Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why is the scale so important to us?

I was reading a SparkPeople article this morning about measuring your progress without a scale. It got me wondering: why is the scale so important to us anyway?

The scale shows one number at one moment in time. It can not measure your efforts.

The scale goes up when our muscles are sore or when we gain muscle. All signs that we are working hard towards our goals.

The scale goes up when we've had too much sodium or had water to drink. Is that really a weight gain?

The scale goes up when we've been working outside in the hot sun during the summer. Does this mean I've really gained weight?!

The scale goes up because of our hormones.

The scale goes down when we've been ill or had stomach issues. Does that mean I've lost weight?

The scale goes up in the evenings after a full day of eating and drinking. Is this a weight gain?

The scale may remain the same but my clothes fit better. Am I making progress?

The scale always seems to go up after I start a new exercise routine. Should I feel discouraged and quit? Does that mean it's not working?

Do we carry a scale around with us all of the time to show the number to people or do they notice I've lost weight without the number? Do I need to impress people with a number? Has a guy ever looked at a girl and thought, "Wow! I bet she only weighs 120 pounds!" Or said, "Hey, baby. How much do you weigh?" Never.

I think we get hung up on numbers because it's a concrete way to measure our struggles and victories. It's easier to post "I lost 100 pounds!" than it is to say "I look fabulous and my clothes fit so much better." It's measurable.

There are no tickers to add to our signatures for clothes shrinking or muscles becoming toned. We only have numbers. But isn't our main goal to look better and feel better in our own skin? Don't we really just want to look good? Don't we really want better health? It's difficult to measure that. There's no brag button for biceps starting to emerge. There's no weight loss program that shows its success without using numbers: "I lost 45 pounds on _____ and I feel great!"

We get hung up on numbers. We let it dictate how we feel about our efforts.

My Valentine's Day gift to myself is to ditch the scale for the rest of the month. I will judge my success by my efforts and how my clothes fit and how I feel.

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!


  1. Oh Kelly, I love you. This is the world's best post, ever. You nailed it!

  2. How very true!! Something i need to work on is not letting the scale determine my day/week/month.

  3. This is encouraging to me! Good luck on ditching that scale for a month! It should be interesting to see the results! I'm trying not to depend on the scale, but to measure my progress on how I feel. Love this post!

  4. I not shy so I asked for the digits....


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