Re-educate your Brain with Daily Weighing
Posted on Thursday February 2nd, 2017
…and your stomach will follow.
Being active and maintaining a healthy weight are the two most valuable investments in our health that we can make (NHS Choices).
On Activ8rlives, we are running a group-based online programme called 5% loss-in-10 weeks.
Significant health benefits are achieved if we lose just 5% of our body weight if we have a BMI of 27-33. Healthy BMI range is 19-25.
Each week, we work on building new skills and modifying the behaviours that lead us to eat more than we need.
Firstly, we get active every day (Week 1).
The next skill we add is: weighing ourselves each day.
Before you shriek in horror, a quick explanation of the reasoning. Our weight may not change much day-to-day so the extra data does not bring much benefit to our charts, statistics or the circumference of our necks, hips or waistlines.
But where it does make BIG changes is in our brain. It is there that the challenge lies, not necessarily with our stomachs and of course we know that the two are connected by our nervous system and complex hormonal and chemical control systems.
What weighing each day does is to help us gain control over that tricky subconscious part of our brain that does seem to enjoy sabotaging us with sometimes unhelpful messages. We are each unique, special and individually designed, so I can only speak for myself here. My most tricky internal voice whispers: “Don’t worry about weighing yourself today. You were not very good yesterday and you went off the rails a bit, but its OK because you can make it up in time for tomorrow. Weigh yourself tomorrow. It will be fine!”
This is the procrastination voice, the “letting myself off the hook” voice and it can be very hard to resist because it is so easy to agree with it. It is what I really want to do anyway. It is after all, me. So easy choice? WRONG!
You will have your own version. It may already be yelling in your ear right now as you read this. Probably will be saying: “Yeah, but my Doctor only recommends weighing yourself once a week!” or “My Slimming Club says only do a weekly weigh-in!” or “I don’t need to do this!” or “I don’t agree with this!” Take a moment to gauge the strength of your negative reaction. And it may not be right for you if you suffer from eating disorders and if so, you should follow your clinician’s advice. “First, do no harm,” is a great moto.
But here is why we do this for those that could use being a bit lighter and getting the BMI back into the green (healthy) zone on the charts and it’s really simple. The data doesn’t really matter, our weight can fluctuate naturally for many reasons, but the daily picture DOES matter to your subconscious. Weigh yourself each morning, after going to the bathroom (to be consistent) and something unexpected may happen to you during the day on about Day 3-5. You start to ask yourself: “Do I really want to eat X or Y now? It will disappoint me tomorrow if I have added weight or haven’t lost weight when I weigh myself.”
And there it is. That little voice is now working for you, rather than against you.
There are many other reasons why we over eat, and we are all different. Special. Unique.
To gently and lovingly re-programme our little voice to help us, we have to show the subconscious simple messages that it can understand and it does like pictures and images.
Weight values (image of the value on the scales captured by the brain via the eye) each morning do that. The subconscious mind gets the picture postcard. And it is a bit like training a loving and enthusiastic puppy. It needs patience and caring and repetition of the lesson.
As the little voice appears again, probably saying right now that this is silly and that you don’t need to do this, you are too old/wise/clever/crafty/careful/self-controlled etc. to need to do this, if you are minded to, try to observe this reaction. Pay attention to it, and then gently and with kindness, let it drift away. And weigh yourself tomorrow anyway and keep being active, every day.
NHS Choices website http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx Accessed 11 January, 2017.
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