Do you idolize the scale?

why you can't lose weight

“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.”

~Jonah 2:8

“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.

To freedom,

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2 Comments

  • Kimmie

    Reply Reply September 4, 2016

    I also struggle with the scale being my “IDOL”, I don’t like what I’m doing to myself I lost 50 pounds and I was really content with the way I looked and I wanted so much to keep losing the weight.
    I was and still am so obsessed with the numbers on my scale that when I stand on it in the morning if I don’t like the number I am super crabby all day and then I will weigh myself every time I eat or drink something and on and an average day, I weigh myself approximately 15 to 20 times a day and at one time I was taking 16 laxatives every day to clean myself out so the numbers will be low on the scale, then I got real sick And was on medication to help with my anorexia and I was doing OK and then I had to have steroid shots to my spine because of arthritis and disks are breaking down and that also put some weight on ! I love the Lord more than my scale I pray daily actually I pray hourly for God to draw me closer to him and I know I am hurting him every time I run in the bathroom take all my clothes off and stand on that stupid box and it tells me a number That makes me very upset and I know it’s just how heavy I am not that I’m getting fatter because my clothes fit and I measure the biggest part of my tummy daily. Many people have told me to get rid of the scale, but I am afraid that if I get rid of the scale, I will not eat in fear of gaining weight which means I will no longer be in control! I really want God To be in control of my life and I know he knows what is best for me so why do I keep thinking I know better? Can anyone relate and if you can relate how did you break away from the scale? I also have a problem comparing myself to others on what they look like and how they dress, I am 53 years old 158 pounds I was 215 but my lowest was 116! I have trauma brain sheer and I have no balance and I use a walker and a wheelchair so I cannot go to the gym and work out but I am mobile with my walker for short distance and that really isn’t safe because my brain does not fire off the right signal to the right body part to move so then I fall. God is good all the time and all the time God is good! Please somebody show me how to get rid of the urge to weigh myself all the time. I feel like Jesus is crying every time I step on the scale because sometimes I could be in the middle of reading my devotions and all of a sudden I go stand on the scale and I know it rips my Lord apart but it is a bad addiction and I need help to break it, I have prayed for the Lord to show me why and I don’t know if my mind is too preoccupied or what is going on I want to obey my Lord the number on the scale define how heavy I am not how fat I am. I know logically it is impossible to put on 7 pounds in one day and I also know if I eat cheese nibs ( loaded with sodium ), will give false weight. My husband is frustrated with me and in all honesty, he has the right to be. I believe I would be more relaxed and have more joy in my life if I did not care about the number on my bathroom scale and each morning when I get up just to do my business and take a shower and get dressed and not step on that scale would make me feel more confident and I want to be a God pleaser not a people pleaser her. I have rattled on enough and I know that the post is old but I am responding because I need help.

    • Cathy

      Reply Reply September 9, 2016

      Hi Kimmie,

      Thank you for your transparency. I’m so sorry that you’re going through so much torment. It’s a difficult place to be yet it really is simple.

      Losing weight without addressing the root cause can still keep you in bondage. Sometimes the addiction will just change from food to something else.

      I would suggest to seek a Christian counsellor to help you go deeper. In the meantime. continue to focus on God,desperately seek Him as often as you can. You will know when your focus is on Him because you will be able to talk about Him more than you talk about what’s going on in your life; you will see His hand in your situation and you will be able to praise Him in spite of your circumstances. Continue to cast all of your cares on Him Kimmie. I will be praying for you.

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