Health coaches and fitness coaches, this post is for you. Don’t tell fat people that the scale doesn’t matter. It does. It matters–specifically to me. I spent my life hearing snide remarks, the backhanded compliments, and the insults about my weight. So often, I heard well-meaning family members say something like, “You would be so pretty if you lost weight,” or “It is such a shame she is so heavy.”
As a kid, I remember the teasing and laughing at me when we had to run in PE. I still can hear the titters and remarks when the PE coach announced that my BMI was overweight. As I got older, I heard cruel things from men I was interested in. The most hurtful on was, “You are good enough to f@ck, but not to date.” Yes, the scale freaking matters.
Yes, the scale should not be my sole focus. My lab numbers are more important. They gauge the change in my health because I lost weight. Lab numbers are predictors of future health issues, and they matter. But, so does the scale.
Yes, how I move through the world matters. It is more comfortable to walk. I fit into my car better. I still don’t know if I can fit into a booth or movie theater seat, but I think I can. These things matter. But, so does the scale.
I am supposed to feel better because I lost weight. I think I do, but I do have chronic pain issues, which doesn’t get better. For me, there will be no better. No matter what I do, how much I lose, I will not get better. Now, I can feel worse, and I have. But, I hurt, and I will for the rest of my life—the scale matters.
The scale measures my weight. The changes are a victory for me. The changes affirm that the efforts I am making are working. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to see the scale go down. Make sure I expect the scale to bounce up and down and that plateaus will happen. Explain that and remind me that staying consistent is my habits will have the results I want over time. Remind me when I forget. But don’t tell me it doesn’t matter.
When you tell me it doesn’t matter, you deny the pain and frustration I felt over the decades around my weight doesn’t matter. It matters. That number. That scale. Yes, the scale matters. The scale represents a tangible representation of my weight. Random people treat me differently now that I am smaller. Will the heavens open up and angels sing when I reach my goal weight? No. Will I rejoice? Yes. Don’t take my accomplishments away by telling me it doesn’t matter.