Toss the Scale

Disclaimer: This post applies to those that let the bathroom scale rule their body confidence and/or treat it like an addictive substance. Depending on goals, the scale can be a useful tool to measure tangible progress. If you keep a level head about your weigh-ins, then feel free to dub this post as garbage...but I have a feeling there are many people in this boat.

Getting rid of the scale may have been the most challenging yet liberating component of my transition to clean eating, training hard and living freely. Back in the good [terrible] ole' days of calorie imprisonment and weekly [daily] weigh-ins, the scale was my arch nemesis. A small metal block of shame to which I became addicted. Not exaggerating, I used to weigh myself up to 3 times per day - when I woke up, post workout and before I went to bed. That's just horrendous. I swear, when I'd step on it, I could hear it bullying me. 

Now that my relationship with food has completely changed for the better, my relationship with the scale has too...in that I don't use it anymore. Stepping on the scale even on a weekly basis will drive you crazy. Seeing even the most minuscule fluctuations can be stressful to many - my former self included.

The Day I Ditched Lucifer...the Scale

One average morning, I woke up feeling good - ready for a bacon/veggie omelet and mug o' joe. As I was changing, I looked at myself in my hanging mirror and felt awesome. After liking what I saw, I headed to the bathroom to step on the scale out of curiosity (my thought process: "Feeling good! Let's see how much weight I've lost!"). Scale reading: +2 lbs....("WTF?!?!?!?!?!")

Immediately, my triumphant feeling dissipated. I was less than pleased...over a measly 2 lbs that could have been anything from muscle gain to water weight. Thank GOD I had a mid-breakfast epiphany which basically entailed my declaration of "F*&$ the scale". I had been feeling great, and I was NOT about to let a number ruin that for me. From then on, I decided to forego weigh-ins entirely. They are useless. Read on.

What You're Not Thinking About

Weight fluctuations, increases, or plateaus may occur for a number of reasons APART from the possibility of legitimate weight gain. When you look at the scale and you see a bit of a rise or a plateau, you get frustrated because you most likely associate that number with fat. It can be particularly irritating when you feel as if you've been working out hard and eating well. I don't think I've ever heard someone step on the scale and say "Hm...I must need more sleep," or "I should drink more water". Nope - instead, the typical reaction to a scale reading is "I need to eat less and workout more." WRONG. No bueno. You deserve a wrist slap and large breakfast.

What Your Scale Does NOT Account For:

  • You may have under-slept recently.
  • Your body is holding onto water weight (perhaps you've had a particularly salty meal or two).
  • You had a larger-than-usual, hearty meal the day before.
  • You're body is at equilibrium...you're at a comfortable weight and there is simply no need to lose anymore weight. 
  • You're gaining muscle. We've all heard it before - muscle weighs more than fat. Yet, for some reason, that notion is harder to accept when facing the evil scale. Be proud and the own the fact that you're a strong mofo!

A scale number is basically meaningless. It's one hard number that doesn't reflect the whole story. It doesn't tell you how much of your weight is muscle mass, how much is water weight, nor does it indicate heart health or overall nourishment. A scale doesn't tell you you're healthy. Your health is so much more than a number.

Let It Go (Not a reference from the movie Frozen...I hated that movie and wouldn't be caught dead singing that atrocious tune).

If you toss your scale, you're not going to gain 20 lbs and not know about it. In fact, you will feel liberated. Your stress levels will reduce and you'll carry on with your healthy lifestyle -  business as usual. Since when did you need a machine to tell you that you're strong and healthy? That you kick ass in your workouts? That you're happy?! Being comfortable with yourself and with your body should come from how you feel...not from a heartless scale that tells you nothing about your body's composition. 

"Eating the foods we're evolutionarily designed to eat, making Primal movements, maintaining the right activity levels, and reducing stress helps us achieve that homeostasis. When you live according to Grok's ways, everything else just falls into place - including your natural, correct body weight. It may even be that you're healthiest a few pounds heavier. If you don't obsess over the scale, I bet you'd never even notice the difference." - Mark Sisson on Scale Obsession