How to Use a Scale Without Driving Yourself Crazy

"I thought my life would be so much better, that I'd be so much happier, once the scale read a specific number.

After a long time of not weighing myself I couldn't believe it when I stepped on the scale that day and discovered I was actually below my goal weight and yet life was the same.

I wasn't any happier than I was before, life still felt empty. That's when I knew I needed to do something different and change my perspective." 

This is a conversation I recently found myself in with a woman I've known for a few years now.

I was a bit taken aback when she shared this with me. She always seems so confident & poised, as if life is completely put together for her. I didn't realize that she had an obsession with the number on the scale. 

The reality is I think many woman do. I've struggled with this myself. 

It isn't wrong to have a scale related goal.  However, what can be dangerous is believing that the number on the scale will magically change everything in your life for the better.  Or that the number on the scale defines you or is somehow the most important measure of success. 

Instead of viewing the number on the scale as the most prevalent factor, look at this way: the scale is a tool and the number is information.   

That's it. 

The number doesn't define you.  The number shouldn't  be your only measure of success.

In fact, there may be more effective ways for you to track your progress. 

Here are 3 ways to track your success without using a scale: 

1. Take Before and After Photos 

Photos don't lie. It is easy to tell from a photo whether or not you are on the right track. You can take your photos with your smart phone and a tripod or have someone else take them for you. You might find it helpful to take the photos in your bra & underwear or swimsuit, but you can also wear leggings and a sports bra. You definitely don't want to be wearing baggy clothing because that will make it more difficult to notice any change that is happening. 


2. Take Measurements.

It is often true that inches lost are more significant than shifts on the scale.  To get the most accurate measurements, it is helpful to have someone else measure you. However, you can do it yourself if need be.  You'll want to measure your chest, hips, natural waist as well as around the belly button, neck, calves, thickest part of your dominant thigh and thickest part of your dominant arm.  Grab your FREE measurement tracker by clicking here. 


3.  Take note of how your clothing fits. 

You know that feeling when you button your pants with ease? Such a rewarding feeling! Pay attention to how your pants and skirts are fitting. You may notice they start to feel loser in the legs and more comfortable around your waist. You may also notice that your shirts are not as snug as before. Let this encourage you regardless of how big or small changes on the scale have been! 


If you must use the scale, here is how to use it without driving yourself crazy. 

1. Don't weigh yourself daily. 

Choose one day per week or every other week that you will weigh yourself. Record that number in your planner or your phone. Look for small changes over time. 

2. Do weigh yourself at the same time on the same day.

If you choose to weigh yourself every Thursday, try to weigh yourself around the same time of day. I recommend first thing in the morning, after you've released your bladder, but before you've had anything to drink or eat. You may also want to weigh yourself without any clothing on. 

3. Don't be married to the number staring back at you.

It can be helpful to know around which number you feel your best. For example, you may know that you have always liked the way you look and feel when you weigh 145 pounds. That's good information to have. Remember, depending on where you're at in your cycle, how much or how little water you've had to drink and whether or not you had a high sodium diet the day before can all impact the number on the scale.  

I want to share my personal experience with this to illustrate how much one dinner can fluctuate the scale. My family and I went out for burgers and fries. The next morning I weighed myself and the scale was up 3 pounds. This doesn't mean I gained 3 lbs. This was a reflection of what happens when you consume a dinner high in sodium. Out of curiosity, I did weigh myself daily until I got the number to reflect that the 3 pounds had gone away. I drank plenty of water over the next two days and was able to see the scale go back down. Again, this wasn't weight gain or actual fat loss - it's very important to understand that - this was clearly an issue of water retention that occurred from consuming a delectable burger and delicious fries. 

Do you need to step away from the scale for a time? 

Maybe if.......

  • You have a long history of yo-yo dieting and you're working to break free of the diet mentality. 
  • You find yourself constantly thinking about your weight. 
  • You find it difficult to go a day without weighing yourself. 
  • You place your whole measure of success in the number you see staring back at you. 

Then maybe some time away from the scale would be beneficial to your health. 

The truth is, the scale is NOT the best measure of success for your overall health and wellness. It is easy to become obsessed over a number and feel that only when you reach and maintain a certain number can you achieve happiness. This is a lie. Stop believing it. If the scale is your only measure of success, you will be hard pressed to find peace and happiness in that. 


Posted in Nutrition, Wellness.