Soon the New Year will be upon us and the nation bombarded with the latest diet plans, and lithe, toned bodies stare down at us from every billboard.
Usually at this time of the year I grit my teeth and stand on the scales, ready to berate myself for eating that 100th Lindt ball, and chowing down on that last brie, turkey and stuffing sandwich. But this year, I have vowed to break that cycle: instead of resolving to lose weight, I have resolved to weigh myself less.
Two of the most commonly made New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, and to exercise more; both highly commendable as the country grows every more overweight and unfit, and it is so important to look after your health. But research has shown that the sad truth is that these resolutions have usually been abandoned by February, instead making us feel guilty and frustrated when we’re faced with a static number on the scale. Because when we’re faced with ‘failure’, the easiest thing to do is give up.
Instead, I hope this is the year I can improve my health and wellbeing in the long term, instead of getting absorbed in crash diets. The truth is our bodies fluctuate, and while I won’t be able to see a pound gained after a big weekend in the mirror, it could be enough to throw off my healthy Monday morning resolve if I’m just relying on the scale.
The number on the scales is not always representative of how we look. Muscle weighs more than fat, we’re all a different shape, and we carry our weight in different ways. Although I am not denying your weight is a helpful guide in measuring progress, it certainly is not the be all and end all. Indeed you can fluctuate 3 or 4lb just in the course of day. Instead, this year, I will be focusing on how I feel instead of being a slave to the scale. Am I sluggish because I haven’t gotten enough exercise? Is my skin bad because I haven’t drunk enough water? Do I feel happy in my new dress?
Hopefully deciding to weigh myself less will help me become more in tune with how my body is really feeling, instead of relying on the scale to tell me how I look (seeing as I am an owner of both mirrors and scales this really does seem ridiculous when you see it written down). Don’t get me wrong, I am still eating omelettes instead of trifle for lunch, I’m back in my running trainers, and I have vowed to cut down my wine consumption to something (vaguely) sensible, but this year I really hope not to be ruled by the number on the scale.