The Power of the Scale Over Girls and Women

The story:

I’m sure you’ve all seen it. Today, I was at the gym and commenting in my head about the good mood everyone was in– good weather, happy faces, hump day.

Then I walked into the dressing room.

There were 2 women, one around 50 years old, the other around 25 or 30, standing around the scale, discussing their weight and showing great disdain for the number on the scale. “Why can’t it just say 140?” one woman said. “I know!” the other agreed. I’m such a whale. Yesterday the scale said 154 and today it says 156. I hate my life. Let’s go home.”

It was then that I realized that they were mother and daughter! What are we teaching our girls? Be careful!

A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that teenage girls’ desire to be thin or lose weight was based at least in part on their perception of what their mothers wanted for them. Girls in the study were more likely to diet if their moms had done so.

–Read more on that

Does the scale really have such power over girls and women?

It turns out, it does. Some might even say it even has a “magnetic pull.” Teen girls who weigh themselves often are more likely than other girls to engage in unhealthy dieting and go up and down in weight. The girls who are most scale-obsessed, according to a 2006 study out of the University of Minnesota, tend to skip meals, use diet pills, abuse laxatives, smoke, binge, and vomit to lose weight.

“The act of getting on the scale, weighing yourself every day, can lead to an unhealthy weight preoccupation,” according to lead researcher Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a professor at the university’s School of Public Health. “And teenage girls who are concerned about their weight are at great risk for unhealthy weight control behaviors.”

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, surveyed 2,516 Minnesota junior high and high school girls and boys in the 1998-99 school year and followed up in 2003-04.

Do you have such a reaction when you get on the scale? Does it have such power over you? It’s amazing how a hunk of mental and plastic can rule over the female mood…even on such a beautiful sunny day.

For mother’s day, is it possible to celebrate…without the scale? You’re worth so much more than that number staring you back in the face.

Cartoon found here. Thanks, Tiffabee!


One Response

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