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For many, the start of a new year is about making changes. Research tells us that implementing incremental, specific changes is the most effective and sustainable way to go about shifting your behaviors. Here is a small, effective change you can make today to become healthier: get rid of your scale.

The fact is, stepping on a scale makes it harder to trust your wisdom.

The scale is an ineffective way to seek validation or affirmation that the health behaviors you've been working on changing or adopting are working. Have you ever felt good in your body or felt proud of yourself for engaging in self-care, only to watch those great feelings fade after stepping on a scale? You can never win with a scale: If the numbers go up, you get frustrated and want to quit; If they go down, they're often not low enough. Neither scenario leads to a healthy relationship with food or your body. You don't need validation from a scale.

So, do yourself a favor and throw your scale in the trash.

Although tossing your scale may initially create uncomfortable feelings, the longer you live without a scale the less you'll miss it. Focus instead on how you feel in your body and as a person. Consider your energy levels, how your brain is working, your overall mood and your quality of life. These things can be improved without changing your weight. They do not require a diet to achieve.

When you feel good in your body or proud of yourself for engaging in healthy behaviors, allow yourself to sit in those good feelings and trust that they're real. Avoid seeking validation from a scale—or from anyone else. If your goal is to be healthier, start paying attention to what your body needs and nourish it. Don't punish it based on an arbitrary number that says nothing about the state of your health.

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