Does stepping on the scale often cause you loads of emotions that end up in self-sabotage?

Does stepping on the scale and not seeing the number you want to see demotivate you? 

This is one of the most common reasons for yo-yo dieting. 

Either you step on the scale, your weight hasn’t changed (or has even gone up), you think “What’s the point” and give up on the diet. 


You go the other way and go more extreme, diet harder and do more exercise. This then leads to more stress and difficulty following the diet and then you end up giving up in the end anyway. 

Put your hand up if you’ve experienced one of these things. ✋

Obviously, it’s not going to help your weight loss if you’re pushed and pulled around by your emotions based on the results you are getting when you step on the scale. 

So how do you get true rock-solid motivation that lasts?… How do you continue to feel the drive to lose weight even when the numbers don’t change? 

Well, the key is:

  1. Self-worth. 
  2. Source of motivation. 

As I’ve mentioned in a few posts before, if you’re not happy and you’re waiting to lose weight to be happy, then this causes a host of problems. 

The main one is that it activates the survival part of your brain. This is the part of the brain that cares about keeping you safe and alive. It’s very quick and powerful and has a way of getting you to do what it wants. 

For example, if you step out in front of a car you jump backwards out of the way. There isn’t any logic or consideration – your survival brain steps in and does its job to keep you safe. 

The same goes for negative emotions and bad feelings. If you’re not feeling good, this is an indicator of possible threat from your brain’s point of view. This means that it wants you to get rid of these feelings or the situation that causes them as quickly as possible.

Weighing yourself tends to be quite paradoxical. 

Let me explain. 

First of all, if you’re not happy and trying to lose weight, your survival brain will make you want to lose the weight as quickly as possible. This fits in with the idea that if bad feelings are attached to your current life, then it wants to change things as quickly as possible. 

This is a problem because it causes you to make illogical decisions. 

You’ll choose a diet that promises rapid weight loss. 

You’ll believe the marketing hype. 

You’ll go more extreme to get better and quicker results. 

The paradox is that all these things you think are going to help you are actually what cause you to fail on your diet in the end.

The more extreme you go and the quicker you want something, the more likely it is to backfire. 

Secondly, if you’re not happy and you’re doing an extreme diet you hate, and then you weigh yourself only to find you haven’t lost weight, this is likely to trigger your survival brain as well. 

If your self-worth is attached to achievement and you don’t lose weight even after putting in what feels like a lot of effort, then it’s going to start attaching meaning to that. 

Things like:

“What’s the point of putting in all this effort when I’m not even getting results anyway”. 

“That’s it…another failure, just like always”. 

“Maybe I’m meant to be this way”. 

And this is where the main paradox appears… 

To your survival brain, even though you want to lose weight to feel better, if you’re not losing, then this is a slap in the face to your self-worth and could make you feel even worse. 

This means that your brain then may actually stop you from trying to lose weight altogether – Unless you do the other option and seek to prove it wrong by trying even harder (which usually turns out even worse). 

When thinking about the survival part of your brain, we also have to consider energy. It cares about conserving energy (food wasn’t always abundant when it developed millions of years ago), so anything that’s a waste of time and energy will also be considered not worth it. So if you’re doing a diet and not losing weight, again, it sees it as “what’s the point?”. 

Then to top this all off, how do you most likely deal with negative emotions and bad feelings? 


Again, these come from this primitive survival part of your brain and the urges to eat can be overwhelming. The result of binges and emotional eating can then result in further weight gain, causing even more frustration and negative emotions. You will often call this self-sabotage but as you can see, there’s a positive side to it – your brain thinks it’s doing you a favour by making you feel better (albeit in the short term). 

What a vicious cycle, right? 

It’s very difficult to try and lose weight and gain any kind of consistency when you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle in place.

If you are relying on continual progress week after week to reinforce your motivation, you are setting yourself up for failure. Even the best diet is going to have weeks where you don’t see results on the scale and this is going to lead to wavering motivation.

Like all things in life, if you rely on external things (the scale in this case) that you don’t have complete control over, at some point they are going to let you down.

So how do you create rock-solid motivation that is there every day and in the times when you need it most? 

It’s quite easy actually, but requires thinking. 

As Henry Ford once said:

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it”. 

We don’t use our brains enough, again, because our survival part would rather we didn’t. It takes energy to think of something new and energy is something your brain always looks to conserve. 

So it’s not your fault that it’s difficult, but to lose weight successfully, you have to consciously override this resistance. 

So the solution to creating motivation is instead of attaching it to the need and desperation to lose weight and feel better, to attach it to the dream life you want. 

So this requires actively sitting down and writing out exactly how you want your life to be, in every way! Plus making it vivid and emotional enough to excite you. 

So for example, how will you feel every day? How will your emotions be? How will the relationship with yourself and others be? What will you do that you’re not doing now? How will your career and money situation be? How will your health be? What will your dream day be like? Etc… 

Unless you have an exact idea of what you want, you won’t know what you’re aiming for. 

Once you do have this, you can use it to remind and emotionally reward yourself for doing the things and making the changes you’re making that pull you closer and closer to this life. 

This is where real motivation comes from. 

And because you will have such a solid and unwavering focus on what you want, nothing outside this will throw you off your path – not the scale numbers, not other people, nothing! 

And the reason this works is two-fold. 

  1. It’s internal so you have complete control over it. 
  2. It’s what you want rather than don’t want, so it’s exciting AND only gets stronger as you live more and more of the life you want to live. 

Plus, you don’t just feel good when you finally reach your goal. Each incremental step towards it brings you more and more reward which keeps you focused and makes you never consider any other way of living. 

Check your Emotional Eating Score

Answer these 8 questions to allow me to evaluate your level of emotional eating.