It’s no secret that I think most people could benefit from staying off the scale. In fact, I had a conversation about this recently.
“Hey, Nia. I was just wondering, how much do you weigh?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t weighed myself in over a year. In fact, the only time I know my scale weight is when I get my yearly physical.”
“Are you serious? Well how do you keep track of things and know if you’re putting on fat?”
“Well, first of all, I don’t care how much I weigh — numbers don’t define me. The number on the scale means nothing to me. What matters is that I like how I look, how I feel, how I perform, that my quality of life is high, and that I’ve established sustainable lifestyle habits.”
It took me a few years to learn that fact, but I’m exceedingly grateful I did, and it’s time for you to as well.
When you put things into context and focus on what really matters, then you realize the scale is practically meaningless. (The obvious exception is for people who compete in sports that have weight classes such as wrestling, powerlifting, etc).
But, for the average person who just wants to look and feel great in addition to improve their overall health, the scale is not a necessary tool. In fact, it can cause more harm than good.
We’ve covered this before in a previous article — Stop Weighing on the Scale and What to do Instead — but let’s dive a little deeper.
There was a time when I obsessed over the number on the scale; I weighed myself every single day. If the number was more than I wanted or expected, then my entire day was ruined.
Thankfully I realized this was ridiculous. Why did I care so much about a number that didn’t accurately reflect what was really going on with my body?
So I stopped my daily weigh-ins and cut back to once a week or every two weeks.
But ya know what — I didn’t feel free from that number until I put the scale away for good. A couple years ago I experimented with staying off the scale for several months. Well, those several months turned into a year because I finally realized that number was meaningless.
Because I was focusing on the things that truly mattered, I didn’t need to know that number.
And that brings us to why you should:
Stay off the scale and focus on the things that truly matter:
The number on the scale does not determine your self-worth, and it’s a poor indicator of your success and body composition. There are a few markers you should track that are motivating and do reveal what’s really going on.
- How your clothes fit — let’s say your goal is to maintain your current physique: if you’re not busting out of your favorite pair of jeans, then you haven’t gained body fat. Likewise for someone who is tracking fat loss, they know they’re losing fat if their pants fit looser.
- How you feel — as long as you have high energy and feel great most days, then you know things are going well.
- How you perform — as long as you’re getting stronger and making steady progress with your workouts, then you know you’re doing things correctly. Likewise, as long as you have the ability to do other physical activities you enjoy, then you’re on the right path.
- Quality of life — building and maintaining the body you want should enhance your life, and not dominate it. As long as you’re following simple, stress-free, sustainable habits you can follow long-term, then you know things are going very well.
That last point is particuarly important.
You shouldn’t stress over food and what to eat. You’re life should not revolve around a diet.
Never, at any point, should you feel overwhelmed from your fitness regimen.
Now I know this sounds completely opposite of what some people preach, but it’s true. You don’t need a “hardcore” attitude, and you definitely shouldn’t suffer and be miserable from your workouts or eating habits.
Eating should be simple and your workouts should be fun, at least most of the time.
So that’s brings us to my challenge to you — get off the scale for good.
Focus instead on the things that truly matter, like the four topics discussed above: how your clothes fit, your energy levels, how you perform, and your quality of life. Do this for at least two months and I’m willing to bet you’ll be ecstatic with the results. You’ll probably even put the scale away for good.
And if you want more guidance on how to work out and eat well, simply, then check out the 6 (Sane and Simple) Rules to Lift Like a Girl and Get Results.