by: Terry Ternyila
For years I was obsessed with the scale and my weight. I would weigh myself every day, and it would become one of the most toxic relationships I had, or at least that is what it felt like, looking to the scale for approval every morning. I would get frustrated and upset with myself, which would eventually lead to completely derailing whatever fad diet I was on at the time.
I still weigh myself every day but not to focus on my weight; I focus on my health. I have learned that the scale is a tool to help me, not to judge me. In the past few years my journey with food has changed so much, picking foods that fuel my body now and make me feel good, learning which foods I should avoid or eat in moderation.
Every morning I step on the scale first thing to see what effects yesterday’s eating had on me. This is not to judge myself for what I consumed the day before but rather to identify which foods work best for me. I used to think if you just eat healthy foods you will lose weight and feel good, but that’s not the case. I also thought one bad day of eating would cause me to put the weight back on, but it is the daily bad eating habits that will.
I also use the scale to keep me focused; now if I see the weight go up a bit, it is a reminder to go back to the basics, and usually within a day or so, I will see the scale settle down where I expect it to be. If I notice it’s trending up, I need to check in with myself to see what I am eating that is different.
Finding the foods that are triggers for my body to store fat and knowing which foods have a negative effect on me has been some of the best lessons I have learned. I track this through journaling what I eat daily and observing my body changes. I know which foods will make me feel “bloated,” so I don’t necessarily gain weight but clothes are tight and I feel gross. I note which foods trigger my body weight to creep up, as well as how the foods make me feel.
Implementing small changes in my daily routine based on learning my food triggers has made a big impact for me. I have found that certain dairy will make me feel bloated, so I changed my French vanilla creamer in my morning coffee to almond milk, and I feel so much better. Limiting my cheese intake is hard for me since it’s a favorite protein of mine; I make sure to pick the right cheese for me when I do want that snack, not indulging too often, and I’m honestly able to enjoy it so much more.
I have learned my trigger foods that make me gain weight if I consume too much. I am also a chocolate addict…one of my guilty pleasures for sure! If I eat dark chocolate, it does not affect my weight, but if I indulge in milk chocolate, it will trigger my body and some weight gain, especially if I consume too much. I know for my husband that one of his triggers is certain nuts, go figure. I would have never thought nuts would affect someone that way, and nuts do not affect me that way, so I find it’s a good go-to snack when I am craving something salty… Add a little of my dark chocolate to it, and it’s a great cravings crusher without the guilt.
Scales have come a long way. They have so many more features to them now. My scale tracks my hydration percentage, so this helps me see if I have slacked off in my hydration, which affects my weight as well. I can also link my scale to the My Fitness Pal app, so I can link my food journal with my weight and look back at patterns and trends.
Be sure to use all the tools you have at your disposal to help you:
• Use a kitchen scale for a week measuring all the food you consume will check in with your portion sizes
• Find an app to journal your food intake to see how many calories you are consuming
• Use your scale to track your reaction to foods and see when you gain weight or feel bloated
• Invest in a Fitbit or Garmin to keep yourself moving.
Remember, this is a long game…you have your whole life to figure it out, so don’t put stress on having to reach all these goals in a week or a month. As long as you are making progress every day to feel healthy and happy, you are on the right track.