Stop Weighing on the Scale – Why, How to Get Better Results, and a Challenge


You can achieve better body transforming results and be much happier during the process if you stay off the scale. So, first things first – if you’re going to participate in the following challenge (staying off the scale), you need to get rid of it. Now. Yes, I haven’t told you why yet, but that doesn’t matter.

Go grab your scale, and then get rid of it.

Put it in a very inconvenient place so you’re not tempted to step on it; in the attic, somewhere in the garage, like a creepy corner that hasn’t seen a good spring cleaning since the 80s, or anywhere it’s not easily accessible. If you know you’ll crawl on your hands and knees into the dark abyss to retrieve the scale, then have a friend or family member hold on to it for you.

Or, and I really like this option – take it outside for some target practice.

“Ready! Pull!”

Go ahead. I’ll wait right here.

Seriously. Go. Put. The. Scale. Away. *Raises eyebrow and impatiently taps foot*

Who Can Benefit from Ditching the Scale

If you weigh yourself daily or in an obsessive-compulsive-fashion, or if your mood is easily affected by the number you see on the scale, you can definitely benefit from ditching it. Do you freak out if the number increases by a mere half pound? Yep, this article is for you.

Do you just want to look better in and out of your clothes, improve your health, and perform better in the gym? If so, you most certainly should read the following information. (Please notice that this isn’t for people who must keep track of their weight for sports and athletic events. Duh).

Why a lot of People Weigh Frequently

By far the most common reason people gave for weighing every day or multiple times a week was to “keep an eye on potential weight gain”. The scale serves as a sort of “checks and balances”.

Let me ask an important question - To those for whom this question applies, why do you expect weight lost to suddenly “creep back on”?

Have you not yet adopted a lifestyle that will prevent this from happening?

Prevent regaining weight lost by applying sustainable, stress free nutrition and eating habits that you can maintain long term. You need a lifestyle eating plan so you don’t constantly have to worry about, and focus on, your body weight.

In my opinion, if your current eating plan has you in a daily battle with maintaining your weight, then you really need to change what you’re doing.

Don’t be a lifetime dieter – take the time to experiment and find a nutrition approach, eating plan, and training regimen that is simple and doesn’t stress you out on a daily basis and that allows you to maintain your appearance/body weight with ease.

I know you want me to give you an answer, but there isn’t some holy grail hidden from you. For more information, check out Beautiful Badass Nutrition Principles.

Can the Scale Lie?

Yes, in a sense, the scale can lie.

For starters, the scale doesn’t just reveal fat lost. You can step on a scale and see a weight loss of several pounds, but that weight loss may not even be from fat; it could be from water and glycogen depletion.

Quick Note: Muscle Does Not Weigh More Than Fat

This needs to be stated – muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound whether it’s fat, muscle, bone, feathers, or lead. However, muscle is more dense than fat.

Muscle is more dense than fat, and that’s why a woman who’s been training hard and, despite losing body fat, hasn’t seen the number on the scale change much, if any, because she’s built muscle, too.

This is one reason why building muscle is a very good thing for women.

Here’s a picture to show that you can look better even if you gain weight. This is one of Jason Ferruggia’s clients.

As you can see, she gained 9 pounds but looks leaner, more “toned”, and more athletic because she lost body fat and built muscle. Good thing she didn’t let the number on the scale upset her!

Last week I asked the following question:

Do any of you weigh yourself daily, or most days per week? Do you find your mood can be easily affected by the number staring back at you?

Over 100 responses were given, but here are a couple I found very interesting:

I’ve never been in better shape before but the scale keeps telling me otherwise! So frustrating but I’m learning to ignore it! But why is that?!?

This statement truly befuddled me! This poor woman believes she’s in the best shape ever, but the scale is showing a weight that’s higher than she deems appropriate. I’m willing to bet that if she’d never stepped on the scale and simply went by how she looked and felt, she would be overjoyed with her success. In this case — yes, the scale has lied to her.

And this one:

I recently started weight training and got a set of BIA scales to track my progress. After 2 weeks of training hard and eating right I felt great and my boyfriend was convinced I had slimmed down. I’d got carried away with the scales though and was measuring 2-3 times a day. After 2 weeks I compared with my starting weight and there was no difference, I was devastated and actually had to lie down. The scales really made me question my commitment to this kind of fitness despite FEELING stronger and healthier.

Again, this lady was feeling better and seeing results from her efforts, but because the scale number wasn’t in line with her thoughts, she felt like she failed. So, the scale lied to her, too.

Did you notice something very important? Both of the ladies above were happy with their progress, and felt great, too. But because the number on the scale didn’t do what they expected, their mood was negatively affected. Has this happened to you?

The Illusive “Ideal Weight”

Many women constantly chase an “ideal weight”. Perhaps it’s a weight from high school or college, or maybe pre-pregnancy. In any case, a lot of women have a number in their head, and they think, “If I could just weigh X amount, then I’d be happy.”

Well, I’ve got some disheartening news for you if you’re chasing that magical number. More than likely, once you reach it, you still won’t be happy.

I know this because I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Even though some reach that perceived “ideal weight’, they still come up with other things they want to fix or improve. It’s a never ending cycle, my friends.

My suggestion is to stop trying to reach an “ideal weight”.

That brings me to an awesome Tweet I saw from Chris Shugart a few weeks ago:

Train for a LOOK and not a NUMBER on the scale.

Simple, powerful statement. And I love it.

Would you rather look and feel awesome and maintain that appearance with minimal stress, or would you rather be in a constant state of chasing some “ideal number” as discussed above?

Forget about the number on the scale – train and eat for the look you want, and forget everything else, especially a stupid number on the scale.

My Recent Experience

I decided to stay off the scale for a few months (ended up being four) and keep doing what I’ve done for years – train hard and eat smart. I also took some measurements for comparison later on.

The only thing I changed during that four month period was my training regimen. I started to train on an almost daily basis, alternating between upper and lower body training days. Now, I know many of you may think I’m crazy training on a daily basis, but I have my own power rack and barbell set at home, and most sessions only took about 30 minutes.

My goal was to have fun with training, focus on performance, and to lift as frequently as possible. If I needed a day off, I took one. I was enjoying my training and I felt awesome. My clothes still fit well and I thought I looked great, too.

After about four months of training frequently, and having a lot of fun while doing so, and eating the way I have for years, I stepped on the scale and took my measurements once again.

The result – I gained about 4 pounds.

Before this little experiment, I weighed on average 125 pounds, and I now weigh about 129 pounds.

What happened? Did I gain fat?

I don’t think so. According to my measurements, I had sculpted some muscle on my shoulders and thighs, and my waist measurement was the same.

During that four month period, I was doing squats and overhead presses several times per week, so that would explain the increase in my shoulder and hip measurements (which is what I wanted).

Bottom line - I didn’t expect the weight on the scale to increase, but I didn’t let it bother me because I felt great and my performance on a few key exercises was improving, and my waist measurement didn’t increase.

What about Tracking Body Fat Percentage?

This may frustrate and even shock a few people, but I don’t think you should focus too heavily body fat percentage either. In fact, if you don’t know what it is, I don’t encourage you to find out. If you’re just concerned with looking great, feeling awesome, performing well in the gym, and fitting into your favorite clothes, why do you need to know your body fat percentage?

Let me tell you a quick story. When I was in college several years ago, I took a lab class that included measuring body fat via hydrostatic weighing. My lab partner was an athlete on the University of Louisville swim team. She was lean, strong, and confident in her appearance.

She had no problem putting on a swimsuit and walking around a class of about 25 individuals as she approached the tank.

A few minutes later we had the results from the test and her calculated body fat percentage was right around 20 percent.

She looked horrified when she heard “20 percent body fat.” Her demeanor quickly changed, and she didn’t smile a single time for the rest of the class period.

This young athlete was all smiles before the test because she knew she looked great, and she felt strong and confident. However, the body fat percentage that was revealed quickly and drastically changed her perception.

Why, all of a sudden, did she feel insecure from a number? What did it matter that she was 20 percent body fat when she felt, and looked, absolutely fantastic and performed well in her sport?

This, my friends, is why I tell most people to stay away from tracking body fat percentages, too. They can play a huge mind game with you.

Here’s Your New “Scale”

Some people may wonder how they can accurately track their progress if they’re being told to put the scale away and not track body fat percentage. There are several other indicators you can track that are, in my opinion, more accurate and don’t fluctuate nearly as much on a daily basis as your bodyweight.

The first four at the most important, in my opinion.

Use the following tools as your new “scale”:

  • How you look in the mirror
  • How your clothes fit
  • Are you following simple, stress free nutrition guidelines?
  • How you feel. Do you feel strong and healthy? Do you feel better than ever? Do you have more energy? Are you performing well in the gym, or other activities? Do you find daily tasks easier?
  • Focus on your actions. Are you eating well? Are you training consistently? Are your actions in line with your goals?
  • These aren’t necessary, but some people like to track some number. In that case, keep track of a few measurements like waist, hips, thighs, and arms.
  • Apply some simple guidelines via this article => The 10 Commandments for Simple Fat Loss.

Recommended Reading

If you’re focused on the scale number decreasing constantly, or you have been training and eating for fat loss for months, or years, on end, then please read the following two articles.

Letting Go of the Fat Loss Mindset

The Weight on the Barbell is Important – Not the Scale

5 Problems with Rapid Fat Loss & Quick Fixes, and What to Do Instead 

Why You Should Say NO to the Skinny Rules and YES to Being Awesome 

Now you should be armed with enough information, and confidence, to tackle the following challenge head on.

Your Challenge

Put the scale away for 30 days, minimum.

Use the “new scales” above, particularly the first four that are listed. I strongly believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results and the new mindset that comes along with the challenge.

And one more thing . . .

Sign up for the exclusive Beautiful Badass Mini-Course to discover the sane and simple way to build a better body. You’ll also receive insider only information. Just enter your email below and click “Sign Me Up”.

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  • “I freaking LOVE this info! I'm determined to be a Beautiful Badass!” -Tina V
  • Cort the Sport

    I weigh myself 3-4 times a year. I found that if I weighed myself daily, I was more likely to fall into a reward/restrict cycle as a reaction to the number. However, weight is never far from my mind. I race faster when I am lighter, but I gauge it by how I look and feel and how clothes fit rather than the scale. Body composition takes a long-term approach, and long-term view that the scale does not provide.

  • Joy

    Wonderful post Nia-I am involved in coaching a sport that requires weight classes ( women’s MMA) and while maintaining a healthy weight year round without drastic and dangerous “cutting weight” strategies have gotten better in my 20 years in the sport, we still have a long way to go. I find the biggest factors in the women I train that have difficulty losing/ maintaining a healthy weight ( does fighting in a lighter weight class ideal for her- will it improve her ability as an athlete?) is
    1. not getting enough sleep!
    2. Too much training/ not enough recovery= heightened stress
    3. Balancing training/ nutrition- not eating enough

    • Nia Shanks

      Thank you for sharing!

    • Amy

      This is so weird that you say this, but weird as in I wish I would have heard it sooner. I train MMA and recently went to an RD since I was always tired, not feeling the best during training, not sleeping through the night and… wait for it… not losing weight.

      Those three things you posted, number 3 specifically, are the things plaguing me as well. It is good to know I’m not alone though. ;)

  • Cambria88

    This terrifies me. I know that I need to do this. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in in my entire life. I’m active, I eat well and I look great and my clothes fit super well. But my weight has crept up 9 lbs in 7 months. It makes me feel like a failure. Despite the fact that I’ve increased my squat by 50 lbs. Despite the fact that I’ve started boxing and can get through the hour long class like a champ. Despite the fact that I’m holding yoga poses meant for advanced students and I’ve only been going for a month. I look at that stupid number, which according to BMI puts me in the overweight category despite being 5’8 and a size 6 with abs starting to show — who cares. The numbers say I’m fat.

    I obviously need to do this challenge, but it terrifies me because what if I get heavier because I don’t know where I am? And what if, at the end of this, I still care?

    • Nia Shanks

      Just give a try and see what happens. Use the “new scales” mentioned above instead of worrying about the number on the scale.

      BMI has a huge downfall in that it doesn’t take into account muscle mass. It’s probably ok for the average person who doesn’t train, but if you’re a lean woman with muscle, it can mess with your head just like the scale.

      I’ve seen some very fit women who’s BMI number put them in the “overweight” category, and it was just hysterical because they were strong, lean, and very healthy.

    • Beaker4

       I read once, that at the height of his career, Shaquille O’Neal would have been classified as obese based on his BMI.  Clearly, the BM was not a good indicator for him at that time, and it is probably not a good indicator for you right now either.

    • C0urtney321

       I can 110% relate to this post Cambria. All my lifts have increased by a good 50-75 lbs, and I have gained about 10lbs over the last 7 months. Mind you, my diet has slipped up here and there – but my training has increased ten-fold. I’m Rx’ing WODs for the first time – pull ups and all! – and I still care too much about the number on the scale.
      My issue, however, doesn’t lie in obsessing over weighing myself. On the other hand, I fear it so much that I avoid it at all costs. I finally mustered up the courage to see where I’m at this past Monday and of course I hated what I saw – but it hasn’t changed in the last month. I have abs coming in too! I thought that I’d have to lose more weight to gain abs, but apparently not? Anyway, I’m in the same boat!

    • michael

      the weight is irrelevant. In order to be stronger, your body will build muscle, and if you have a good muscle fat balance, this will result in weighing more. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE LESS HEALTHY.

      The idea that weight or BMI tells you how healthy you are is a big lie.

      If you can lift more, and run longer or faster and look and feel better, why does it matter what your BMI says? BMI is nothing more than weight. Oh sure, there’s height calculated in there, but do you know of anything you can do to change your height? I don’t. So BMI is nothing more than another way of looking at your weight on the scale.

      BMI doesn’t know how much muscle you have. BMI doesn’t know how much energy you have. BMI doesn’t know how much oxygen your cardiovascular system can process. It doesn’t know how flexible your joints are. It doesn’t know how you feel, what you can do, or how you look. Aren’t all those things what matter? the number on the scale doesn’t matter unless you look at it.

      Trust me that nobody who sees you will be looking at the number on the scale, they will be looking at your thinner waist, and the lovely back and glute muscles that those squats develop.

      BMI is only useful as a statistical tool for data sets that don’t include more information about a person’s body than height and weight.

      Applying BMI to an individual person to determine how healthy they are is completely wrongheaded. BMI basically assumes that you have an average body composition for your height and weight. But if you have been successfully strength training for a while, that assumption is bound to be wrong! Just as if you have been crash dieting while sitting on the couch for 6 months, it is bound to be wrong in the other direction.

      If you want to lower your BMI while killing yourself, there are hundreds of diet books that can help you with that.

      If you want to be strong, healthy and beautiful, listen to Nia Shanks, she is dead on target.

  • Tina

    I stopped my daily weighing habit about 2 months ago and I have never felt better!!  I was VERY guilty of letting it dictate my mood and my self worth.  I only judge by how I feel, how my clothes fit, and occasional pictures and it’s amazing to have that stress out of my life!  You couldn’t have said it better, my lifestyle really dictates it.  If my pants start to feel too tight, I know I need to get myself back in line!!

    • Nia Shanks

      AWESOME! Thanks for sharing.

  • Denitza Neville

    Great post! It’s getting easier to stay away from the scale for me and let my clothes and training show me how I’m doing. I know I should throw that liar away!

  • Sabrina Marthaler

    Wonderful. I weighed myself weekly for years, then was even doing it daily. Why did I quit? I finally realized it wasn’t helping me anymore. At first it was good, I was losing steadily, and seeing the numbers drop was motivating. There wasn’t a number I was shooting for, and I didn’t care what the body fat % or weight actually WAS, it was just nice to have an objective measurement. But after a big dose of life stress, I gained some weight back, and I found the scale could change my mood; it could make me approach the pullup bar with trepidation, certain they would be harder because I was heavier today, that kind of thing. When I finally realized that the scale was HURTING my progress, I stopped. I now judge my body comp on how I look, how my jeans fit – and all other objective measurements are useless and irrelevant. I wish everyone else the strength to make the same decision!

    • Nia Shanks

      Thanks for sharing, Sabrina.  :)

  • Kelly

    I usually weigh myself every Monday morning.  But, I’m going to put the scale away and not check it for a month.  This morning was my last weigh in for the next month.  Thanks for the great read.  I lost my dad about a year and half ago and it’s crazy how my weight got out of control.  I’ve been training for a month and 1/2 and my pants are huge.  I need to go buy some more.  I’m tired of how depressing it feels to be over weight and out of shape.  I just need to learn to have some patience and just keep working hard.  It took some time for my body to get like this and I try to remind myself daily that it takes time to get it back.  It’s not over night.  You are such an inspiration!  Thanks :)

    • Nia Shanks

      I’m sorry for your loss, but thank you for also sharing your success with us.

      It’s all about the JOURNEY, not just the end goal, whatever it may be. Just have fun with your training and do whatever it takes to enjoy the process. Your goals will be much easier to attain that way.

      Please continue to keep me updated, and I wish you all the best.

  • Stef

    It is a funny coincidence that I read this today! I decided about a week ago to not weigh myself for the month of July! Haha! I am on the scale every morning, first thing and sometimes I will weigh at night before bed. I weighed in yesterday , July 1st and will not weigh again until August. I am at a fairly healthy weight now and like someone commented before, height and weight charts have me as overweight, even though I can see cuts in my shoulders and arms. I want to see how NOT getting on the scale affects me. I suspect it will do less harm and more good for me mentally! You should post again in August to see how we challengers did! Thanks for posting this!

    • Nia Shanks

      Awesome, Stef. I look forward to hearing about your thoughts with this challenge.

  • fun_bobby

    Why then keep track of your waist, hip, thigh and arm measurements? Aren’t these simply more numbers to obsess over and use as mood barometers? I love all your articles, I truly do, but I feel like you’re sending a mixed message here. Why are these measurements ok, but the scales are not?

    • Jame

       These measurements are good gauges on if you are really gaining or losing weight (and how your clothes fit).

      I am actively trying to lose weight.  I lost one pound for the month of June, and I didn’t have many “indiscretions.”  I measure these places and a few more. I found that while many measurements were exactly the same, my belly was 4 inches smaller!  (This is below my natural waist).  Obviously something was happening that wasn’t reflected on the scale.

    • Nia Shanks

      These measurements more accurately reflect what’s going on. The scale just shows weight lost or gaining, but doesn’t tell you if it’s from fat, muscle, water, etc, and so that number can be misleading.

      Tracking waist and other measurements is more accurate, and people don’t typically obsess over them like they do with the scale.

      But, if you don’t want to worry about them, then don’t. Do whatever you want and what works for you. And, I said to focus on the FOUR first “new scale” items which don’t include any measurements. 

      • fun_bobby

        Thanks for the reply Nia :)

        I didn’t see your comment to focus on the first 4 new scale items – my apologies.

        I still think that measurements can be as misleading as scales though. Who is to say your circumference gains or losses are due to fat or muscle, or water retention, or something else? I don’t mean to antagonise, but it seems to me that all the arguments against the scales in the article above can be used against these sorts of measurements also. The type of person who gets upset by the numbers on the scale is very likely to get upset by other measurements too! I think it’s more that the attitude to the numbers themselves needs to change, rather than whether or not we measure things at all. i.e. I agree with you that measurements can be useful when monitoring progress – just so long as you understand what they do and don’t mean, and that a “bad” number doesn’t ruin your whole day.

        I guess what I am saying in a rather longwinded way is that I agree with you for the most part, except that I think all numbers have the potential to affect us in a negative way.

        Jame, a good measure of how your clothes fit would surely be how your clothes fit?! :)

  • Maria

    The timing of this article IS amazing! I just told my sister today that I may have to bring my scale to her house- it’s killing me! Although in my case, training with weights and running and watching what I eat has led me to at least a 10# weight gain and my clothes are all tight in the middle. :( sizes going up too!  Very disheartening, and I think the scale is my one shot to believe the weight MIGHT be inching down, which it’s not!

    Not sure if at 45 I’ve got some hormonal stuff going on or not, but jumping on the scale every day is definitely counterproductive.  I will take you up on this challenge! Another awesome article, Nia! Thanks

    • Nia Shanks

      Maria, you may want to take a closer look at your training and nutrition. For example, are you eating enough protein and other whole, natural foods? A lot of women only eat about 30grams of protein per day, and went they bump it up to at least .8 – 1 grams per pound, they see a big difference.

      Also, and this is my opinion, put more focus on your strength training and less on running.

  • Qwert

    Just curious what article of Jason Ferruggia’s can I find that before and after?

  • Janel

    This article could not have come at a better time! For the longest time I was your typical brainwashed gal who did eons of cardio, lightweight “toning” exercises, and crappy restrictive-type diets to lose weight and slim down.  I stumbled on your site 6 months ago, ditched the cardio for weight training and used the 16/8 fasting protocol, and weighed myself weekly to track progress…and I am now lighter, leaner, stronger, and more energetic than I have ever been.  You would *think* that this would be enough, but just as you said, people have this thing about an “ideal weight”, and I too have fallen prey to that mindset.  I wanted to beat that current number on the scale and started weighing myself everyday. Despite people commenting on how good/lean I look, when that number on the scale went down, I was on cloud nine and when it went up, I wanted to retreat into a hole.  I was letting a number dictate my mood and mental health, and it was tiring. Deep down I knew it wasn’t healthy, but I just couldn’t stop.  After reading this article, I am so glad that I am not the only one feeling this way and I now can just move forward from this and ditch the scale.  Nia thank you so much for your knowledge and inspiration.

    • Nia Shanks

      Thank you for commenting, Janel. Yes, I’ve been there too and it’s very frustrating. Please let me know how the challenge works for you.

      And congrats on your success!

  • Sara Ann Mason

     I really loved this post and think it’s a great idea. In fact I don’t weigh myself daily and usually end up doing so once or twice a year, when I go to the doctor. 
    My one objection to using how I look/feel is that I often don’t feel like I look that great. If I have to miss a workout or if I have an extra glass of wine in the evening, it changes the way I see myself.  Getting over disordered eating means not letting that stop you from living your life; it doesn’t mean those things stop. If that gets serious enough, I like having some kind of measurement that exists outside of my biased way of seeing things.

    • Nia Shanks

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Stacy

    I’m a regular user of My Fitness Pal. I’ve recently had a “come to Jesus” with my scale.  Here a post I created YESTERDAY (amazingly, prior to reading this article):

    …..I’ve lived and breathed by the scale since I was 9. I’m turning 33 one month from today. Nearly a quarter of a century I’ve been obsessed about the scale. Today, July 2nd, I am walking away from the scale. I will not continue to rate my worth based on what the numbers on the scale say. I will eat healthly, exercise appropriately, judge my weight by how I feel in my clothing, how I look in the mirror. I feel pretty good about my little come to Jesus moment with the scale. …….

    Thank you for an amazing article!!!

    • Nia Shanks

      Awesome! Keep me updated!

    • Amy Andersson

      Hahahaha…. I laughed my arse off at the “come to jesus” bit… totally get what you mean :) Hows the journey going?

  • Mike

    Could we print this off and put it on the notice board in our gym??

  • bookyeti

    Exactly my mindset on things… but couldn’t have put it better than you have in this article. I’m sharing this on my blog asap.

  • Mindi

    I also weigh  myself daily – I am one that it “helps keep me on track with my eating”, but all it does is stress me out.  Do you find that when you don’t weigh yourself, you mentally watch and be more careful about nutrition?  I’m going to accept your challenge – as of today, my scale is down in the basement.

    • Nia Shanks

      I just focus on the “new scale” items mentioned above; especially the first four. 

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  • Allie

    Fantastic post.  So much agree – great for people to be reminded and told this if they didn’t already know!!

  • Gordon Wayne Watts

    While others have probably said many of the same things as you, this is a good point, and bears repeating: How healthy you are, *and* how you look AND feel are NOT necessarily “bad” if you happen to be a little heavier (or lighter) than average for your height.

    As a guy, I am qualified to say that health (physical, mental, and psychological) are more important in appearance than being a certain weight — In plain English, if a woman is healthy, it does not matter much (if at all) if she’s a little heavy or light in bodyweight.

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  • Bekah Donovan

    I confess. I weighed myself this morning and the fact the number had gone up 1lb from yesterday put me in a bad mood. Quitting the scales will be worse than it was for me to quit smoking! But it will be done. Changing my mindset now that I’m weight training is really difficult. I have good days and bad days, as we all do. Love this article. I am going to get rid of the scales right now! x

    • Nia Shanks

      Awesome, Bekah. Focus on your ACTIONS and you’ll do well.

  • Motherfitness

    Nia, I can share a similar experience. When I went through my weight loss transformation I weighed 117 lbs. the first time I stepped on stage. Today I weigh 133. If I went solely by what he scale said, I would be freaking out right now. That’s 16 lbs. of weight I gained back after working so hard to take it off. Or is it????

    I would venture to guess my BF percentage is only 2-3 percent higher now than it was 3 years ago when I started and was a tiny 117. The scale is something very hard to give up, but if you train to grow stronger, perform better, and learn new ways of lifting, then suddenly the scale becomes obsolete. 

    Thanks so much for writing this. I hope many ladies take you up on that challenge. 


    • Nia Shanks

      Thank you, Kellie!

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  • Sophie Clayton

    i’m in… i just told my boyfriend to hide the scales so i can’t find them. 

    even though i understand, rationally, that if i gain weight but my clothes still feel the same, it’s a good thing, i get irrationally fixated on the numbers. here’s to freedom from the scale (and more squats)!

    • Nia Shanks

      Awesome! Do Work!

    • Hannah

      I did that just last night! I tried to get my scale weigh in down to once a week, but it truly does effect my mood. I can literally have seen myself in a mirror, felt pleased, then weighed myself and felt like a failure. i know if I hide them I will just re-find them so I gave them to my boyfriend. Fingers crossed I don’t freak out too much by not being able to check…

  • Krista

    People should be looking at the tape measure more and the scale less.  That’s where you see results.

  • Selly

    I decided to stop weighing myself in May 2012. I have recently started lifting heavy and knew the number on the scale would go up. Last week I went to the Dr. and asked them not to tell me my weight. Well they didn’t but they did tell me my body fat %. That in itself threw me for a loop. I beat myself up and felt “gross” all day and even through the rest of the week, questioning if I would rather be skinny or fit. All because of numbers!! I toyed with the idea of buying diet pills. I felt regression kicking in, I struggled with an eating disorder for many years. What ever it took to loose weight (pills, anorexia, bulima, laxatives). The thoughts resurface on occasion. I am frustrated that I am not as small as I was last summer but I was going through a difficult time and am much healthier and happier now.

    Nia, your blogs are so helpful and healing for me. Thank you!

    • Nia Shanks

      I’m thankful to have helped you to some extent, Selly. Weight and body fat % can definitely play mind games.

      I wish you the best with your continued success and journey.

  • Rhiarti

    Fabulous article, and… wow! Even having mellowed considerably about the whole weighing/counting thing, five days in and I can practically feel the nervous twitch forming! Going the month without weighing, make no mistake, but really interesting to realise how habitual it gets.

    • Nia Shanks

      Keep me updated!

      • Rhiarti

        My reply got a bit long, so made it into a separate blog post! The upshot after one month was I gained 3lbs… which theoretically should have put me off entirely, but actually feels like a really positive thing: I look more nourished, made some long-sought breakthroughs on my lats and traps training, and by the end of the month was definitely starting to settle down into a healthier, more natural way of eating (and assessing my weight). Overall, pretty happy!

  • Marisa Falbo

    I’ve “trained” myself to get on the scale only once a week.  And that is an huge accomplishment considering I used to get on the scale every 2 days.  After reading your blog previously, I decided to take your challenge and I haven’t been on the scale since 6/25.  Freaking a bit, but I recently bought a skirt a size smaller, so I’m feeling good about that.  I actually hate the way we are brainwashed into thinking that we have to be a certain size or weight.  I was “watching” an infomercial when doing cardio the other morning and was incensed at how for every woman they showed lost weight, they had to put both pounds and sizes lost.  For every man that showed that lost weight (and the ratio was about 3 women to 1 man), they just showed pounds lost.  We are so programmed to believe in these numbers that are put in front of us, that even the most intelligent woman loses confidence in herself because someone said she is overweight.  I’ve lost over 60 pounds, am healthier than ever before, but still feel it isn’t enough because the chart says so. 

    Keep up the great work, Nia.  I love your blog and follow GSS on facebook.  Thanks!

    • Nia Shanks

      Congrats on your success! I knowledge staying off the scale can be daunting, but just focus on your clothes, like you’re already doing. Keep me updated!

  • Diana Davis

    I’ve utterly stopped weighing myself.  I let my RD do it once or twice a month.  I have a scale in my bathroom, there is one in the gym weight room, and one in the gym locker room, and somethings I have to really work hard to keep myself off of those things.  Of course, I’m in a but of a hormonal mess, so I am losing NO bodyfat and my pants never seem looser.  I hate the mirror, too.  But I AM super strong, because I kick ass in the gym 6 days a week.  Still, I am trying to figure out how to fix my hormones so I can LOOK like a person who kicks ass in the gym 6 days a week.

    • Nia Shanks

      Thank you for sharing. I hope you get the hormone situation under control.

  • starfaerie82

    I’m a newbie triathlete…. I weigh 228 or so pounds. I do check my home scale every so often, but the one I trust most is the one my trainer weighs me on every two months for my fitness assessment check-in. By weight and BMI I’m morbidly obese…. But by body fat analysis I am at 35% body fat which is just 2% more than the high end of ideal for a female my age. I like that better.

  • Heatlw

    I threw mine away 10 yrs ago !

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  • Leah

    Wow, your story about the swimmer really hit home for me.  I swam at a different university (one that competes against Louisville!) and for some reason, our head coach thought it was helpful and appropriate to track our body fat using a skinfold test every month.  Needless to say, this did more harm than good, especially for the girls’ team, who had to do extra cardio if we measured in over 18%.  It was dumb for lots of reasons, not least of which is that it actually benefits swimmers to carry around 18-20% body fat, because fat floats and helps us swim faster!  I was/am one of those people who can maintain a mid-teens body fat without “dieting,” but the emphasis placed on body fat checks made me neurotic and obsessed with dropping the number to the low teens, which led to me also stepping on the scale daily…all of which led to general unhealthiness and misery.  Halfway through junior year I quit swimming and went to study abroad on a small island where I did not have access to a scale.  True story.  It was scary at first, and I did gain some weight, but now I have been scale-free for about a year : )
    Thanks for the great information!

    • Nia Shanks

      Did you beat my alma mater?    ;)

      Yeah, that’s definitely crazy because I’ve heard the same thing, that a certain level of body fat is an advantage to swimmers.

      Glad you’ve stepped away from the scale. Thanks for sharing!

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  • JennInAustin

    I’m very  inspired. Thank you!

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  • Yvonne

    I am morbidly obese and have lost 87 pounds as of today.  I don’t care what my weight is, I need to be healthier and, as much as I weigh, it’s obvious that I will lose weight in the process of becoming fit.  I like to track by waist and hip measurements and by capability.  I’ve also gone down 8 clothing sizes.  I stepped on the scale today because I was feeling bloated and was curious to see how much feeling bloated changed my weight.  I usually only weigh myself because when I talk to people about weight loss, they can be mildly impressed by anything else, but the question is always, but how much weight have you lost?  

  • Susanewebb

    What a great article!  i ve given up looking at the scales cos I get depressed if i see no change.  I do a lot of excercise and try to eat well…I feel good and look good. Yeah!!

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  • Gjsarah

    i like the phrase:  ”abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen.”  i know a few nutritionists who mostly counsel women with disordered eating.  they subscribe to the intuitive eating school of thought and encourage their clients to throw the scale away.

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  • RanaCjp

    Powerful read! You read me like a book and I stand corrected and even more motivated by what my obvious results (they are obvious to me now) are to date! I moving forward, Yay!

  • Chiara Pasquini

    I always thought I wasn’t obsessed by the scale: I only used it once per week and always valued other things more (like the fact that I don’t need beta blockers any more, since running lowered my heart rate to a healthy level). I decided to skip the weekly weight checks for one month before reading this article, but what shocked me the most is that I am indeed slightly obsessed by the scale: I worry that if I don’t check my weight, it’s somehow going to go up, even if I didn’t change my life style at all. It’s a good thing I realised this before it was too late to get rid of my scale obsession. Next step will be avoiding counting calories alltogether.

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  • Laurel

    i have been attending zumba classes for nearly 2 months and i jog once awhile and do simple exercises at home such as squats,crunches etc. I change my routine from time to time because i love variety & I absouloutely hate the idea of a strict routine and diet. I havent touched rice for two months too.In this amount of time i hadn’t bother to set eyes on the scale because i was feeling great, i fit clothes, people told me i lost weight & even assumed that i lost around 6-8kg’s! but lo & behold, the day came when i HAD (more like tempted) to check the scales when i was at this hospital and there were scale machines all around me, i got the shock of my life to discover that my weight remained the same as before i started working out! i was still 75kg’s. I was so confused and devastated after that. Its weird.I felt like my efforts all came crushing down to this, like as if i wasted all that time working my butt off. I HAD to search for answers, i wasnt going to give up & just be depressed so i logged onto this website and WHOA. it makes a whole difference on my perspective of things. I guess i’ve gained more muscle mass over the months. & I am so thankful for the knowledge i’ve gained over after getting reassurance fro this site.Indeed, we woman focus too much on weight we’ve lost (numbers) but never on the fact of how we’re feeling and how leaner we look. So today onwards I will ditch the scales. It will just bring you down. So yeah, back on my feet, i will workout more !!! NOTHING WILL STOP ME:) & definitely not some stupid numbers on a scale :P

    • Nia Shanks

      Awesome, Laurel! Thank you for sharing.

    • kate

      OMG same with me!!!!!!!!! been on diet for3 months,exercising,eating super clean and OMG, Been weighting myself once a day and have lost 5 freakin pounds??????my husband told me I look thin, my clothes feel better and people say I got skinny!!and I am like only 5 lb????? Been this way for over a month, the scale wont budge! from now on my skinny jeans will be my indicator!

  • rrhb5

    I have not been able to run because I had a stress fracture in the beginning of the year. Then I ran too much,too fast. too soon and have had plantar fasciatis for a really long time. I am not as thin as I was when I ran everyday. I have been trying to get into weight lifting because it is not hard on my feet. And I hate machines and can’t run. I stopped stepping on the scale mostly because of this. My body has changed now that I am trying to really get into weight lifting. And even though I am not as small from when I was running I use the mirror as my “scale”. I am not totally unhappy with what I see. It is different but I hope to run again sometime like I used to. But this has helped me accept my body and not worry so much I am a lot happier. I used to weigh myself a lot and get upset and I tracked my body fat. I highly suggest the new scales. I also keep track of my measurements.

    How often do you recommend taking your measurements? Monthly? Weekly?,

    • Nia Shanks

      I would take measurements monthly. Make sure it’s around the same time under same circumstances.

      • rrhb5

        ok, thank you!

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  • Blue67


    I too have been working out everyday and have noticed a tremendous drop in my dress size and my body is starting to tone itself out, BUT, the scale says the same thing, every week! I feel completely relaxed after a workout, and have changed my diet and cant wait to bump into my ex boyfriend to show him what he missed out on!! Thanks for the GREAT advice and sharing the secrets for our bodies that we would have to pay someone for! You have given me the extra PEP in my step to move forward with my workouts! THANKS A MILLION!!

  • Maya

    Awesome article! I’ve gone down 2 jean sizes in the last 2 months and have only dropped about 5 pounds on the scale. This is why I never weight myself and never will :)

  • Trisch


    When I finally got my inches to start coming off, the scales did not keep up. I was discouraged for awhile until I realized that they were stealing my joy. So no more weighing! I now weigh occasionally but it’s more to prove my point–that I weigh more than I did at this size when I was younger but am in better shape. I can laugh at the scales now! In fact, I keep threatening to have buttons made up that say, “Weight Doesn’t Matter!”



  • adsfasdfasd

    when I weigh myself often, my weight never changes. up or down. why is that?!! how is it even possible? I don’t understand this. I don’t freak out, but I’m trying to lose few pounds only, I checked weight after months, and I found that I’m slimmer, but then started checking almost daily, and weight never changes. even though I started doing more exercises and more cardio

  • KateC36

    I JUST put the scale away a few days ago. I just quit working for weight watchers recently and was also a member for the past 5 years. I lost 51lbs and gained back 26lbs because of medication. Let me tell you that in order to work for ww you HAVE to be within your bmi, OR you can be fired! Well, this has lead me to so much stress and anxiety this past year that I have NOT been able to lose a single OUNCE! The thought of HAVING to lose weight or I could lose my job has been in the fore front of my head that it’s affected my whole life this year. It’s been the leading factor in EVERYTHING I do…I have a 7 year old daughter that asks her daddy why mommy thinks she’s fat – how sad does that make me!? Before this year, I had never worked out a day in my life…since January, I started on the treadmill and now can run 10km. Recently, I have also started HIIT for 25 minutes in total…15 seconds fast, 45 seconds slow…I SHOULD be proud of this, BUT because of my life being wrapped around the scale and bmi for the past 5 years I’m miserable. My husband has been telling me for the past couple of years that I’m OBSESSED with losing weight and I didn’t believe him, until this past year when I purchased not one, but TWO different scales that, until a couple of days ago, would weigh on MULTIPLE times/day. I have decided to STOP tracking points, calories and everything else because I KNOW how to eat properly! I am going to exercise regularly and keep eating the way I have been for years and let THAT be my guide. I truly appreciate having found this article, and I’ve shared the link to it with my weight watchers group on facebook because I KNOW there are tons of members that are the exact same as me…and why wouldn’t they be, when the program ONLY deals with what the scale says and what your bmi is – and gender has nothing to do with it…so a man and woman at the same height should weigh the same?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? I have let the scale run my life for long enough!! Sorry for rambling!!

  • Fit for Life

    I needed this today. I have lost 25 pounds since April and have plateaued and was getting upset. I still workout 5 to 7 days a week and am seeing how much stronger I’m getting. I was however disappointed because the scale wasn’t budging anymore. Plus I’m getting tired of the food insanity. It’s summer and I’m enjoying eating the good summer food. So at least I’m not gaining weight. Thanks for the great read.

  • Jeanine

    I love this article, I really needed to read this, thank you!!!!!

  • rachel

    Love this post

  • Rose

    Great post….Wish my husband was of that school of thought, he is a real pain wanting me to stay a certain weight! Very stressful to me…so I do not disclose my weight if I can help it ever…I too think it is the fit of your clothing so forth that really counts.

  • Dave

    “Muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat it’s just more dense.” So… yeah it does!

    It’s like the tonne of bricks and tonne of feathers riddle, yes an equal metric weight of both weighs the same, but if you get the same mass of bricks and feathers then the bricks will weigh more. So yeah, it’s perfectly fine to say muscle weighs more than fat because only an idiot will assume 1kg of muscle weighs more than 1kg of fat.

  • S

    Such a brilliant article, just what i needed to hear. I started a similar excercise about 5 months ago… I put the scale away, took some measurements, started eating healthy and started running, longer harder and getting about 40 mins to an hour of good workout almost 5 days a week. Today, 5 months hence, I feel great, I have ample energy to run and train for longer periods at ease, running uphill which was terribly difficult in the beginning has become a joy. While throughout my experiment, i dropped almost 3-4 inches around all areas, and a couple of Kgs in between, today at the doc’s when i had to stand on a scale, I realised I was right at the no I had started. I have to say the BMI bothered me, and so did the number on the scale. But I have never felt or looked better, and non of the reduced measurements have changed to indicate i put the weight back on, so it got me thinking that, surely this has to be muscle mass,,,, my thighs, stomach and waistline, all have toned so beautifully.. and no matter what the number.. I love my body, and the way I feel. Your article beautifully explains that… this is a stuggle for alot of women.. and i am sure they, like myself will find comfort in knowing that the number doesnt matter, its how you feel and look that does.

  • Marissa Featherman

    Losing the scale part is pretty easy for me… Problem lies where I feel as though I look no different. And in fact when people take pictures of me I think I keep looking worse :-( ugh.

  • navy1662

    This is a great post , i was in the military from 2002-2006 got out in great shape, six pack and all. Unfortunately i battled some depression and anxiety issues and gained a lot of weight. but about 2 months ago i told myself enough is enough Ive only lost about 4 pounds on the scale but have already gone down 3 notches on my belt around my waist. I feel great i have the energy to get up in the morning and workout. DO NOT FOCUS ON THE SCALE, USE EXACTLY WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THIS ARTICLE AS YOUR SCALE. Its what i used before i even read this article and was looking for something that i could show a friend because they were about to jump off a bridge about their progress. I’m glad i found this so she knows I’m not crazy. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to getting in shape, set a long term goal and stick to your plan to change your life. And most importantly lift weights, limit your cardio to 2-3 sessions per week so you give your muscles time to repair themselves and join you in the war agains fat !!!!

  • Nikki

    I can’t even begin to tell you how encouraging this article is!! I’ve been weight training with a coach for 3 months now and I feel great…Stronger…empowered. But as soon as I get on the scale I feel defeated….I’m chucking it ;) I’m going for a LOOK, not a number now!!