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Why You Should Throw Away Your Scale

Many of my AnneTheRD clients are surprised to find that I don’t own a scale. The last time I had consistent access to a scale was 10 years ago, when I was living at home briefly after college. I’ve told this to a number of my nutrition counseling clients lately who I’ve been encouraging to ditch their scales, and they are shocked. Not only shocked that I don’t have one, but shocked that, in the end, it hasn’t made any difference in my weight. But the area in which it has made a big difference? My happiness and self worth.

I’m certainly not a traditional dietitian – I don’t give my clients rigid meal plans, I encourage them to stop tracking their food/calorie counting if they are when they come to me, and, most importantly, I encourage them to ditch their scales, no matter if they are working on weight loss, maintenance, or gain.

For many of my clients and people in general, I find that the scale has become a sort of evaluator of self worth. Each morning, they step on the scale and let it tell them how their day should go. If the number is low or where they want it to be, they feel happy. In control. Like the day will be a good one. But when the number is higher than they’d like (which, it’s worth mentioning, isn’t even accurate/indicative of true gain or loss – weight fluctuates all the time for a lot of reasons!), suddenly that number becomes something else entirely. It now represents their failure. They are out of control. Worthless. Not in charge of their own lives. They now feel uncomfortable in their own skin, even if a few minutes earlier they were feeling strong and confident. Negative self talk ramps up. A good day is now a bad one, and that sentiment carries them through the day. Maybe their normal, healthy breakfast is now no longer okay because of that number, so they decide to cut back, even though they’re still hungry. Maybe that leads to overdoing it later, guiltily. Maybe this perceived failure translates into being unable to cope with stress at work. Maybe it means that something that normally wouldn’t be a big deal does become a big one.

scaleimage source

I work with my clients using the Intuitive Eating approach, and a big part of this is encouraging them to break up with the scale. No matter how hard one works on being intuitive or mindful around food, or how much they work on self care and stress relief and positive self talk, if they are letting a number rule their lives, they will ever make progress. Recently, I’ve had success convincing a few of my clients to trash their scales. Not just hiding them upstairs or in another room – but truly getting rid of them. A few days later, they have emailed me, shocked. “I had no idea how much of my self worth was tied to that number,” they say. Or, “I’ve been able to focus on how I really actually feel rather than what a number tells me I should feel.” Or, “Intuitive eating and positive self talk have become much easier.”

I think a lot of my clients expect that if they ditch their scale, they will all of a sudden gain 20 pounds and not realize it. Or that they will be totally out of control. But actually, it’s the opposite. Since when do we need a machine to tell us if we’re where we want to be? If we feel strong and healthy? If we can kick butt at our workouts? If we’re a good friend, or doing well at our jobs, or being a good spouse/parent/whatever? You don’t need a scale to tell you any of that. When I broke up with the scale 10 years ago, guess what? Nothing happened. I didn’t suddenly lose weight, or gain weight. But I did stop worrying about it. Instead, I was able to more clearly focus on how strong my body was and how it was powering me through some awesome workouts, what foods made me feel good, and so many other things that are way more important than a number on a scale.

feet on scaleimage source / original source

Don’t let a number tell you if you’re worth it, friends. And even if you aren’t ready to ditch the scale for yourself, if you have children, do it for them. No matter how much positive body image talk you share with them, they will pick up on your actions. How long will it be until they start tying that number on the scale to their self worth, too? And how can you tell them not to if you’re doing it yourself?

What are your thoughts on the scale? Anyone want to join me in ditching it? And if you already have, have you found it’s made a positive impact?

Comments

  1. 1

    Thanks for this post, it’s exactly what I needed to here!

  2. 2

    I completely agree. I don’t own a scale either. Never have.

  3. 3
    Katie Coleman says:

    Anne, I LOVE this post! 18 months ago, I quit smoking, got off the couch and started exercising, and watching the here’s and there’s of my food intake. I’ve ran 6 half-marathons, countless smaller runs, and I’m training for my first full marathon in the fall. And guess what?? I haven’t lost a pound. Not a single one. But I feel good about myself and that’s something the stupid scale never let me do.

    • 4

      Exactly. Who cares if the scale hasn’t changed – it sounds like you’re so much healthier and happier, and that’s all that really matters. Good for you!

  4. 5

    I still have a scale but I really haven’t stepped on it in months (My husband uses it). I have ditched it because I do not go by that number anymore. I go by how my clothes fit or how I feel. I am in a few weddings this summer and last fall when I was ordering the dresses, I ordered a size 12 in one dress and a size 6 in another. At that moment, I said I am done with numbers. They do not define my happiness. Ever since then, my confidence has definitively grown. I feel fit and strong, eat pretty healthy (I have a sweet tooth), and my clothes fit or are a bit loose. I do not know what I weigh right now and I am just fine with that.

  5. 7

    I agree completely. I rarely weigh myself, and when I do, I am more interested in the body-fat indicator vs skeletal muscle. As an athlete, I don’t need the scale to judge my level of fitness. That said, there is one time when I would use the scale as a tool, and that’s to gauge water needs during long-run training.

  6. 8

    I’ve lost some weight lately but I have no clue what the number is.. and honestly, it doesn’t matter to me. When people ask, “Have you lost weight?” They seem to pause when I say, “I think so.. I don’t know” It’s like they want to know the number.

    I’ll save the number for my annual doctor’s visit, and even then.. I’m not announcing the “total loss”. For me it’s about feeling good in my body and moving towards eating with the intention.

  7. 9

    Wow, thanks for this post. I just recently ran a half-marathon for the first time. I trained super-hard, stuck to every workout, learned Chi Running to get rid of the shin splints that had plagued me for years, etc. It was a huge accomplishment for me. But even though I was thrilled at finishing my race, my happiness was tempered by my knowledge that I hadn’t lost a single stinking pound with all that training. I know in my mind that’s silly, that I should be thrilled that my body is strong and healthy enough to cover 13.1 miles, but that number on the scale messes with my head, just like you said. Thank you again for this post!

    • 10

      You are strong and your body can do amazing things! Remember that – and ditch that scale! Congratulations on your 1st half marathon – such an accomplishment! :)

  8. 11

    It all sounds great in theory, and I am sure that throwing away the scale is helpful for some people. I personally can’t do it for a couple of reasons.
    -I have to watch my weight very closely because of PCOS, which not facilitates rapid weight gain, but also makes it important that I avoid gaining weight. If I wind up much heavier than I am right now, I am putting myself at a huge risk for diabetes and women-specific cancers down the road, which makes the tendency to put on weight that much more dangerous.
    -Similar to what Sandy said above, I need to monitor my before and after training weight to ensure I’m hydrating properly for long workouts. It’s one thing if you are doing 1-2 hour training sessions, it’s another if you regularly train 5-7 hours at a time and are preparing for a day-long race. Understanding your hydration and other nutrition needs for different temperatures and conditions is vital to finishing one of those races in good shape.
    So I suppose I favor folks doing what works for them, but don’t like the blanket “get rid of the scale” suggestion. Some people really do need to watch their weight closely for medical, or other, reasons.

    • 12

      Yes, Victoria! I agree. I think it’s a lot easier for people who have mastered the healthy lifestyle as well to make this statement. Those of us who struggle with weight issues, maybe not so much.

    • 13

      Thank you for sharing this, Victoria! You’re right — it’s so important to know what works best for you and to stick with it, and I absolutely agree that for specific medical reasons and endurance training scales can certainly be a useful, even vital, tool.

  9. 14

    Yes yes yes! I love this and agree 100%! Thank you for this!

  10. 15

    I haven’t weighed myself in over a year and I feel amazing!! I’ve also stopped obsessing over which workouts burn the most calories and which foods are “healthiest” and started listening to my body. It’s SO freeing to just focus on what foods and workouts make you feel your best. Thanks for this!

  11. 16

    Yes!!! I do the same with my clients (and talk about it on my blog all the time). I recently had a client ditch the scale and use more intuitive eating – and she did a weight at the doctor’s office and found that she had lost weight. Totally made her want to stick with intuitive eating. There is so much more to health than weight. Thanks Anne :)

    • 17

      I’ve been loving your blog – wonderful to hear such positivity and great messaging on self-care/being mindful from a fellow RD!

  12. 18

    I am right there with you on ditching the scale! I used to weigh myself every day, and like you said, it would determine my mood. Last year I stopped weighing myself, and I feel stronger than ever!

  13. 19

    I never owned a scale either until my husband and started living together before getting married. I went through a phase where I would weigh myself everyday and honestly, I would cringe if my weight was 2 or 3 pounds more than earlier that week. I think the “weight gain” bothered me since I was planning my wedding at the time. We still have the scale but I don’t use it anymore. I exercise regularly and generally eat pretty healthy so I know I’m taking good care of my body. I don’t need a scale to tell me how I should feel. This is an awesome post! :)

  14. 20

    Love this post! I admittedly have 3 scales in my bathroom (you know, I needed a 3rd one in case the first two were wrong clearly). I only weigh myself once a week typically, but it really affects my mood if I find that I’m slightly higher than I would like. I’ve changed weekend plans with friends because the number was too high and I thought I should cut back and let it change meals I already had planned. I’ve always wanted to get rid of them, but have a fear I’ll gain weight if I do. But after maintaining my weight for a majority of my adult life, I think I need to learn to be more confident in my intuition when it comes to eating!

  15. 22
    Kristen says:

    Thanks for such a great post, Anne. I’ve slowly come to this realization, but it was a tough process. I ran my second half marathon this spring, and I also started strength training during the training process. I was working out six days a week, eating the healthiest I ever have, but I gained about 5 pounds! I’m petite and my weight rarely fluctuates, so I was so upset and confused. I’m still not sure why I gained weight, but I realized that number was making me really unhappy – even though I set a huge PR in my race, have tons of energy all the time, and friends and family have commented that I looked more toned. I was a lot happier once I put my focus on feeling strong, healthy, and happy rather than the number on the scale.

  16. 24

    Woohoo! Love this post. Scales suck- I still have mine and admittedly weigh myself about once a week just to check on things, but I know that my weight fluctuates a lot and if I’m up a few pounds or down a few pounds it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a number and it doesn’t define who I am or how I am doing health-wise; only I can be the judge of that.

  17. 25

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I never weigh myself except for when I have a doctor’s appointment, and I know that it is one of the things that keeps me happy and positive when it comes to my body image. As a teenage girl, it can be easy to get swept up in the numbers, but I just tell myself that the scale doesn’t know how strong I feel when I run a race or how many pushups I can do. My healthy skin, muscles, and energy are what tell me that I am doing everything I need to be!

    • 26

      Good for you for not getting swept up in the scale numbers, especially as a teenager. Keep up the strong healthy living!

  18. 27

    I don’t own a scale and use my doctor appointments to get the number. Most recently I was weighed before getting my cortisone shot and saw my weight is up, but I’m also trying to add muscle. I had to add a protein supplement on top of my daily food in order for that to happen and I’m not freaking out about that.

  19. 28

    I think it’s great you tell your clients to ditch the scale, and I can see why doing do would improve their health and well-being. I haven’t owned a scale since I lived at home with my parents (about 9 years ago) and I love not worrying about a number. Besides, my weight has always fluctuated.
    I will say, though, now that I’m pregnant, I have started weighing myself once a week after my barre class just to make sure I’m on track and gaining what I should. I’d planned to rely solely on my doctor visits, but curiosity won out. So far, the weighing hasn’t bothered me one way or another, probably since I’m right on track for my ~30 lb gain, feel great, and haven’t had any issues brought up by my doc.

  20. 29

    Bravo!!

  21. 30

    Great entry – I have a scale, I will be throwing it away (because it’s not accurate anymore). BUT, I won’t be getting a new one. It’s amazing how 1-2 lbs gain/loss will make you feel!

  22. 31

    Anne, I think you’re great! And so smart. HOWEVER, I think it’s really easy for you to say this. You are very fit, have healthy eating down pat, and haven’t had any weight problems. I try not to let the scale rule the way I feel, but I lost over 70 lbs years ago, and the 9 months since my wedding, I’ve gained a bit of it back. The scale keeps me in check. I’ve been trying very hard to cut back on treats and exercise and the scale measures how I’m doing in that area. I do realize that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, but I feel like I’m able to monitor my weight better if I step on it once a week.

    These “Ditch your scale!” comments — It’s a great sentiment, but not practical for everybody.

    • 32

      I agree with the sentiments in the post about not letting the number affect you but I dont really think its practical unless you already have a very healthy lifestyle. I tend to slack off if I dont keep checking the weight. It keeps me motivated to exercise.

      • 33

        If you can use the scale only as a motivator and it doesn’t bring in anything negative, then do what works for you!

    • 34

      Thank you for sharing your perspective, Kristy! I’m certainly all about doing what works best for you, and if you can use the scale as a positive motivator rather than something that can affect your self worth negatively, then absolutely, stick with it!

  23. 35

    Great post! I don’t own a scale either, however, I let my clothing be the judge. If my jeans start to feel a bit snug, then I know that I need to eat a few more salads and less chocolate. This was a good topic! :)

  24. 36
    Melissa says:

    THANK YOU ANNE! I have had a love/hate relationship with my scale for so many years, despite what my trainer has been telling me I have been getting on the scale every single day. I have so many days of good eating and exercise and when that scale doesn’t budge it totally makes me crazy and think is this even worth it. After reading your article, I have made the decision to ditch my scale. I can tell in my clothes that things are going in the right direction. I don’t need to be a slave to that scale any longer.

  25. 38

    The blooming things shouldn’t exist! Agree on all counts! After years of suffering from anorexia, to bulimia, to binge eating disorder and back again, the scales having always dictated my mood and actions it’s so important to let go…I wrote a similar post a while back here if you’re bored have a read! http://peachypalate.com/2013/05/27/letting-go-of-the-scales/

  26. 40

    Great post! Many people need to read this. We don’t own a scale in our home. I’ve never kept track of a number, only pant size. However, since I am pregnant I weigh myself on occasion at the gym to make sure I’m eating enough and fueling my baby. The OBs office weighs me every 4 weeks, but other than that, nada.

  27. 41

    I know that you’re right but it’s so hard to stop thinking about that number sometimes. I only step on my scale once every few weeks, if that, but the number never makes me feel good so I don’t know why I keep doing it. I already knew before I stepped on that I’d gained a little weight since I was feeling sluggish and my pants were tight. Didn’t need a stupid box confirming it.

    I will do my best to forget it even exists and instead concentrate on how I feel instead.

  28. 42

    I really needed to hear this today! I have been feeling bad for the past two days because the scale was up 3 lbs from last week. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how or why I would have gained those pesky pounds. I eat mostly vegetarian real food and work out 5-6 days a week. It always frustrates me and puts me in a very down mood when the scale goes up even a pound. Guess its time to ditch it! Thanks for this post!

  29. 44

    I gave up the scale for a month last year and it felt SO good. Since then I go in waves of using the scale, lately I weigh myself about once a week. The thing I’m struggling most with sticking to Intuitive Eating is tracking food- do you think it’s ok to track food as long as you’re not restricting and obsessing over weight?

    • 45

      I have found in my client work that it’s really challenging to track food (esp if calories are involved) and also eat intuitively – the two approaches are so different they don’t really coexist very well.

  30. 46

    So so so true! Amazing post!

  31. 47

    Great post!
    I haven’t had a scale since I moved out of my parents’ house. It was weird at first, not that I weighed myself constantly when there was one, but just the fact that is wasn’t there if I did want to weight myself. At first, I’d weight myself at the gym once a week, but even that I don’t do anymore.
    I know approximately what I weigh and am happy with it. Of course that’s not to say that I don’t look in the mirror to see if my stomach is pudging out every once and a while, especially after a food fest or lazy week…but we can’t all be perfect. :)

  32. 48
    Jessica says:

    I love this! That number can be so misleading! I recently went to the dr for a reg ole check up and she was actually shocked when she saw the number, I wasn’t. I am proudly muscular and the scale says I weigh more than it looks like I should. So what is right, it’s about feeling great all around, not what a number dictates.

  33. 50
    Elizabeth says:

    Anne – Thanks for this post. I wish, however, that many members of the medical community would also embrace this philosophy and look at overall health and well-being, not just a number on the scale. At an annual physical a few years back my doctor noticed I had gained 2-3 lbs pounds in between check-ups and told me to watch my weight, warning that “2-3 lbs here and there adds up.” This is despite receiving a clean bill of health, being a perfectly healthy weight, eating healthfully, and being active most days of the week. It felt as if my doctor was focused more on the number on the scale than the big picture. Even so, it made me worry that I hadn’t been focused enough on my weight. We need more people like you to reinforce positive messaging on this subject!

  34. 52

    I really like this post. I threw my scale in the trash about six years ago. When I did I, like your clients, expected to gain a ton of weight. It didn’t happen. In fact, when I do go to the doctor, I find I weigh…the same. I was at a healthy weight, so that’s fine with me. My body clearly likes being where it is.

    I also love the idea about not counting calories. I used to be pretty obsessive about that, even after I ditched the scale. I haven’t counted in about 1.5 years, and it’s the same kind of thing. I was afraid to do it, but it hasn’t changed my body. It has changed my mentality. I’m much happier now.

    I really think that we’re a number-obsessed culture–age, weight, data, dollars, etc. But numbers are not who we are. When we start linking our identity and self-worth to a scale, or an income, or a number of calories consumed, it really messes with our heads and makes us less happy, less human. I’m glad you’re encouraging people to do the opposite. If you know about nutrition (as in, vegetables are healthier than chocolate shakes) and you’re connected with yourself and your body, you are NOT going to gain a bunch of weight. You may gain peace of mind.

    • 53

      So true. Good for you for moving towards a more positive outlook and ditching the scale and calorie counting for good!

  35. 54

    Like others have said, I think this is great advice…for someone who has never had a real weight problem. In my mid-20s I realized I’d spent half my life dieting, counting calories, and watching the scale, and somewhere along the way I’d completely lost touch with what actual hunger feels like and how my body feels when it’s healthy or unhealthy. I’ve gained and lost the same 20-30 pounds more times than I care to count. Since that realization, I worked hard to move myself more toward intuitive eating and as a result I’m much healthier and happier, so I’m on board with you that far.
    But I also know that my intuition doesn’t work as well when I’m stressed, so I have a few tools that help me curb the upswings – one of them is the scale. The thing is, I know that if I do a hard weight workout my weight will likely go up the next day, or if I have a big dinner out the gain that shows the next morning isn’t real. One weigh in doesn’t define my day, just like my pants suddenly feeling a little tight one day is probably bloating and not fat, but a series of weigh ins trending toward the top end of what I’ve defined as a comfortable range does mean that I need to check in with myself to see stress is throwing off my intuition.
    People who have lost weight have an easier time gaining weight, and part of that process is figuring out how to maintain a loss. For many, that requires a scale. I agree that letting the reading on the scale define your day is no way to live, but for me, letting my weight go unchecked is not part of my maintenance strategy.

    • 55

      It sounds like you have a very realistic and practical approach to the scale – good for you for using it simply as a tool for maintaining your weight vs. letting it affect you emotionally. Keep it up!

  36. 56

    I am a personal trainer and like many of your clients, mine are also surprised when I say I don’t weight myself and to stay away from the scale. I was letting that number dictate my entire day. My hubby is a very patient man, and about two months ago he took the batteries out of our scale because I was letting the number get to me too much. It’s amazing how much lighter you feel just knowing you “don’t have to weigh in.”

  37. 57

    Great post Anne! For years I was definitely WAY too connected to my scale and letting the number define how I felt about myself. A few years ago I stopped weighing myself and broke from calorie tracking completely. I did some deep soul searching and therapeutic work to break that connection, and I can proudly say that I have today! The trouble that I have experienced since getting rid of my scale is weight gain, not all at once but slowly over about three years. I am an emotional eater and after a few years of misery at work and questioning a lot of things about my life I notice I have eaten my feelings all the way into a few new pant sizes. I’m currently at the point where I would like to change some habits and lose some weight (not number dependent but energy/health improvement focused). The trouble is I am not sure how, without calorie counting and weighing myself as I did in the past. Do you have any suggestions or resources you often refer people to? I appreciate any information you can share!

  38. 59

    Thank you for this post! I used to weigh myself several times per week until about 6 weeks before my wedding in March. I was so busy that I forgot to check. After the wedding I weighed myself. As it turns out, I lost about five pounds during that time period, and my weight didn’t budge in the prior months in which I was calorie counting. Once I stopped paying attention to my weight I was able to focus on eating healthy foods and eating when I was hungry. I still have my scale, but I hardly ever weigh myself now. I am amazed at how much better I feel about myself and my renewed ability to focus on exercise and healthy food rather than a number. This post really hit home today. Yet another reason why I love your blog. Thanks again!

  39. 60

    I couldn’t agree with this more! I don’t own a scale either and always tell my friends it’s better to keep track of body fat rather than weight. The only time I weigh myself is at my gym just so I have a number to go by since I do keep track of my calories….which I guess you would tell mento to do as well ;)

  40. 61

    Great post! I used to track what I ate everyday and weigh myself. After a while, when I knew pretty much what I was eating normally, I stopped. And nothing changed! I just feel so much more relaxed. Right now I think I may be up a few lbs, so I’ll just be mindful and it will all balance out. Like someone said above, I also weigh more than the average 5’2″ person because I’m muscular, so the # on the scale always seemed wrong!! It doesn’t reflect how I look or feel.

  41. 62

    I love this! My dad was very passionate about his 3 daughters not being obsessed over the scale (he has 7 sisters and know all about it) and so we did not have a scale in the house and he told us if we did not like the way we felt or looked then he would work with us to make better food choices and exercise – but numbers do not matter. I am grateful for a father like this and think it is really important in a world with so many eating/food problems!

  42. 64

    I totally agree. I haven’t owned a scale in years and see no reason for it. The actual number fluctuates so much based on random things like hormones, times of day, etc that it doesn’t even make sense to track it. Plus muscle weighs more than fat, so since I have an athletic body I would always weigh more for my height than other people and would get surprised reactions when I told people how much I weighed. I took that to mean that I weighed too much and would make myself feel bad about it.

    I also believe in intuitive eating and it has made all the difference in the way I take care of myself and see myself. I just wrote a post on a friend’s blog the other day actually. I am totally with you on getting rid of the scale and wish more people would do so!

  43. 68
    Abby Bauer says:

    Awesome post! Thank you for identifying and debunking the connection between the scale and self worth. I think this connection is something people are afraid of acknowledging in themselves and breaking. I wish more healthy living bloggers would discuss such issues. Kudos.

  44. 69

    I grew up in house without a scale and still do not own one or ever plan on owning one. I have soooo many friends that weigh themselves daily (or more!) and will have their moods wrecked by a number. It’s just a number! I love that you encourage your clients to ditch the scale and focus on how they feel instead of what they see on a scale.

  45. 70

    Hi Anne, my name is Larissa and I am interning with Teaspoon of Spice for a few weeks while I wrap up my dietetic internship :) I couldn’t agree more with this article and I think it is inspirational to all! I don’t own a scale either and would definitely encourage others to ditch it. A number does not validate or invalidate true health and happiness :)

  46. 72

    I’m also a dietitian that doesn’t believe in calorie counting or weighing regularly. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a scale personally. When I talk to people about weight loss I encourage mindful eating and more of an 80/20 approach which is what I follow. No restrictions *(unless medically necessary) and incorporating a lot of nutriet dense foods with a few indulgences!

    Also just wanted to let you know I did a Project November workout for the first time this morning after reading about it on here months ago! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • 73

      So great to hear from a like minded dietitian – keep spreading that positive, mindful eating messaging! And so glad you liked the Nov Project!

  47. 74

    I like my scale actually. I’m fit and eat pretty healthy like you, definitely never depriving myself but I weigh myself for fun. I am pregnant now and I like seeing my baby get bigger. I think if you are not trying to lose weight and have a positive relationship with food, it’s okay but for many women, I agree with what you tell them.

  48. 75
    Heather says:

    I have always struggled with my weight. I’ll loose weight when I’m very focused and track every single calorie that I eat and how much I burn. But the problem with that is that 1) I was tied to my scale, like you said, every day was a different emotion that came along with it and 2) I was so obsessed with what I ate, that I never went out and had fun with friends. I stopped tracking and stopped weighing 8 months ago and I’m happier then I’ve been in awhile. I’m not where I want to be weight wise, but I’m happy with who I am.
    @heatherlas

  49. 77

    I rarely weigh myself anymore. Intuitive Eating was what got me off that train. When I do get on it, it annoys me how much it can either make or break my day. As I get older, and wiser, I am working toward thinking of it like the old adage, “Praise and Blame its all the same.” One pound up or down is the same thing. Don’t take it personally. There are so many influences to little fluctuations weight. I feel like the way my pants fit is a much better way to stay on track. Tweeting and pinning. Great post Anne!!!

  50. 78

    Great post, Anne! I love your approach … it’s so great to get the word out that not all dietitians are rigid meal-plan followers and scale weighers. I still have a scale, but I certainly don’t live and die by it or use it very often … I used to weigh myself every day, 10 years ago, and thank goodness that is long over!

  51. 79

    I do own an (unreliable) scale that I don’t really use, but I do use the one at work. I totally get where you’re coming from and agree with you argument, but I think sometimes that different things work for different people. I weigh myself twice a week and am fine if the number fluctuates a few pounds; that’s normal. However, when I see a trend in one direction or another, it’s usually a nice visual reinforcement of what I already know. I often know when I’ve induldged a bit much and can rein it in from there. But sometimes I need that extra motivation. It’s also nice to see that the bloat I’m feeling or if I’m having a “fat day” isn’t actually indicative of weight gain, that it is just bloat or a bad mood.
    I know I could do just fine without one and go based on how I feel and how well my clothes fit and how I feel like I look. And I probably should do that. But I am a numbers nerd (statistics major here) and like being able to track things. I’ll consider giving it up one day, but for now it doesn’t affect me mentally.
    I do think your approach could work well for many people, and perhaps even me, as it has obviously worked for you. I’ll let you know if I give it a try! In the meantime, I think it’s a great message you’re sending.

  52. 82

    I’m so with you! I’ve never had a scale of my own, but would sometimes use the one at the gym- I found it did more to just freak me out than help in any way, and it didn’t seem to reflect how I felt or looked at all, so I told myself it was a waste to even look!

  53. 83

    Yes, yes, yes! I feel like I could have written this myself. I encourage my clients to break up with calorie counting and the scale as well… and use more of an intuitive eating approach. It takes time, but it is so worth it. And that silly scale has SO MUCH POWER for so many women to make or ruin their day… it’s just not worth it.

  54. 84
    Dukebdc says:

    In a perfect world I could let go of the number. I just weighed last week after taking 10-12 weeks off from the scale. And I gained 8 pounds. On a 5’2″ frame that’s quite a bit in a brief period of time. It took me from normal to a few pounds overweight. And for me, that’s what happens every time I take a hiatus from the scale. I’m sure I’m not alone that when I’m not tracking and being mindful of my food, I eat way more than I think I do. Zoning out while eating my third handful of nuts at work, or nibbling on an extra ounce (or three) of cheese while I cook is my downfall. My three meals a day are reasonable and balanced for the most part, but when I let go of the scale and tracking, the snacking and pounds creep up. I don’t want to be satisfied by a meal or snack, I want to be FULL. And that’s why I keep the scale around.

  55. 85

    A friend forwarded this article to me ‘cos I am working on a really awesome scale that addresses most of Anne’s reasons for ditching the scale.

    Our Tiptoe scale has no display and connects to your smartphone. Its very light, small and easy to carry around so you can use it whenever and wherever. It doesn’t even look like a scale. Oh and there is more :) It doesn’t tell you your weight unless you want to know.

    You let the app know whether you’re trying to gain, lose, or maintain and how much. If your goal is too aggressive, you are prompted to set reasonable a goal. After that whenever you step on the Tiptoe personal scale a feedback button lights up on your smartphone. If you’re within your goals its a green. If you’re outside the zone, you get some positive feedback, but you never see your weight unless you want to know. Weight fluctuates during the day. So we use a moving average to provide our feedback. If you eat a big breakfast and weigh afterwards, this doesn’t really move the average much. What you with our moving average approach is a pretty good approximation of where you are headed in your weight management goals, without being bombarded by a number on the scale.

    So yes, ditch your scales and get a beautiful Tiptoe personal scale!

    • 86

      Interesting idea!

      • 87

        Thanks Anne! Didn’t know about your blog, but I do now and I like it. You just found a new reader!

        We are doing a kickstarter ( http://www.kickstarter.com ) crowdfunding campaign in a couple of weeks. If anyone is interested in backing the Tiptoe Personal Scale project or helping in anyway, email me at Agnuku mytiptoe .dot com

  56. 88
    Roadrunner says:

    This is much here with which I agree, Anne, thanks! Very, very thoughtful. Having said that, I think it is useful to have a scale around to check periodically whether you’re as light as you think you are (something that does matter, after all, in cycling, in particular). So, perhaps one can retain the scale, but not where it stares at you every morning!

  57. 89

    Ditched my scale 5 days ago. Feel a little out of control but am realizing the number on the scale is not the issue! Learning and self growth to come!

  58. 90

    After many years of weighing myself numerous times per day and letting that number dictate my mood and my self worth, I stopped doing it cold turkey about a year ago. I’ve never been happier! And guess what-still wearing the same size pants!

  59. 91

    Thank you so much for posting this! It is so helpful to have a dietitian and someone who just generally values health to talk about breaking up with the scale. I decided to give up the scale and weighing myself when I started recovering from my eating disorder a few years ago. There was no way that I could be in recovery and continue to weigh myself every morning and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I haven’t weighed myself in a long time and when I’m at the doctor’s office, I tell them that I don’t want to know my weight and to make a note in my chart. This way I can focus on how I feel instead of some number that tells me how much my skin, bones, organs and fat weigh. I’m a lot happier now because of it!

  60. 92

    Great post Anne. I’ve been trying to give up the scale for sometime now, but I always take a peak while I’m at the gym. This has given me the encouragement to stop because it’s not worth getting upset over a number!

  61. 93
    Laura P says:

    Good post. You are too right. I have a semi relationship w/ the scale, we have a weekly date but sometimes I stand it up for months. You are right that my weight doesn’t change much even when I’m not using it. I’m working on transitioning over to eating plant based food to nourish me rather than counting and measuring, it truly takes away from the goodness of the food and the meal time itself. We have lost that part of eating I think. Where eating was celebrated, just for itself, not used as celebration for something else. I think if we could just celebrate the idea of having that meal or snack we’d feel better about all the other parts of our lives.
    Enjoy Boston this weekend!

  62. 94

    During my major weight loss (around 100 pounds,) I didn’t have access to a scale, and would go months without weighing myself. I think not having the scale around really helped. Instead of focusing on just my weight, I focused on changing my lifestyle (ever so slowly.) Scales are evil. Cloth tape measures are better at showing progress anyway, that is, if you’re not measuring yourself too many times per week. Great post!

  63. 95

    Love your post.

    People definitely tend to become slaves to their scales and forget that we go up and down daily in weight for a different number of reasons that have nothing to do with getting “fatter” or “slimmer”. We just fluctuate naturally.

    What I learned to do (it takes a lot of discipline though) is weight myself about once every couple of months, just so I can see any tendency that my body might be taking.

  64. 96

    Definitely agree. The scale gives us a number and there is so much more to us than that!

  65. 97

    I agree with you that you should ditch the scale! It is such an inaccurate measure of health. Just eat real foods and exercise and you don’t have to worry about getting on a scale ever again.

  66. 98

    If we weren’t so fixated about losing pounds, we COULD dump the scale. If we were concerned about getting healthier by eating the right food, we might find new measurements that reflected our path toward better health.

  67. 99

    I’m not sure why I didn’t comment on this post the day it was published, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I don’t own a scale and haven’t for many years. I realized what an improvement it had made in my thoughts about health and wellness when my roommate got one and I instinctively started weighing myself every day. It made me feel awful if I had gained a pound from one day to the next – one pound (which was probably water weight anyway)! I am so much better off mentally and emotionally without one, when I can just focus on feeling healthy and strong without worrying about numbers. Amen, sista!

  68. 100
    Barbara says:

    My mom didnt own a scale when i was growing up, and i think it was the best thing she could have done raising a teenage girl. The only time i had problems with food restriction was in college, when my roommate had one. Since college, i have gone back to not owning one, and i am so happy. I dont think i will ever own one, and i have stayed 110 lbs, my happy weight, for the last 6 yrs without it!

  69. 101

    Yes! I’m so glad that you are anti-scale and an intuitive eating supporter as well. I hope to be able to continue to share and spread this message, both as a blogger, and as a future RD.

  70. 102

    I love this article and referenced it on my blog. Thanks for sharing.

    http://mypurplespoon.com/?p=872

  71. 103

    Totally agreee Anne! Long time reader but first time commenter. It took me along time to realize that I weigh more than I look, and more than the “average” 5″1 girl weighs. But I feel good about the way I look and make healthy choices most of the time, so it doesn’t do me any good to obsess about the number. My thighs will always touch, too, and it is what it is :) hope your post helps people!

  72. 104

    Thank you for reading – and for stepping in to say hello! Keep up that healthy living. :)

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