How to stop dreading the scale

JOANNE RICHARD, Special to QMI AgencyCan't seem to shake that weight? These five behaviours get in...

JOANNE RICHARD, Special to QMI Agency

Can't seem to shake that weight? These five behaviours get in the way of losing it, even if the intentions are good.

Unconscious eating: Ever looked down at your plate and wondered where your food went? "It's so easy to get distracted and not even notice your food. Unfortunately, this can also mean that you eat more than you need, simply because you aren't paying attention," says weight management coach Linda Spangle.

Train yourself to stay focused on what you're eating so you get more satisfaction from it, and don't slide into overeating.(Fotolia)

Joanne Richard, Special to QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 4:06 PM ET

Dread getting on the scale?

Maybe it’s about time you make peace with the enemy, and scale back the panic. Instead of letting it sabotage your weight loss, expert Linda Spangle suggests turning your scale into a friendly weight loss device.

“So many dieters have a love-hate relationship with the scale. Instead of using it as a tool, they view it as their enemy, mostly because it doesn’t show the numbers they want to see. Sometimes people avoid the scale entirely, which can put them in denial about their current weight,” says the weight management coach at weightlossjoy.com.

According to Spangle, author of Make Friends with the Scale: How to Turn Your Scale into a Powerful Weight Loss Tool, a registered nurse and leading authority on emotional eating and other psychological issues of weight loss, dieters often let the scale run their lives, causing them to overeat out of their frustration with the numbers.


5 behaviours getting in the way of losing weight.
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They follow a diet plan perfectly all week, and exercise too, but when they step on the scale at the end of the week, it’s up a pound! Sound familiar? Discouragement sets in and eating goes up and moods go down.

“Weight loss is not a straight line. Scale numbers will always tend to bounce around a lot. Instead of letting a single number devastate you, train yourself to detach from the scale and treat it like data,” says Spangle.

“If you monitor the readings over time, you’ll probably see changes that don’t show up on a daily weigh-in,” adds Spangle, owner of Weight Loss for Life, a healthy lifestyles coaching and training program that coaches people by telephone across the U.S. and Canada.

Here are Spangle’s tips on loving the scale you’re with:

• Focus on your actions, not the scale number. Stay with your eating plan, try to exercise as close to daily as possible, and work on managing your stress levels and emotional eating patterns, says Spangle. “As long as you are faithfully doing these things, your weight will continue to go down.”

• Recognize that many times, the scale number has nothing to do with your recent actions. Things such as the humidity, recent exercise or even stress levels can all cause you to retain fluid resulting in a higher number on the scale, says Spangle.

• Don’t jump on the scale right after being on vacation or travelling. “Whether it’s by plane or by car, most people retain fluids when they travel, and it takes some time for the body to get back in balance.” Wait at least three days after travelling before they step on the scale. At that point, the scale reading will be a lot more accurate. Also, avoid punishing yourself by hopping on the scale immediately to see how bad you were on your trip.

• Use the 30-day rule to monitor your true weight. “It takes the body at least 30 days to make permanent changes in fat stores, so instead of getting discouraged after a week or two of dieting, keep an eye on the numbers over time,” adds Spangle. If the scale still shows a lower number at the end of 30 days, you may have truly lost some fat stores. Don’t assume you’ve lost weight based on a reading after only a week of dieting.

• Change the way you talk about your scale reading. Instead of telling someone you’ve lost weight, refer to the changes by saying, “the scale went up” or “the scale went down.” Those statements keep you from getting upset because you have “gained” weight, says Spangle. “Many times, the scale reading is showing temporary fluid retention instead of any true changes in your weight.”


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