“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.”
“What kind of day will I have today? Let’s check”…. (steps on the bathroom scale) “Ugh, up 1 pound! It’s going to be a terrible day.”
This is the familiar scene that plays out in the lives of many women each morning. Like a game at an amusement park, we step on the scale each morning to determine our fate for the day. Based on this one small act, we label ourselves as a success or failure; we either smile or growl at our children, husbands, or co-workers; we either reward or punish ourselves with food ;and we either thank God for his daily provision or we cry out to Him in desperation, but mostly anger.
That’s the power the dreaded scale can have on our lives. Way more power than it warrants or deserves to have. So in revolt we declare that God wants us free from bondage and not being so legalistic with all the calorie counting and weigh- in’s. We will not be bound, we declare, and throw away the scale in protest. But with the scale we also throw away our self-disciple and self-control. So now we’re not being legalistic and bound by the scale but our weight continues to spiral out of control. And so the pendulum swings from one side to the next.
So what’s the solution? Scale or no-scale. Legalism or freedom.
The truth is, it really has nothing at all to do with the scale. Whether we weigh-in 10x per day or never, the issue lies with our motivation. It’s a matter of our hearts, which can not be measured on a scale.
Until we get our heart right, we have the propensity to make everything an idol– the scale, the food we eat, our diet plan, even our Bibles themselves can become an idol if we are reading it to fulfil our own ulterior motives.
It’s not God or food, God or pleasure, God or freedom. He wants us to enjoy them all but we can only learn that when we spend time with Him and learn about his true character and nature.
Instead of being afraid of going to God, we need to learn what He wants to do in our life, which will always be better than we could ever do for ourselves. Instead of worrying about the scale, think about how you can present your body as a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God. (Rom. 12:1). Instead of worrying about losing sight of God because we’re obsessing about our weight, think about how you can glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:20). And instead of thinking about the pain of sacrificing, think about how God wants to strengthen you in the process of weight loss so that you can learn the lessons that God wants to teach you (James 1:2-4).
Here are some tips to weighing in that will keep you from making your scale an idol.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Weighing in
Weighing- in ‘Do’s’
- Do put the scale in it’s rightful place– use it only as a tool to tell you if are eating the right quality and quantity of food.
- Do weigh in only 1x per week and adjust accordingly.
- Do understand your body and know when you can expect fluctuations in your weight– after travelling on a plane, during different times of your menstrual cycle, after eating a high sodium diet, when you’re taking certain types of medications.
- Do track your non-scale victories– clothes are fitting loser, have more energy, feel more confident, blood pressure is decreasing, able to resist more.
Weighing- in ‘Don’ts’
- Do not weigh in everyday (or after each meal or workout)
- Don’t blame the scale or legalism, get to the root of the issue.
- Do not let the scale determine anything other than your weight.
- Don’t let the scale determine your mood or your self esteem.
- Don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If your weight continues to go up, change your habits, not your scale.
When we put the scale in it’s rightful place, it does not need to become an idol. It’s okay to check your weight on the scale to see if your program is working, without fear of becoming too vain, obsessed or legalistic.