How I Stopped Getting Weighed Down by the Scale

Health Check 4

scaleFor years, we had what you might call a dependent, dysfunctional relationship. No matter how horrible I'd end up feeling about myself as a result, I always came running back. I figured I couldn't stay on track if I didn't. When we broke up, I just didn't know where I stood. But now, I can tell you with absolute certainty: There's no love or hate between us anymore. Now we're strictly platonic ... I'm talking about the relationship I had with the scale. It's one many of us have but can't seem to shake.

As someone whose weight has given her "problems" since she was a kid, I grew up thinking the only and/or best way to judge where I stood health-wise -- and unfortunately, at some points, self-worth-wise -- was by stepping on the scale. Despite having seen it go up and down, back up, and then back down, that damn number held so much power over me. Until recently.

Recently when after more than eleven intense weeks at the gym and eating as clean as possible, the mirror was delivering good news. My clothes were delivering it, too. And my fiance and family and friends were telling me I was looking different in a healthy, happy way. And then I got on the scale, and it was a total Debbie Downer! According to it, I'd lost only 1/3 perhaps of what I felt like I had. I decided right then and there that was no way that damn number on any ol' scale could rain on my parade.

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It's heartbreaking to feel like the scale doesn't reflect your efforts -- or what you're getting out of your hard work. To feel like it's creeping waaay too slowly along, while you feel as though your fitness level and size are moving at a much steadier pace toward where you'd like to be. Because, you think, if it's the only measurement that counts, why bother? But having that thought only means that's it's time to cut the cord! Just say "no" to being a "weight" watcher, to worrying only about pounds lost or gained. 

I've realized that I want to look amazing, feel incredible, and whatever that damn number is doesn't necessarily correlate to either of those things. No one is going to weigh me on my wedding day. Programs or doctors who rely exclusively on a scale to deliver the news that you've succeeded or failed are failing us. Because inches matter. Cardiovascular endurance matters. Strength matters. Body composition (fat vs. muscle) matters. Simply eating and fueling our bodies right matters. And of course so does body image! And body bliss!

All of these factors are pieces of a really big puzzle. And I think it's okay for our relationship with that puzzle to be "complicated." It should be complicated! Because whether it's before a wedding, before "bikini season," after baby, or for life, being dysfunctionally, one-dimensionally dependent on the scale will never be the best way to get exactly where we want to be.

How much do you rely on the scale to judge your progress? Do you feel like you had/have a dysfunctional relationship with it?

weight loss, healthy habits, general health, body image


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Wheep... Wheepingchree

Yes, I have had a dysfunctional relationship with the scale. Until I had a similar realization as you did. Mine was when the scale was telling me that I'm 30 lbs heavier than before I had my daughter....but still wearing the same exact pants. And they fit, I swear! After going to the dr and being reminded how much muscle I have built over the last few years, the scale is way less of a reference to my health nowadays. Rather I look at my exercise level and eating habits and how I feel.

nonmember avatar Simona

I also have a dysfunctional relationship with my scale. I have not yet gotten to the point of not relying on it to tell me that im getting closer to my goal. I find myself weighing myself a few times a day just to make sure I havent gone up too much. It's bad, I know. I hope to one day have the realization you have had.

BirdCo BirdCo

I don't own a scale and for years I wouldn't even look at the Drs office. Now I use my friends or the one at the gym but mostly I go by how my clothes fit (down one size about to go down another) and measurements.

nonmember avatar 4evermyboyz

Weight is just one part of the equation, the rest is as mentioned here (fitness level, stamina, muscle definition, clothes size). I lost 50 pounds, down 6 sizes. I'm still going down in clothes sizes but the scale doesn't move much. It's okay, I keep that number in its proper place.

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