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Yoni Freedhoff MD
Yoni Freedhoff MD

Gravitophobia: The Irrational Fear of Your Bathroom Scale

Are you afraid of your bathroom scale?

Are you hiding from your bathroom scale?

In my last post I detailed the phenomena of "Scale Addiction" whereby folks traumatically dieting tend to want to weigh themselves, often multiple times daily, rather than trust in what they're actually doing when considering the question, "How am I doing?"

Today I'll be talking about a related phenomia - "Gravitophobia", the irrational fear of the scale.

Gravitophobia tends to afflict those individuals who believe weight management involves strict control (often to the exclusion of using food for pleasure or comfort), who during a difficult time living their overly strict lifestyles, consequently indulge.

Suddenly the scale that they had been stepping on multiple times daily due to their scale addiction is no longer a friend. Suddenly they want nothing to do with it. Going into the bathroom many will even avert their eyes rather than risk a glance in its direction. Yet certainly they didn't consume enough calories to make a dent in their actual weights. A piece of chocolate cake, even a rich, large, decadent, thick piece, probably doesn't even contain a quarter pound of calories, yet it's often enough to trigger gravitophobia.

For some gravitophobia lasts a day or two. For others it can be weeks and some even months or years, and often scale avoidance goes hand in hand with giving up on many or all of their healthy living strategies.

Let me be clear. The scale isn't your friend or your enemy. The scale is just something to provide you with another piece of information with which to help inform your decisions.

If you're trying to lose weight, I'd recommend you weigh yourself once weekly, Wednesday mornings, naked, after pee, before breakfast.

Regardless of what the scale tells you, never let the scale push you around, and remember that life is dynamic, and so too are your weight and healthy living efforts.

Simply put, sometimes life is worth more calories. Sometimes it just happens that way and sometimes it's for great reasons, but at no time should you let that scale have the power to defeat you. Don't spend your emotional energies on overt avoidance or guilt - they're certainly not going to help you any and they might even hurt.

Avoidance isn't the only scale related risk. Stay tuned for my next post where I'll tackle Scale Seduction.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, MD is known as a "nutritional watchdog" for his advocacy efforts for improved public policies regarding nutrition and obesity. An Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Freedhoff is the founder and Medical Director of the Bariatric Medical Institute, dedicated to the (nonsurgical) treatment of overweight and obesity since 2004 and his personal website, Weighty Matters, is ranked among the world's top health blogs..

About the Author
Yoni Freedhoff MD

Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., is the founder and Medical Director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa, Canada.

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