30 Ways to Look Beyond the Scale

I like to do this little game with my patients as they are preparing for weight loss surgery. I give them a pack of index cards and ask them to write down the things they are looking forward to doing or getting rid of or a reason why they are taking the step toward weight loss. After they write down as many things as possible, I have them place those cards in a plastic baggie for later.

After surgery and especially during points in the journey where it feels like the weight loss has stalled or they simply need a new perspective, I ask them to take out that plastic baggie. Many of the actions that we take toward living healthier do not always reflect in a numerical value.

Steve Maraboli describes in his book Life, the Truth, and Being Free, “The scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love.” 1

A shift in perspective to take in the whole picture helps to recognize the incredible journey that has been taken. Weight is simply one measurement after weight loss surgery, but there are so many other successes in this picture.

Here are 30 ways to look beyond the scale (inspired by some of my patient ideas):

  1. Walk/run 5K
  2. Reduce the amount of medication I’m taking
  3. Play with kids/grandkids
  4. Use body measurements to see change in inches
  5. Clothes fit better
  6. Easier controlled health conditions (blood sugars, cholesterol levels, no CPAP use)
  7. Feel comfortable in public settings
  8. Ride a roller coaster!
  9. Cross my legs while sitting
  10. Greater mobility
  11. Enjoy being active
  12. Have more energy
  13. Be a role model for my children and others
  14. I do not sit “on the sidelines” anymore
  15. My mood and mood swings improve
  16. Less back/knee/hip/foot pain
  17. Tie my shoes with ease
  18. Participate in activities that I enjoy without pain—gardening, ride a bike, play tennis, golfing
  19. I appreciate my body more every day
  20. Allow myself to take time to think about what I really want
  21. Try new foods and mostly like them
  22. Tried things that I thought I would never do: travel, skiing, hiking
  23. I can say “No thank you, I prefer to walk” and mean it
  24. Look at what I’m actually doing instead of what I’m not doing
  25. Feel more outgoing and confident
  26. Laugh more
  27. Improved anxiety
  28. New cooking skills
  29. Made new friends that have supported your healthy lifestyle
  30. I am stronger

I enjoy the point at which my patients and I get to review all of the index cards that they wrote before surgery and realize that they’ve achieved (or are on their way to achieving) what they hoped after surgery. We also get to add new ones as well…

1Maraboli, Steve. Life, the truth, & being free. A Better Today, 2014.
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About Katie Chapmon, MS, RD Bio

Katie Chapmon, MS, RD is a Los Angeles-based Registered Dietitian specializing in the field of bariatric surgery since 2008. Some of Katie’s career highlights have included the 2010 Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year award in California honored through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Katie served as a peer reviewer for the 2nd Edition of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Pocket Guide to Bariatric Surgery published in October 2014. Additionally in 2014, she presented on the subject of Pregnancy and Bariatric Surgery as part of the Bariatric Teleforum series for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Weight Management Dietary Practice Group. She was featured in the South Bay Magazine Health Issue in 2014. She has been active in the Obesity Week Annual Conference given jointly by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society (TOS), serving as a presenter in 2015 and 2017 and a course director in 2017. She is currently the Cochair of the ASMBS Integrated Health Clinical Guidelines and Issues committee since February 2017, continuing her service on this committee since 2016.

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