The Scale

A while ago (probably my first week of blogging), I wrote a post about the scale and my relationship with it.  Three years ago, I decided that weighing myself was not really jive.  I decided I didn’t need justification from a big piece of plastic (or metal if you are fancy) to define my mood or decide how I would feel for the day.  So I threw my scale away…that isn’t too say I haven’t weighed myself a few times in the last few years (doctors’ visits, just plain curiosity…but I don’t weigh myself very often…probably about 5 times since then).

 Though I’ve never had an eating disorder, I can relate with both males and females everywhere that constantly see adds for being “healthy”, that you can never lose enough weight and that being skinny is the key. 

It’s no secret that America (not to exclude other countries) is facing problems with weight.  We are an overweight country…but this post doesn’t go out to people for health reasons that need to lose weight.  This post goes out to people who want to lose weight because it will cure their life and they believe they will be 100% happy.

Let’s take this step by step in a typical day of weighing yourself with no particular goal or need to lose.  Perhaps you weigh yourself every day to make sure that one pound steak you had or delicious ice cream didn’t do any “harm”.

You wake up for the morning…go to the restroom…brush your teeth and weigh yourself.  You stand on a piece of plastic and allow it to tell you a magic three digit number. Now a days, most scales go to the decimal place so you have a few extra digits.  Before you weigh yourself, ask what are you are you hoping by this process?  Are you hoping that you’ll weigh the exact same to the fraction of the decimal?  Are you hoping that you’ll be down .01?  Whatever it is…if you are up anything, the scale has betrayed you.

So then you weigh yourself and let’s think of the two options.

You weigh in less than yesterday.  Instantly your day is good.  You weighed .01 less than yesterday.  It’s a great day, people will be complementing you because they can notice the .01 difference.  I mean, I personally can’t tell even tell whether someone has gained or lost 10 pounds let alone .01…think about that.  .01…incase you wondered, that is 1/100 of a paper clip.  Cut a paper clip into 100 pieces and that is how much weight you have lost since yesterday.

Or you weigh in .01 more.  Everyone will notice and your day is automatically ruined.  It’s currently 6:30 in the morning and you just weighed .01 more, so nevermind the rest of the day…your day is officially ruined and you have been up all of 5 minutes…maybe.

My point is this.  You are letting a giant piece of plastic control your everyday life.  No one can tell if today you weighed in 5 pounds more than yesterday.  No one can tell if today you weighed in 5 pounds less.  Your attitude is how they perceive you…I can tell someone having a rough day.  Someone who weighed themselves at 6:30 am, decided it was a bad weight and is now going to let it ruin their day and mood.

Don’t let that person be you.  Don’t let a piece of plastic and the first 2 minutes of your morning control your life.  

Question for you: What is your relationship with the scale? 

Categories: Tags: , ,


  1. Shows like The Biggest Loser romanticize the losing of hundreds and hundreds of pounds of weight and how it changes the lives of the contestants. Although these people are all morbidly obese, I don’t like the message that livelihood is connected to a pound measurement. A better approach, from a health standpoint (not marketing), would have been to encourage body fat percentage reduction, or maybe a 5k time. The scale gets so much hype because it’s the easiest to associate, I think.

  2. Great point of view on the scale. I personally don’t see anything wrong with people weighing themselves frequently, but they shouldn’t let it affect their outlook on the day. What you weigh has nothing to do with who you are and I know that when I’ve let the scale control my life I was just unhappier overall as a person. Going away to college has made this a lot easier because there is no scale around for me to even consider. This summer though when a scale is around I’m thinking I just may lock it away somewhere. No need to worry over it.

  3. Mine is now nonexistant… like you, I stopped weighing (last year). I do weigh at the doc and we own a scale (my husband’s bathroom), but I don’t actually look at the scale at the doc so I have no clue. I like it better this way, it keeps me from obsessing like you talked about. I’m short so I feel like if I gain a pound it is blatently obvious, but life is so much better without the scale. It was actually a part of a challenge not to weigh for a month and it felt so good I just stopped haha.

  4. I agree with you in that if the scale upsets you or affects how you feel about yourself for the day, then it is a signal that you need to hide the scale for a bit. I have a scale and way myself once or twice a week. I’m not even sure why, just habit I suppose. The only time I am actually concerned about what it says is in the final month of marathon training when I want to be as lean as can be. I have never been in the dangerous “female athlete triad” cycle and I attribute that to a healthier outlook on weight. It’s OKAY to carry some extra weight when training.

    1. I’ve heard it’s a little better to carry that extra weight during training because when you do lose it, you’ll be a bit faster. It’s not something I’ve really looked too much into as far as race weight, but maybe if I get into full marathons I will.

  5. I do weigh myself, but usually about 2 times a week just to kind of add accountability. I definitely don’t do it on the weekends or the mornings when I swim at 5…just too busy. Usually midweek I will hop on to make sure I’m somewhere in my goal weight and move on. Since I am trying to lose weight, I am judging on the muscles I am starting to see, the way my clothes are fitting, and my weight. definitely not letting one become more important than the others to avoid the frustration when I gain one day.

    1. I think it’s a little different because you do have goals in mind to lose weight. That being said, it’s obvious that you can’t lose weight every single day. I’m glad it’s working out for you!

  6. Definitely nodding as I read through this post…I think a lot of people put way too much value on the scale. We allow it to make or break our day, just going by whatever number it spits out at us. I still have my scale, but I weigh myself once a month, at most. And whatever comes back, I don’t worry about it. Hell, I’ve gained a few pounds since September and I don’t let it bother me. Generally, if my clothes fit, than I’m probably doing ok.

  7. Great post, Hollie. I like how you pretty much said obsessing about the scale is nonsense. I used to be obsessed with the scale and had some disordered eating because of it. I was obsessed with the number that the scale said and it made me sad if one day I was 1 pound heavier than the day before. I was determined to get to a certain number on that scale even if it meant my happiness would be compromised. NEVER AGAIN. I still own a scale but very rarely get on it. The unhappiness that it might bring again freaks me out and I would prefer just to stay away from that nasty thing.

  8. I stopped weighing myself in September and have no idea what that number is. I don’t want to know and I don’t need to know because it does typically send me down an obsessive path. It’s really so stupid that our society puts such an emphasis on that piece of plastic, like it defines who we are as individuals. I would eventually like to be at a point where I can weigh myself and not care what it says but I’m not ready to test that yet. I base how I feel around the way my clothes fit now- it’s an easy way to have a rough idea without quantifying anything.

  9. This is a great post that I am adding to my favorites. It’s way too easy to get obsessed with scale, and I am totally guilty of that every now and then. Great reminder to us all. I LOVE how you said, why let a stupid piece of plastic run our lives – couldn’t be more true. THANK YOU!

  10. My entire life, I’ve rarely weighed myself. Now, I weigh myself everytime I go to the gym. However, I’m aware that water balance is the most significant short-term change in small amounts (up to a few pounds), so I don’t really sweat it. I’m mainly looking for trends over a month period, since now I’m trying to gain more muscle. Once I’m up five or sixx pounds and have increased my time-trial speed, I will lay off for a while.

  11. This is such an awesome post, Hollie. I love your attitude about the scale and the points you brought up in this post. You’re so right, a piece of plastic should never, ever make or break your day!

  12. I weigh myself maybe once a week, and during the weeks leading up to a race, I step on the scale every day; I’m still in the process of finding my ideal “race weight” (shout out to Matt Fitzgerald who wrote “Racing Weight”), so I do weigh myself regularly when there’s a race two weeks away. Basically, though, I go by how my clothes fit. To me, that’s a better way of sticking to healthy habits.

    1. Racing weight is certainly an interesting book, I’ve read it a couple of times. I was far more honest when I was both running and swimming and the difference in weight and body types was more obvious for both sports you know?

  13. Scales are wonky. I don’t weigh myself every day and I don’t own a scale but sometimes i’ll hop on one at the gym or if I’m at my parents house. A lot of time, different scales give you pretty significantly different weights! I don’t trust them. I go by how my pants fit. 🙂 I’ve never had a weight problem in my life so it’s not something that I stress about too often…unless I’m having an ugly week. Lol.

    1. The scale at my gym literally says that everyone that steps on weight 186 pounds…I think it might be broken ha ha. I do agree though, every scale is different and it’s even hard to compare the same scale at the same time daily…let alone different scales and different times…

  14. This is how I lived my college life, stepping on the scale every morning, if I was less then the day before or the number I wanted to be at I was happy and in a good mood. If I was .5 over I was in a bad mood, If I was a few lbs over I was BITCH! It was an awful way to live. A few yrs ago I decided to break up with the scale, the relationship I had with it was unhealthy. I haven’t stepped on the scale since and at the drs. I tell them not to tell me. I live a much happier life these days!

  15. I don’t have a scale. In high school I would weigh myself a lot at my parent’s house, so when I go there now I hop on just to see. I usually gauge myself by whether or not my clothes fit.

    1. As long as I don’t need to buy new clothes (either way), I think I’m okay. I’m the same way…obviously some days I’ll feel completely bloated and some I won’t.

  16. Love this post, Hollie, and I couldn’t agree more with the futility of stepping on a scale if you don’t need to, especially if that number goes on to dictate your mood for the rest of the day. I used to weigh myself religiously when I was in the depths of my ED, and doing so not only determined how my day would play out, but it got in the way of my recovery as well. Ditching the scale was one of the best things I ever did, and these days I don’t bother to weigh myself at all. My clothes fit and I feel good, so I figure I’m doing just fine.

  17. I’m with you. Don’t own one, and only find out weight at annual check-ups. I recently weighed myself out of curiosity at my boyfriend’s place, only to realize that I’d lost a significant amount of weight over the last 9mo. As someone who *knows* she needs to take her nutrition more seriously (Pizza at every meal? No?), I was pleased, but also confused. It hadn’t been a goal, rather a result of consistent training, and I didn’t *feel* so much smaller. As such, I’m perfectly happy going on in my scale-less world and enjoying my ice cream from time to time. 🙂

    1. That is interesting! When I do way myself every now and again I’m normally within the same 2-3 pounds…showing that everything is in balance both the good and bad.

  18. Thank you so much for this Hollie… I really needed this today. I’m doing a presentation later, and for it I’m wearing a dress that I last wore at a very unhealthy weight (when it would hang off me). I don’t know what else to say except that this post makes me feel the tiniest bit better about it.


    The scale… I have one. digital. fancy i suppose. But I have very strict rules on using it. For this reason, I hardly ever weigh myself. It has to be: morning, before eating anything, even water, unclothed and after a bathroom (ahem, #2) visit. This combination rarely goes to plan. I’ve head that consistency is the most important part of weighing. Always the same time, etc etc. so that’s why I have the rules. It works out well that I’ve usually drank some water or i don’t feel like stripping. I’ve found that the number screws with my head too much. Right before I step on, I try to level with myself… “Ok if it’s high, it’s b/c I had that really dense dinner, etc etc.” Why do I do this? It’s stupid!!

  20. It really does break my heart to know that some women define themselves by their weight/appearance and knowing they are .2 lbs heavier than yesterday well that just doesn’t seem right. Everyone is beautiful in their own way 🙂

    Or as some would say “OH BUT ITS ALL MUSCLE”
    . okay I had to.

    But on the other side – I will say that when I had to gain weight the scale was really helpful to make my goals and know I am on track. I think when it becomes obsessive is when there is an issue

  21. Your posts are always the best, Hollie! I used to have an incredibly unhealthy relationship with the scale (not to say it’s MUCH better anymore…). In middle/high school I would weigh myself every single time I stepped into the bathroom. So a good 6+ times PER day!

    Now I try to only do it once a week. But I find myself never losing weight despite how hard I workout and how good I eat. I like to try to tell myself that it is muscle, but that number destroys me like you said. Suddenly I’m obsessed again, in a BAD/depressed mood, and taking it out on Tyler. I wouldn’t care about the # and just go off of feel, but the Army has me weighing in at 10 lbs overweight and apparently 32% body fat (horseshit!!) so I have to care to some extent. I wish I could just throw my scale away…

    1. Awe that means a lot. I’m glad things are somewhat looking up and I can only imagine with the military things. I hope things start to look up even more for you.

  22. This is SO powerful. Back in high school and even the first year of college, I used to weigh myself every day and the result is exactly as you’ve described. Even if I was 0.2 (my scale doesn’t do 0.01 increments 😛 ) pounds over what I weighed the day before, I’d be so down the entire day and attempt to restrict my calories that day, despite the fact that it was probably all water weight. And I knew that. I knew that water affected your weight, but my mind would insist that I was doing something wrong.

    I’m thankful to say that now, I only weigh myself about once a week to make sure things aren’t completely out of whack. If it’s a few tenths over, I don’t get down about it–I’m usually aware of it beforehand, if I ate a ton the day before.

    I think those of us who are more prone to disordered eating are also prone to this. It’s a way we feel both simultaneously in control and out of control. When we’re “in control”–when we’re under our calorie limit or the scale says you dropped 0.2 of a pound, we want to feel more in control and keep our “progress” going. When we’re “out of control”–when we exceed our calories or gained 0.2 of a pound (in water weight!), we feel the need to get back into control.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I think the scale is another method for track results or could also help to propel disordered eating. Both of which saddens me.

  23. LOVE this post 🙂 I have a bad relationship with the scale — I certainly let it dictate how I feel about myself — even though i KNOW I shouldn’t. You’re right – it’s just a piece of plastic that defines my relationship with gravity. I had stopped weighing myself for this exact reason, but started up again when I started Tina’s better body bootcamp program. I still have a lot of negative feelings about the scale, but we are also using actual body measurements to track our progress too!!

  24. People really do put too much emphasis on the scale. Weight is such a silly number to put your worth, etc. on. I used to weigh myself twice a day, sometimes more. Once in the morning, and once at night, but more if I didn’t like what I saw. I’d get off, walk around, come back, and try again. In college now I don’t have a scale except in the locker room at the gym, but I don’t like weighing myself in public, and I know it’s going to be off because I’ll still be wearing all my workout gear. So now I only weigh myself when I visit my mom, which isn’t very often, and not even then sometimes.

  25. This post is one of the reasons I love you so damn much and why we get along so well. We really don’t get much out of weighing ourselves, because deep down you know if you’ve been healthy (active and eating right) or unhealthy (slothlike slob). That’s kind of my perspective, I don’t need to weigh myself because that number doesn’t tell me anything besides my weight. It doesn’t tell me how good/bad my jeans look on me, it doesn’t tell me how fast I can run or how far, it doesn’t tell me a damn thing other than a number. Thank you for this post, I hope lots of people (and certain people) read this and take it to heart!

    1. Exactly. I know if I have been lazy the last week or if I have been working hard..I don’t ever need a number (or want to for that matter) to tell me that. I’d rather PR in a race then on a scale.

  26. Great post! I don’t count calories, or weight myself very often. We do own a scale and I don’t really get on it very much. I do like to use it before and after a long run to see how much water weight I lost, so that I drink enough water.

    I used to be really obsessed with weight, but now I just aim for healthy!

  27. I used to lose so much weight during the summer on long runs! It was borderline ridiculous. I also aim for just being healthy and I’m glad we are on the same boat with that! 🙂

  28. I don’t even own a scale, so that is the answer right there lol…in fact, when i was pregnant, I went on backwards because I didn’t feel the need to know the number I was at – as long as the doctor knew and everything was ok, that was all that mattered…the only time in my life that knowing my weight mattered was when I was actually in labor and the nurse wanted to give me my epidural and needed to know my weight. I didn’t know it and we had to weight for the chart from doctor to get the does right. oops lol

  29. This totally made me realize the scale really does change my mood ! I think i got so used to it determining a “good” week, because of doing weight watchers . i unfortunately gained the weight back and then i started avoiding the scale and still sort of do ! But now i want to get fit again for spring and here I go again obsessing. I literally just told my friend yesterday i want to have fake weigh ins since i dont want to sign up for WW again because of the price ! its a tough situation and i wish it didnt bother me what the number says but in the end I guess it does !

  30. I’ve never owned a scale so I never really got in the habit of weighing myself but I did gain a few pounds after my last doctors visit and was really excited! I’ve been trying to gain some muscle, and since my clothes fit pretty much the same I’m just assuming it was muscle gain 🙂

  31. Love this.

    That used to be me. The number defined my attitude towards the day/week. Now I weigh in on show day just to gauge muscle/leanness gains and that’s it. I refuse to let a number on a scale, or on a clothing tag, define who I am as a person

    1. I honestly am always so inspired by you Becca. I can’t even imagine doing a sport that relys on being critiqued for body type and you do it so well without letting it overwealm you.

  32. I just bought a scale about two months ago, but I went with the ones that do the fancy body measurements. I never really had a relationship with a scale (blessing and a curse of being stick thin growing up) besides wanting to gain weight. Now I use it every few weeks to see what’s changed in terms of muscle mass. It’s more curiosity for me.

    Great post though. So many teens especially need to get to this relationship with a scale.

  33. AMEN TO THIS. I used to weigh myself pretty frequently, and I used to let it ruin my mood. Then I realized that my weight actually fluctuates a lot. One afternoon I weighed myself and was super unhappy with the number….the next morning I weighed myself again and I was a whole SEVEN POUNDS lighter. You don’t lose seven pounds of fat overnight lol, talk about bloat and water weight. That’s when I realized that the scale does nothing for me, and I haven’t weighed myself since. I actually also ask to get weighed backwards at the doctors becuause I know I’m not at the point where I can be okay with the number. And I’m a much much much less stressed person because of it….when you put it the way you do, letting a piece of plastic control your mood is just totally stupid.

  34. Totally agree with you. I can’t remember the last time I weighed myself, to be honest. Upping my workouts in the last couple of years means I also increased how much I eat so I’d say it’s all evened itself out and I’m probably at about the same weight I was a couple of years ago. But I don’t really have a number. And that’s ok. One thing I found when I was weighing myself regularly was that you can trick yourself however you want into thinking you’re doing really well or really poorly. If I weighed myself before bed (post-dinner), that’d mean bad news. Weighing myself in the morning, before breakfast, would show a much smaller number… Which one of them was real? Both, really, even though they’d vary by like 2 or 3kg sometimes (my metabolism is clearly a little weird).

  35. Agreed. Totally used to let this ruin my mood for the day until i finally told myself to STOP. It messes with your mind so much and I also do not want some STUPID piece of plastic telling me how to feel about myself that day. amen sista.

  36. I hate, like absolutely abhor, scales. The only time I know how much I weigh is when I go to the doctor. When I was in high school I became obsessive about the scale. I would weigh myself countless times a day (including before/after going potty. tmi, sorry) and it was an incredibly unhealthy relationship. Now I just go with how my clothes feel. Me = much happier.

  37. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I don’t weigh myself and do not know my weight. No matter what the # is it has proven to do me harm when it comes to my eating disorder and recovery. But I meet girls everyday that weigh themselves and take stock in a few pounds. The thing is our weight is meant to fluctuate by SEVERAL pounds. Honestly a number isn’t going to do you anything unless you can take it, analyze it, and use it to create knowledge or derive facts. I don’t think the # on the scale can be used for those things unless you take it and combine it with other pieces of your health.

  38. I don’t weigh myself very often, because you’re right, I let it define how I feel for the day, and that’s stupid. Plus, no one can tell and no one CARES if I’m up or down a few pounds!

  39. I love that you keep revisiting this topic. Scale =/= value. It is good to use it as a measurement that is very objective, but it shouldn’t affect how you FEEL about yourself. I like to keep an eye on it, when I’m training in the hot months to make sure I’m not losing too much water weight.

  40. Thanks for this post! I hate the scale. We have scales in each bathroom we have here at home. Never stepped on them lately as I know it will just disappoint me. I will not let those scales ruin how I feel about myself now. I’ve been working out and eating right and I feel great. I know those scales will say otherwise. LOL!. So, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can totally relate! 🙂

  41. I needed to read this, thank you. I used to never ever weigh myself, but then my hormones went crazy and I gained 30 pounds– now I seriously do weigh myself every morning. I don’t get majorly bummed about the water weight but I still need to just ditch that morning habit because it’s not how I need to start my day.

  42. God, I love you. Oh, I guess your blog is pretty cool too.

    The last time I weighed myself I was 123 pounds. I know I must be closer (and healthier now!) to 132, but I don’t know, because whenever I get weighed I ask people to not tell me the number. I’m living in denial, but it’s hell of a lot better than focusing on a number!

  43. This is the best thing I’ve ever read. I’ll admit, although I try really hard to not use the scales, when I do it does control my mood. But this post just gives me more motivation to stop, and every time I’m tempted ill read this (:

  44. I don’t own one and try to not get on them… I made a post not too long ago about my previous relationship with it when I was younger which was borderline an issue. The scale while important to mark milestones for those looking to lose a large amount of weight, should simply be that. i feel that 90% of the people that rely on it shouldn’t be.

  45. Like you, I don’t have an ED, though I used to weigh myself pretty regularly for no reason. Although I wasn’t comparing myself to ads or celebrity bodies, I had an idea of how I wanted my body to be and I do think the number on the scale did affect how I would eat that day, albeit subconsciously. Nowadays, I just can’t run well if I don’t eat enough, and being able to complete a run trumps the number on the scale – it helps that I didn’t bring it with me when I moved.

  46. As a person who weighs herself 7-10 times a day.. I really appreciated this post! You said some really great things. I especially liked… “don’t let a piece of plastic and the first two minutes of your life control your morning”

  47. I gave my scale away and never ever want it back! I want to get strong, healthier, and happier. If that means gaining weight (maybe as muscle?) or losing–whatever keep me healthy as I can be. I hate comparing yourself to others which weighing yourself brings. We are all different and what’s being happy is what matters.

    Great post Holz

  48. I very rarely weigh myself. I had eating issues in my early twenties and since then I have started Channel swimming so it is vital that I keep my weight up. Surprisingly, most people say how good I look now, as opposed to the time when I was constantly checking my weight and feeling awful about myself :0)

  49. the scale and I have a similar relationship. I have now decided to “weigh” myself based on how my clothes fit, and now with swim suit season…its gonna be rough haha

Comments are closed.