If so, I totally get it! I used to feel that way too. Here’s something I want you to consider about the habit of weighing…
If you struggle with disordered eating or compulsive exercise, every time you weigh, it reinforces those things neurologically (aka on a brain level). Not good, right? Let’s break down how that works.
If you’re anxious about your weight, and you get on the scale to see “how you’re doing,” you’ll either be disappointed or relieved at the number. Both are problematic.
If you’re disappointed, then it’s going to make you want to restrict food or to exercise more to deal with the anxiety and shame that number brought up for you. So now your body shame and disordered eating are perpetuated.
If you’re happy with the number, then in essence what you have done is soothed your anxiety by weighing. Here’s why that’s a concern—the neural pathways in your brain that want to cope with anxiety by weighing get deepened because it worked.
The problem, as you know all too well, is that the feeling of relief is only temporary. The next time you feel anxious about your weight, your brain is going to want to run to the scale and weigh because that fixed your anxiety before.
Each time you use weighing as a way to soothe your anxious feelings, those neural pathways in your brain are deepened and you get more hooked on the process. I’ve always likened it to needing a “hit” to quell a craving, and I know the urge to weigh can feel like it has that strong of a pull.
So, I know it’s hard, but I encourage you to stop weighing when you’re anxious about your body and find a healthier way to manage your feelings.
Because the good news is, if we do that, those neural pathways that want to weigh will mostly—if not completely—die off over time and you eventually won’t feel such strong urges to weigh.
I was recently a guest on the podcast, The Daily Dietitian, where host Stacy Mitchell, RDN, LD, CPT and I talked about the scale, plus all kinds of food and body topics, including:
- Body positivity vs. body acceptance
- How we’re being harmed by wellness culture (hint: nutrition is more nuanced than we think!)
- Eating disorder stereotypes
- Raising kids to be intuitive eaters and find worth outside of their bodies
- A new book I recommend
- BONUS: a fun discussion about wearing clothes inside out!
I’m Cherie Miller, MS, LPC, founder of Food Freedom Therapy™. I offer counseling for chronic dieting as well eating disorder therapy for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, OSFED, ARFID, and other eating disorder issues. Contact me here or follow me on Instagram or Facebook.