It’s the New Year, everyone is pledging to get in shape, lose weight, yadda, yadda, blah, blah and thus a new tool called DietBet is blowing up the social media world.
I recognize what I’m going to say will not be a popular opinion with many, including a group that I was affiliated with (Fitfluential), but honesty has always been my best and worst friend.
I know many who are looking to take their fitness up a notch or their belt down a notch; the scale doesn’t always reflect those efforts.
I love the idea of being accountable to a group, it’s why I created the Holiday and now the Spring Challenge. However, these challenges are focused on creating healthy habits and reaching fitness goals, not on competing for weight loss.
This is not to say that weight loss challenges are inherently bad. I participated in some via the CoolRunning Forums way back in the day and while motivating, it also made me hyper focused on my weight. It didn’t matter if I was able to run farther or faster or even losing inches, that one number dominated.
I respect that DietBet is NOT a lose the most weight program, but lose 4% total to win which is roughly a couple pounds a week for most people and a generally healthy weight loss. But I wonder if the long term impact of giving the scale so much power is worth it?
It takes only a month to create a habit, I would place a bet that many people at the end of a month will now have a habit of determining if they did good or bad based on a single number. And it’s easy to forget that one number can look VERY DIFFERENT depending on height, muscle tone and other genetic factors. All of these women are right around 130 lbs, but look very different, which goes to show the scale needs to be just one measurement health. Images sourced from BodyBuilding.com and Oxygen.
Maybe all of this would bother me less if I wasn’t seeing a lot of folks participating that are in phenomenal shape. They don’t need to lose weight and I question is that really the message we want to send. after spending SO MUCH time helping people understand the scale is not a measure of success.
A scale isn’t a bad tool and I definitely still step on mine occasionally as I go through training cycles or dietary changes, but after many years I finally understand it’s just one measurement and certainly doesn’t provide the whole picture.
If you are participating in a DietBet, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Here is more information on understanding body composition and how it effects weight/appearance.
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