its needs and see where it’s at. Now there’s an analogy that I really love when it comes to weight and it serves my clients a ton in own your eating habits.
And I want you to picture how we partner with a plant to help it grow. So when we decide to plant a seed and care for it, right, we know that the rate that the plant sprouts and grows is ultimately the plant’s business. But we understand also that it’s up to us to put that seed in the best conditions for it to grow. So we show up to that process, curious and ready to check in on the plant and observe its needs from time to time. You’re not obsessing over what rate the plant will grow and you’re not beating yourself up and assuming something’s gone wrong, if there’s a little browning on the leaves or if it hasn’t sprouted yet or it’s looking a bit parched, you just evaluate how you can help the plant grow and succeed.
So maybe you put it in the right light, you adjust the water schedule, give it some more nutrients, et cetera.
And this is what I’m really saying, begin the process of changing your relationship to the scale as if you are caring for the plant. The scale represents the same energy as you going outside each week and checking on the progress of your plant. If the plant isn’t sprouting, you don’t immediately assume something has gone wrong and stop caring for the plant because you know, maybe more roots need to take hold beneath the surface. Maybe it needs more time, but you continue checking in anyway so you can evaluate and partner with the plant to help it flourish.
This is the same exact thing that is happening when the weight isn’t going down and you’re doing the things you think you need to be doing to lose weight. What’s happening is more roots are just building beneath the surface. Maybe your body is acclimating to stress regulation.
Your body cues are taking more time to become unsuppressed. Your body is priming itself to lose weight permanently, and that is not your job to determine when your body is ready to release the weight. Our only job humbly is to provide our body the care it needs to lose weight permanently, exactly like a plant. And this requires some patience and intention to see this through, which is non-negotiable. This mindset around the scale will put your permanent weight loss on the most efficient path.
And I wanna say that clearly here. Just because you’re giving weight loss, the time it needs in this partnering way doesn’t mean you’re slowing down the weight loss progress. This is the fastest path to permanent weight loss. So we’re not talking about weight loss that you lose and then you gain it back later. This is the fastest path to permanent weight loss in own your eating habits.
The focus is on implementation and evaluation of the skills. So in the beginning stage of the process, you learn to shift your mindset to a scientist mindset, and this is what we like to call it, where you’re the observer, evaluator and scientist of your experiment. So this is the type of neutral experience of weight loss that is necessary to take action and succeed. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have emotional attachment to the scale, but when you do have emotions like Tao Shame, et cetera, you process those emotions separately from how you take action with weight loss.
So for example, if you experience doubt, shame or even frustration with the lack of progress of the plant, you process those emotions separately and continue moving forward with taking care of the plant. You don’t sabotage that process and you do not quit doing what is working.
So I want you to think what would change if you started observing the scale as a curious neutral scientist. So how would that relationship be different? This isn’t a light switch. What it will look like is you allowing the part of you that is attached to the number on the scale to coexist with the scientist part of you that can evaluate the number neutrally. Here’s the really amazing part. We do have two separate parts of our brain.
We have the primitive brain that will feel specific survival emotions when we see the number on the scale not going down, or we see we’ve gained weight, whatever it is, and we’re going to have those emotions, but we can regulate those separately from what we decide to do tactically as the scientist with our weight loss. So in own your eating habits, this is why you will master the skills of emotional regulation with your primitive brain and evaluation in your logical brain.
Both skills are necessary to succeed because you will need to be a human with emotions and still make effective progress with your weight loss and observe the scale. And you can do that. You can learn how to hold space for whatever emotions you have with the scale and not sabotage your progress. That is the key to permanent weight loss. So two interesting questions that you can consider here. Number one, what do I make it mean when I step on the scale and the number is higher?
So first I want you to ask yourself that. What do I make it mean when I step on the scale and the number is higher? Next, ask yourself, what do I make it mean when I step on the scale and the number is lower? So just consider what thoughts you have in both of those circumstances. This can really open you up to the emotional experiences that are tied to a number on the scale scale.
And this is so real for all of us who have a history in the dieting industry because here’s the reality of permanent weight loss. We really need to discuss how permanent weight loss will look different for you than short-term weight loss. With short-term weight loss, you’ll be focused on forcing your weight loss as quickly as possible without being in true partnership with your body. So you’ll be focused on eating a certain amount of calories or foods in order to get the body to lose weight as quickly as possible. Now, this isn’t morally wrong.
Again, we don’t do the anti-D diet thing here, but tactically, the problem with this is that you aren’t getting your body’s consent if it’s ready to release the weight in the way you’re doing it. So I’m going to give you some examples. If you lose weight by simply eating less calories, for instance, you’re not building the skills to reduce your stress that was causing you to eat more in the first place.
So you’re not going to learn how to lower your emotional cravings permanently. You’re not going to learn how to honor your body’s natural cues, increase your pleasure and satisfaction with your meals. You’re skipping over all of that necessary and foundational skill building. This is why own your eating habits was created. It was specifically crafted for women who are 100% committed to changing the way they eat for life based on deliberate skill building. Because when you do this, you do lose weight for the last time without resistance from your body because you’re learning the skills of meeting its needs, which creates a consensual relationship with the weight loss between you and your body.
With short-term weight loss, you will always be needing to push your body constantly into the conditions you want it to be in. It’s always going to require willpower. And again, this isn’t morally wrong, there’s no judgment, but there is another way.
This is why the scale can be your only metric of success. If you want healthy eating to feel natural and you want to create weight loss in that way, because here’s the reality, you will need to understand if you’re losing weight for that last time, your weight may go up in the process. It may not be going down at times, it may be doing whatever it wants to do, and you will still with that be making massive progress towards permanent weight loss.
So let me give you an example to make this clear. This actually applies to a number of clients who have lost the weight using the own your eating habits process. So when you join, you master the foundational skills to eat healthy naturally. You learn to regulate your stress. So you lower urgent cravings with food, you learn to stop making emotional eating decisions.
So you only eat when you’re hungry. You learn to not overeat. So you honor your body’s fullness and you learn to make food choices that optimize your levels of satisfaction and pleasure. So you enjoy your eating experiences more. Alright, now notice how none of these skills are weight loss explicitly
So the skills clients learn and own your eating habits are what put their body in the best conditions for it to lose weight naturally and permanently. Now, I want you to imagine, which is a very real circumstance, that using own your eating habits, you’ve significantly lowered your stress. So I want you to imagine you’ve enrolled, you’ve started using the tools and you find that they’re really helping you lower your stress significantly.
So you’re sleeping better. Your cravings for food are almost non-existent. You find that you’re eating emotionally maybe half the time that you were before. So in this circumstance, this is where you’re at with your progress and building the skills in the program. So for many of you listening, we can acknowledge that this sounds great, right? Stress massively lowered cravings, gone so in own your eating habits. This is a very real expected indicator of the process working. This is normally where clients really start seeing results.
In the beginning they start noticing their stress going down, they’re sleeping better, their cravings are going down. Now I want you to imagine that such foundational change is happening in this way and the weight hasn’t gone down yet. Alright? So with past diet thinking, most of us would be tempted to think, oh, something isn’t working. This is too good to be true.
This won’t be enough to lose weight. Something is going wrong, right? Of course, when the focus was so heavily placed on the number on the scale will believe that that’s the only indicator of success. Despite all of the amazing indicators of success that are happening when really what’s happening, if you picture yourself in this scenario, you’re priming your body for long-term permanent weight loss. Your stress levels have lowered using the skills that you now have. You are priming your body to stop retaining weight.
Your cravings have gone down so you’re feeling less urgency from food. Emotional eating in this scenario has been cut in half and you’re only improving in that skill. What will happen in this scenario, if you place too much importance on the scale or your weight is you’ll quit making progress with what’s working, which with the own your eating habits process would be the most tragic thing.
Because what’s really incredible about our process is you start seeing results as soon as you start implementing the process. So you will lower stress, you’ll reduce cravings, you’ll find that you’re able to eat less emotionally. Those are the foundational skills you build. Then the timeline of weight loss is separate from that because that’s your body’s business. That’s all dependent on how your body responds to these changes that you’re making. So all of the women who have completed the process and lost the weight and have had massive success with the program, here’s the thing about that.
All of their timelines look different because they’re all individual women with individual brains, stress levels, bodies, all of it. The end result of permanent weight loss was inevitable the moment they joined, but the timeline of their weight loss was variable. Yours may be faster, yours might take some time, but the difference in doing that process is you’re leaving no stone left unturned.
It’s the last time for weight loss. It’s replacing continuous failed attempts of short-term weight loss with one last committed focus on permanent weight loss. No matter the time or skill building it takes, it is the most mature approach to this area of your life. And I say that wholeheartedly. So all of this being said, I want you to individually think for yourself what is the current relationship you have to the scale? What are your thoughts about it?
How do those thoughts make you feel? Then take a moment and really consider what relationship to the scale do you think would be the most useful to you? Where you give yourself the time and skill building you need to lose weight permanently. What thoughts would you need to have about the scale? How would you need to feel about the scale? So here’s some thoughts you can borrow about the scale.
So these are examples of thoughts that my clients have used or even that I have used in the past when I was solving this problem. And these are thoughts that you can borrow when observing your weight on the scale. I provide my body, the care it needs to succeed. What can I learn from this? Is there anything I need to remind myself in this moment? I either lose weight or I learn lessons. Here’s what the math is telling me. Is there anything my body is trying to communicate with me?
Now? What do I know is already working right now? What do I think I could try next? How have I progressed so far in this journey? What if nothing has gone wrong here? Alright, so try these thoughts on if they work and help you change how you feel, keep them and practice them. If they don’t, that’s okay. Put them on a shelf and find what thinking does work for you. But the goal is for you to approach the scale like a scientist conducting an experiment even when there might be another part of you that’s placing more value on the scale than is necessary in that moment.
The scale is not an ultimate reflection of the progress you’re making with permanent.
Weight loss. It’s simply a tool we can use to communicate with our body and potentially observe a need it is having. All right, my friends, here’s to having a safe and healthy relationship with the scale and with your weight. I hope this was valuable to you. Thank you for being here today and I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.