Bsides thinking (“I Hate this $%£(*& scale!)
Do you compare the number to a previous weight?
Wonder what you could have done to get it to go up or down?
Have you ever made an action plan?
The university of oxford scientists were just as curious as you and me, so they decided to find out exactly what people like us were thinking when we weigh ourselves.
Not just for the heck of it the researchers used this information to identify what thoughts might be most helpful to weight loss and for coaches like me who focus on the behavior change first and the scale after it sheds some interesting light.
How the study worked!
Scientists asked some willing participants to weigh themselves every single morning for eight weeks, when doing so uniquely they were all asked to “think aloud” during and after the weigh in either audio recording or writing there thoughts in a journal, amazingly this allowed the researchers to catch the information in real time as they happen in there normal environment..
What the study found?
After analyzing the thoughts from the audio tapes and journals of the participants involved the placed the recordings into four categories.
- Compared there weight to a previous weight or goal weight 90%
- Reflected on the decisions and actions that may have influenced there weight 58%
- Made an action plan 14%
- Made a specific action plan 6%
Can you see the staggering amount of people who made the comparison game, yet vary rarely made a specific goal orientated action plan in relation too..
It gets better the researchers tracked which behaviors actually helped the participants to lose weight, have you guessed what it is?? yep specific action planning yet look at how far down the scale it appears.
So after reviewing the the results the scientists identified a few key themes.
Weighing can… mess with your Emotions
Not surprisingly the scientists said that weighing let to feelings of Joy, Shame, Frustration and Guilt- dependent upon the results of the scale
Weighing can… influence your choices later.
The daily weigh in made the participants think about there behavior’s, but as the results showed it didn’t spur them on to make a specific action plan, even though they admitted it did influence there actions for the remainder of that day.
Some journal entries as examples
“… yesterday I was at a party in the afternoon and there was quite a lot of cake, I didn’t eat any of of it. i think this was because of the awareness of what the scales would say on the following days weigh in.”
Weighing can.. leave you baffled
Most people and also shown with the participants had a hard time making any sense of there weight changes on a day to day basis.
for example if they ate well but there weight was higher, it was confusing.. you can guess that this led to frustration as expectations were not met
Weighing can.. seem helpful
Almost all of the participants said that they liked weighing themselves regularly.
over half said that they would keep up with the daily weigh ins because ” it helped them keep on track with there weight loss goals”
The other half said that daily weigh ins were to frequent and that they preferred “weekly weigh ins as daily was too frequent and gave to many fluctuating results”
Take away.. Some people love the scale some people hate it!
There isn’t a right or wrong answer for everybody
For some regular weigh ins provide feedback that can be both motivating and helpful!
For others? it can be a serious form of frustration. causing anxiety or demoralization.
Rather than seeing the scale as a way to judge the effectiveness of what there doing, some people view it as a statement to who they are.. feeling hopeless thinking “what’s wrong with me”
so what do we do with this information?
Think of the scale like you would a chainsaw..
“If you know how to use it and to use if safely that is awesome” Its definitely a useful tool in the right hands ” But if every time you use it, you lose fingers, then… Probably dont use it!.”
So dont use a tool if its not working for you, there are a lot of other ways to gauge and measure progress. No tool is NECESSARY. if it doesn’t work for you its no biggie like I said there are multiple tools to get the job done.
For example you can ask yourselves the questions?
How can I make sure I eat slowly and mindfully today?
What type of vegetable should I Include with each meal?
When exactly will I fit in my 15 minutes of intentional movement?
There are in the term of phrase a million ways to skin a cat but instead of kinda-sorta-maybe making better choices throughout the day, you have now created a specific action plan… Thats how YOU SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!!