One of the biggest impediments to making progress in our pursuit of health is when we get tunnel vision and can only focus on one thing: our attachment to the number on the scale. The craziest part is that your scale weight often isn’t necessarily a valid measure of progress because it can’t tell you if your joints are hurting less, if you’re sleeping better, if your brain is less foggy, if your pants are fitting differently, or if you’re feeling strong or fast AF. Often, just seeing a number you didn’t want to see will cause your brain to negate allllll those positives for the sake of an arbitrary number.
The reality is, nobody even knows that number except you. You alone have decided what your ideal body weight is and how you’re allowed to feel about yourself until you achieve it. You alone have drawn this arbitrary line in the sand, as though there’s some magic number at which you deserve to feel good about yourself or deserve to be happy.
But if you’ve decided that your body weight determines how worthy you are to other humans, let me point out that the human eye can’t calculate your exact weight just by looking at you. To push this point a little bit further, how do you decide that another human is worthy? Do you have to know someone’s bodyweight to know whether or not you think they are worthy of your love, friendship, or attention?
(Full disclosure, the first time I wrote this piece years ago I used the word “attractive” in the paragraph above instead of “worthy.” Interesting how, for women in particular, we are taught that those two things are one in the same. And by “interesting,” I mean “shitty.”)
When we coach, we are focused on building sustainable, healthy habits. Focusing on health will ALWAYS get results. But the problems start when clients get tunnel vision regarding weight loss and focus solely on the number they see on the scale. They tend to put on the blinders regarding the other positive effects they’re seeing by nourishing their bodies through healthy food and quality movement practices. I’ve literally heard a client say that their clothes were all fitting better, they were sleeping better, they had more energy, and they were hitting new PRs, yet they were still totally deflated by the fact that the scale had gone up by something as negligible as a single pound. As though that alone was the ultimate proof that their efforts weren’t working.
Please, please, please do NOT let the scale deflate you like that!
The unfounded need to see the scale go down and down and down despite how you actually look, feel, and perform causes many of us to bounce around from one diet to the next in our dogged pursuit to find the magic bullet, even if the course we’re currently on is actually improving our health and would lead to improved body composition and performance over time without necessarily moving the needle on the scale. Ultimately, bouncing around like that is what causes us to stall out because we are so desperate to see the scale go down, regardless of any other positives of the program we’re currently on, that we can’t stay consistent with any one thing long enough to actually see results.
So there you have it - the Mindset Roadblock Series! These are the five common pitfalls that we see when it comes to why you might be stalling out with your progress and your ability to make lasting lifestyle change: The Diet Roller Coaster, Paralysis by Analysis, Expecting Perfection, Limiting Beliefs and Tunnel Vision. The fact that you have read/listened this far and might be considering getting a coach is a huge step in the right direction. You are acknowledging that there could be some limiting beliefs or a particular mindset holding you back and that, maybe, with a little bit of guidance, you have the potential to write a better story. That you deserve to get healthy and that you do in fact have the potential to change and the power to pursue your biggest goals!