A year and a half ago I did something unprecedented. I took the scale out of the bathroom, gave it to my fiance and asked him to throw it into the recycling bin.
He looked at me, a bit skeptical, and said “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I said, “get rid of it!”
And in that moment, my self-worth and success stopped being determined by the scale and my life has been much better since!
Why did I toss that mother effin’ scale? Although I wish I could tell you that I am a perfectly logical individual who would NEVER let a number get to me, it totally did. That scale caused more upset and frustration than I’m willing to admit. I could have worked out hard for three or four days that week and ate really, really well but if that danged number didn’t budge (or budge “enough”), I would think of myself as a failure and go through those horrible motions of self-doubt and low confidence. I may have felt the best I’ve ever felt in my life but if I didn’t drop in numbers, that feeling would go away in an instant. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about, I know it!
So I finally felt it was too much. I was working very hard to get rid of the things that caused me to feel horrible and the scale was one of them. For me, that number was not a motivator at all, that number just made me feel like crap. The scale was like an abusive partner that you want to get rid of but don’t have the courage to. How would you know if you lost weight if the scale didn’t tell you?
Well folks, losing weight and getting healthy IS more than a number on a scale. Besides, that number can fluctuate several times a day and your weight gain or weight loss has so many dimensions to it that the number you see is never, truly, an accurate gauge of your success; it’s just ONE gauge. If you aren’t affected by that number I’m in awe of you, but for the rest of us, there’s no reasons to continuously let it affect us the way it does. You don’t need a scale to lose weight OR feel great!
If you felt great and proud of yourself this week due to how well you stuck to your plan, that trumps what the scale says ten-fold! And trust me, I know how hippy that all sounds, I truly do, you want to feel great AND lose weight! But trust me, if you keep how proud you felt in the forefront of your mind and that carries you to stick to your plan week after week, you WILL lose weight even if it doesn’t happen every single week. Besides, I’ve found from personal experience that during those times where the scale didn’t budge at all, I was getting MORE compliments than when I was actively losing weight! My body was still toning and re-shaping itself even when the scale wasn’t moving, almost like my body was trying to catch up with the changes and so put a halt on the weight loss until it situated itself and then I started losing again.
Many people say that the scale helps to motivate them. That if it goes up, they know to be extra careful that week or helps them to re-evaluate their week. I can understand this tactic but I still think it’s a slippery slope because your body isn’t predictable like that. You could have had an amazingly successful week but, for whatever reason, your body may not have dropped the weight (could be water, sodium, bodily changes, the time of day, what you ate the night before, anything) and then you’re making changes based on a false indicator. I highly recommend evaluating your progress often but you need to look at it as a whole and not just from one single indicator or else you’ll be making changes that could do you more harm than good.
Tips For Gauging Your Success Without The Scale
- Clothes. This is the easiest and most effective. Some people will buy a piece of clothing (or an outfit) that’s one or two sizes smaller than they are now and every few weeks, try it on until it fits! Or use your current clothes as a gauge and watch them fall off of you!
- Use the tape measure! You may not be losing numbers on the scale but you’re probably losing inches around your body. Measure various body parts, write down the date and number and then every week or month or so, do it all again!
- Stick with your plan! I’m always so proud of myself when I have a really great week where I get in good quality workouts and ate well. Whether I lost weight or not, it makes me feel proud to know that my newfound healthy behaviour changes are getting easier and easier!
- Compliments! This past spring I participated in a bootcamp for three months and although I didn’t lose much weight (we did use a scale as part of our measurements), I knew I had made massive changes because both my fiance and my bootcamp instructor said they noticed more definition in my toros. I also experienced massive gains in my strength and fitness which I was ecstatic about.
- If you’re into tracking, stay tracking. Regardless of the number on the scale you’ll know that you’re doing well if you know your numbers and this has worked for you in the past.
- Make a specific goal that relates to your weight loss. For me, a short term goal of mine is what I like to call: Boobs Over Gut. That is, I monitor myself on a regular basis to see whether or not my boobs jut further out over my gut or if they’re both the same size. I’ll know I’ve reached my goal when I see that, indeed, my boobs are bigger than my gut.