My Thoughts on The Scale

We’ve all read a million blog posts about how the scale is evil. I’ve seen many bloggers break up with this tool…writing about how free they feel without constantly obsessing about this number.

I strongly agree with the main point of these posts. What’s on the  scale is just a number. It certainly doesn’t define you or have anything to do with how loved you are or your ability to be a great parent, friend, spouse or employee.

Scale and Self Confidence

(I don’t have the source for this as I saw it on Facebook.)

I’ve mentioned before that my weight fluctuated quite a bit during my late teens and early 20s. I can absolutely relate to how some women say it’s good day when the scale says a lower number and a bad day when it says a higher number. I have been there, letting the scale get the best of me and even giving that silly number the power to ruin an entire day, week or month. Looking back now I can see it makes no sense, but at the time I was blind to that reality. I went through phases where I completely avoided the scale because I didn’t want to know the number. I dreaded doctors appointments because I knew they would weigh me.

Now, here comes the part where I might become a little less popular. I think the scale can be a very useful tool, especially when it comes to keeping us honest with ourselves.

Using the Scale to Stay Accountable

If I didn’t like the number on the scale, I should have done something about it instead of avoiding it or doing the same thing day in and day out and expecting different results. I wasn’t eating enough and when I did eat, a lot of the time what I was eating was crap. I worked out every single day, but I went on the same long, slow run every morning. Had I spent less time drowning my sorrows by eating bagels and candy, and more time looking deeper into why I wasn’t at a healthy weight, I could have made the appropriate changes. Emotionally, I needed to work on my self-confidence and self-respect issues. Physically, I should have added in some strength training and made some major changes to my nutrition habits.

I’ll never forget when I got a physical and my weight was a good 20-25 pounds higher than it is now, which was by far the highest I had ever seen it. (Then again, it was probably higher at some point, I just didn’t know because I was so careful to avoid the scale!)

At this point in my life I was happy and in a good place emotionally. I had worked on my self-confidence and had a lot of respect for myself. I committed to making changes and stopped hiding from the numbers. I remember telling some people at work that I was going to lose some weight. I wanted others to hold me accountable. It was time to step it up.

I don’t care if you hate the scale or love it, but I really encourage you to see that it’s not all bad. The scale is by no means the only indicator of how healthy you are, but the number can certainly help to hold you accountable. We all get off track once in awhile and if you’re weighing yourself regularly, you’ll know it’s time to dial it in a bit if you see the numbers creeping up.

Woman Weighing Self

Unfortunately, with the skyrocketing obesity rates in this country more people might want to utilize the scale to get back on track and start the process of being honest about their weight/health issues. It’s important to realize that if you are overweight/obese you are more susceptible to health issues like diabetes, heart problems, etc. Weight aside, if you’re not eating well, not exercising, lacking energy and feeling sad, maybe the scale is a one of a few tools you can use to start being honest with yourself and get back on track, mentally and physically.

I don’t want to be harsh here , but it seems like there are so many feel-good posts about ditching the scale. While there’s no need to obsess over the number if you’re honestly taking care of yourself, I think it’s also an important life lesson to learn to accept the number on the scale.

Many (probably most) of you who are reading this post are truly healthy and if you feel super stressed about the number on the scale I would say it’s not a big deal to ignore it most of the time. But ask yourself this, why are you avoiding it rather than learning to love yourself and accept who you are?

If you really hate/fear the scale it might be time to try to figure out why you’re so unhappy with it. Are you setting unrealistic goals for yourself and trying to achieve an impossible number for your body type? If so, why? Are you avoiding the scale because you know you could be treating yourself better overall? In either case, it might be time to dive a little deeper into your feelings and actions. Afterall, shouldn’t honesty and acceptance both be parts of self-love?

Baby Weight

What are your thoughts on using the scale? Yay or Nay?

Comments

  1. I have mixed feelings about the scale. I was once obsessed and it blinded me from actually being healthy. I stopped weighing myself during my first pregnancy and it was freeing (of course I was weight at my appts). It was life changing. I do weigh myself now – but I don’t own a scale and it happens maybe once a month. I fear that I could become that person again and that’s NOT the example I want to set in front of my kids.

    However, I do agree that it’s useful and can be SO motivating when trying to lose weight. At some point though — there needs to be a shift. The scale definitely doesn’t tell all!

    • Totally agree! I think it’s so important not to obsess (and love that you are thinking of the example you’re setting for your kids). Sounds like you have developed a healthy relationship with the scale since you are AWARE of the number so when you do see it, there are no surprises. :) Also…you’re right it absolutely doesn’t tell all!

  2. I used to use the scale everyday but now I only use it a few times week. It is a good way for me to keep on track with my eating etc. but if I don’t like the number then I am upset and my whole day is upside down. It’s a love hate relationship!

  3. Instead of throwing away the whole scale, I think what I’d like to ditch are all the things that we associate with the number on the scale. It’s those associations that can be unhealthy and unhelpful. “Freedom from the scale” isn’t really about liberating yourself from the scale per se but liberating yourself from all those thoughts/expectations that beat down your self-esteem and self-respect. As you say, objectively, the scale can be a super useful too and a gauge of where you are and if things are working or not, just like a food diary or workout log. Why is it then that the scale can be a barometer of self worth whereas those other tools aren’t? Really great post.

    • YES YES YES!!! That is my exact point. It’s not the scale that is the problem…it’s these crazy associations and obsessions we develop about the number, our self worth, etc.

  4. i think it totally depends on the person. for me personally, if i use a scale, i get number obsessed and unhealthy about it. so i stopped using it. now i get on maybe once every 4 months or so just to see, but otherwise, i go by the way my pants fit and the way i’m feeling. however, i’m at a good weight for my body and have weighed pretty much the same as i do now for about 4 -5 years now. i know that for other people, if they don’t weigh themselves every day, they spiral out of control and can quickly regain weight they’ve worked hard to lose. and many people successfully use the scale to hold them accountable. find what works for you.

    • Agreed…it does depend on the person and sounds like you are doing what works for you. What I think we all need to work on is the obsession part…it’s so silly when you think about it even though we are all like that sometimes!

  5. Wow, this is an awesome post. The scale scares the hell out of me, honestly, because I tend to fixate on a number. I’ve gotten better with it, but have only weighed myself twice in 8 months, both in controlled environments (as in, not a scale I own). I’m at a point where my clothes fit so well, the smallest size I have ever worn, and right now that is my gauge. Though I agree with you that it does keep accountability…and for that, I do think weighing in once in awhile is healthy! Awesome perspective!

    • That’s totally fair. You definitely fall into the category of someone who is truly healthy…you’re taking care of yourself so you really don’t need a reminder every day of what you weigh. Also, sounds like you’re starting to figure out why the number scares you so much and working on getting over it since you know you’re HEALTHY (and happy). :)

  6. I think it entirely depends on the person and the stage of their life that they’re in.

    I struggled with disordered eating until I was in my late 20s. As part of my recovery, I ditched my scales. It was a huge moment for me, as it was part of my journey of self-love and acceptance. It was about looking for other measures of self-worth.

    I’ve been recovered for a decade now. These days I am able to use the scales for accountability, like you said. It doesn’t determine my self-worth as a human being; it determines whether or not I’m staying on track with eating healthfully. There’s definitely a difference there.

    Great post!

    • Isn’t that such a freeing feeling? I agree…scales are not good for people who have disordered eating patterns, but I think at some point it’s important to figure out why you have disordered eating and do your very best to conquer it. Sounds like you have done just that. Kudos to you! :)

  7. I LOVE your take on the whole scale issue. I certainly used to fall into the “hate the scale” camp — until I had that very same eye-opening experience when I was weighed and realized that I’d been literally avoiding the issue entirely, trying to kid myself into thinking I was the weight that I was because that was how my body was built, I’d never be xx jeans size because my hips are wide or I’m big boned. But lo and behold, the real reason was I was eating FAR too much for what my body needed, despite all the working out I was doing. So for me – the scale became the tool I needed to enact real change in my body. And now, I don’t NEED the scale to tell me that, it’s served its purpose. And I’m no longer afraid of it – I also don’t need it in my life everyday to tell me I’m doing a-ok. Once in awhile its a good check-in tool but not obsessively so. And certainly not the be-all end-all to determine if today is a “good” day or not. AWESOME post.

    • Exactly! I think it’s a great check in tool and you are so in tune with your body, you’re right…you don’t need it every day. But you know your approximate weight and stepping on a scale should not be a stress factor as the number shouldn’t be a surprise!

  8. Any trainer I’ve had has always told me to avoid the scale – do not weigh every day. At most, weigh once a month.

    I can’t bring myself to do that.

    I still weigh every single day! I weigh every day because I’m interested in how my body naturally fluctuates throughout the month. My weight will always be a couple of pounds up just before my period and afterwards I’ll drop those pounds. I’ve just recently started kettle bell training and it’s been interesting to see myself gain a couple of pounds – I know they are muscle. I weigh every day because I want to see if I gain weight while my clothes get looser. This way, I’ll know what to tell others who notice themselves gaining weight just after starting a weightlifting routine =)

    • Just remember that everyone is different and your experience might be totally different than someone else’s with the changes in your weight. There are a lot of factors involved. How are you liking kettlebell training?

  9. I completely agree. I think its a good way to check in with yourself. I didn’t use one for years but I do now so I can make sure that I am staying on track and aware of what I weigh. I think it’s better to notice you’ve gained 5lbs on the scale than wait until you really notice it off the scale at 10 or 15lbs.

    • It’s refreshing to me to not have to run from the numbers and I have learned that it doesn’t make it a bad day when the number is a little higher! It just means I need to dial it in a bit (or that I ate too much salt the night before…lol).

Trackbacks

Add Comment Register



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge