5 Reasons to Skip the Scale

As a culture, we are prone to stepping on the scale excessively to see if it went up or down—inevitably making us forget about all the positive changes we are experiencing if the number isn’t what we hoped it would be. It’s okay to weigh yourself once in a while (We would recommend no more than once a month), and many people are stepping on the scale every single day. Don’t let it control you!

Here are five reasons to skip the scale today (and every day):

1. Your health is more than just a number. Too often we focus strictly on numbers, whether it be the number of calories, total cholesterol number or the number on the scale. Good thing there is more to our health (such as our digestive function, energy levels, and sleep quality) because I don’t want my health status to be based on just one number that doesn’t tell the whole story.

2. The scale doesn’t know what you’re going through. The number on the scale can fluctuate throughout the day, week, or month depending on what time of day you’re stepping on it, how much water you’ve been drinking, what you’ve been eating, if you’ve been lifting weights, whether you’ve been traveling or getting enough sleep, and if your hormones are balanced or not. There are many things that can influence weight, and the scale cannot tell the difference.

3. The scale can trigger emotional eating. Have you ever stepped on the scale and felt guilt, shame, or anger because it wasn’t the number you desired? That happens so often, and can lead to emotional eating in two ways. First, we hear from clients that feel guilt and shame if that number isn’t where they want it to be despite all of their hard work. Instead of acknowledging the different factors that can influence weight (listed above), they feel defeated and take a trip to the drive-thru or local ice cream shop instead (because what’s the point in trying if it’s not working?). On the flip side, it can lead to restrictive eating, curbing food intake in order to drop down to the goal weight. Unfortunately, when we restrict, our metabolism slows down, leading to more weight gain in the future. It’s a lose-lose situation.

4. Weighing less doesn’t mean you’re healthy. As a culture, we often view thin individuals as the healthiest, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are many thin people walking around with high levels of inflammation, who are riding the blood sugar roller coaster all day. In addition, many diets out there focus on fake food, artificial sweeteners, and over-exercising. Just because someone loses weight, it doesn’t mean it was done in a healthy way. (And while it’s tempting to think the end justifies the means, don’t forget inflammation and unstable blood sugars can cause things like migraines, digestive issues, fatigue, insomnia, heart disease, diabetes and skin rashes! No matter how thin you get, these symptoms will make you miserable and a lower number on the scale isn’t worth it.)

And last but not least…

5. There are better ways to measure your success! Instead of allowing one number to dictate how you feel about yourself, focus on all of the other positive changes you’re experiencing. Do your clothes fit better? Has your skin cleared up? Are you sleeping better at night? Have your sugar cravings subsided? Do you have more energy throughout the day? Are your moods better? Has your back pain gone away? I really could go on and on, but instead, take inventory of your own positive health changes and try focusing on these areas, rather than just the number on the scale.

I challenge you to stand up to the scale! Don’t let it be the one defining how you feel about yourself. It’s just one number, and doesn’t represent who you are as a person! If you could use some accountability in this area, check out our PFC Membership Club! We have a lot of conversation around this topic because you aren’t alone in the struggle!

  • TeeDee

    I tried this approach for a long time and ended up gaining almost 30 lbs, wearing the same pair of jeans! (they must have had more stretch in them than I realized). I knew they were feeling tighter, but since I had ‘ditched the scale’, I didn’t realize how much I’d put back on. I’ve learned to lose my fear of the scale by knowing and demonstrating for myself that the numbers will fluctuate. As someone suggested in another article, try weighing yourself, then drink a large glass of water and weigh again. You’ll see that your weight went up, but not because you ate more or for any other reason than that water has weight–no big deal. I’ll now be weighing myself more often because the numbers don’t lie; especially compared to the tactic of seeing how our clothes fit….

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi TeeDee! Weighing yourself semi-regularly can be a good idea when learning how to eat in balance, since everyone is different and each individual will have different needs when it comes to how much and what ratios of P, F & C they’re eating. (The body can also gain weight at first when we start eating real food in balance because our metabolism needs to heal before weight can come off…and the weight will come off!) We just don’t recommend weighing yourself daily or multiple times a day—for the exact reason you gave (that something as simple as drinking a glass of water can tip the scale). Aim for weighing yourself once a month (hopefully you didn’t gain 30lbs. in one month’s time!), and this should help you catch weight gain that might be happening before it gets out of control. You can always shoot us an email ([email protected]) if you want to talk to one of our Dietitian Coaches about your situation—we’d be happy to help you figure out what is causing the weight gain!

      • TeeDee

        Thanks very much, Kate. I’ve been eating a whole foods diet that’s moderate in proteins, healthy fats and low-ish carbs for about 4 years now. I lost a good deal of weight and found that eating this way kept most cravings at bay with some slip-ups here and there. The more recent weight gain came during a highly stressful time when we were getting our house ready to sell in time for a new property that we had purchased last year. I’m learning (still at 58) to not turn to fast foods, etc. when stressed/depressed, but it’s not always easy to do. I just keep trying because I know that this is the best way for me after having been on every conceivable diet since I was 9 yrs. old. Sometimes I just get tired of having to walk what seems like a very narrow path. Extra carbs create strong cravings, so that is the area I need to be vigilant about. Thanks again for your reply and concern, it’s much appreciated….

  • Weighing yourself once a week is good if you trying to loose or gain weight to track progress.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Thanks for the comment, PIggle! We’ve found that for most of our clients, focusing on that number can hinder progress. (Frustration that the numbers aren’t changing fast enough, or that they aren’t changing at all while their body starts to focus on healing before the weight can come off.) We think the number on the scale is just a number and the real evidence of weight loss is how your clothes fit and how you feel overall. That being said, if tracking the number on the scale works for you, that’s great!

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