The Truth About The Scale

scale

Nothing gets me more worked up in the fitness/health category than the electronic, square piece of equipment that seems to be obsessed about by women around the world.  (Men…I’m not excluding you I just understand women and how their minds work a little bit better.)

Today I came across this blurb that was written by a female (I don’t know this person at all but did pass along this same info that I am posting now):

“I am having the HARDEST time staying away from and off of the scale :/. I have to fight the urge to weigh myself every morning because I know if the number is the same as the day before or higher than I’ll just discourage myself and lose motivation. I think for every time I “cheat” and weigh myself before the Wed weigh in, then I shall punish myself by doing Burpees. I hate burpees so this is positive reinforcement lol”

Because of my disgust of the scale and all of the negatives that seem to come along with it I wrote a post months ago about what we really should do with the scale.  I called this…The Scale Revolution.  If you missed it here are the links for part 1 and part 2.

To sum it up…the scale and I just don’t get along.  I had been the same weight now for over a year and had a goal weight in mind and some pretty big prizes once I reached those goals.  My strength training increased a lot, I went to the gym 5 or 6 times a week at least and worked hard each time…yet the scale was not moving.  I was frustrated.  I was angry.  I get on the scale and I feel bad.  I get on it and am reminded that my body is not ever going to be a size 0 like the media claims that every woman should be.  I get on it and am just reminded of the bad choices I made with food and don’t dwell on any positives…you know, like having lost 80 pounds already.    

 
I was tired of getting upset with numbers.  I was tired of feeling like I was worse and unhealthy because the number was telling me so.  I decided that I was done with the scale.  
 
Reality…the number doesn’t tell the entire picture and the number should not determine the attitude that I have about myself.
 
I know that I’m not the only one out there either that has this problem with the scale.  I was starting to become more aware of how others were seeing the scale too and noticed an epidemic that I know has been around for ages.  The epidemic is women who weigh themselves constantly…daily, before and after a workout, once a week, every Monday/Wednesday/Friday, …it is almost like they have to have that number in front of them so they know how much they have to work, what they have (or can) eat that day or if they are on the right track.  The sound of someone getting on the scale at the gym (these are the same people every day by the way) was starting to get on my nerves.  Pretty sure one of these days I am just going to over and put an “Out of Order” sign on it.  
 
A blog that I follow posted this great article which basically sums up everything that I was thinking.  I put a few paragraphs below to give you an idea what the article is about and a few of the highlights.  

Can the Scale Lie?

Yes, in a sense, the scale can lie.
For starters, the scale doesn’t just reveal fat lost. You can step on a scale and see a weight loss of several pounds, but that weight loss may not even be from fat; it could be from water and glycogen depletion.
Quick Note: Muscle Does Not Weigh More Than Fat
This needs to be stated – muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound whether it’s fat, muscle, bone, feathers, or lead. However, muscle is more dense than fat.
Muscle is more dense than fat, and that’s why a woman who’s been training hard and, despite losing body fat, hasn’t seen the number on the scale change much, if any, because she’s built muscle, too.
This is one reason why building muscle is a very good thing for women.
Here’s a picture to show that you can look better even if you gain weight. This is one of Jason Ferruggia’s clients.
As you can see, she gained 9 pounds but looks leaner, more “toned”, and more athletic because she lost body fat and built muscle. Good thing she didn’t let the number on the scale upset her!
Last week I asked the following question on the Girls Gone Strong Fanpage:
Do any of you weigh yourself daily, or most days per week? Do you find your mood can be easily affected by the number staring back at you?
Over 100 responses were given, but here are a couple I found very interesting:
I’ve never been in better shape before but the scale keeps telling me otherwise! So frustrating but I’m learning to ignore it! But why is that?!?
This statement truly befuddled me! This poor woman believes she’s in the best shape ever, but the scale is showing a weight that’s higher than she deems appropriate. I’m willing to bet that if she’d never stepped on the scale and simply went by how she looked and felt, she would be overjoyed with her success. In this case — yes, the scale has lied to her.
And this one:
I recently started weight training and got a set of BIA scales to track my progress. After 2 weeks of training hard and eating right I felt great and my boyfriend was convinced I had slimmed down. I’d got carried away with the scales though and was measuring 2-3 times a day. After 2 weeks I compared with my starting weight and there was no difference, I was devastated and actually had to lie down. The scales really made me question my commitment to this kind of fitness despite FEELING stronger and healthier.
Again, this lady was feeling better and seeing results from her efforts, but because the scale number wasn’t in line with her thoughts, she felt like she failed. So, the scale lied to her, too.
Did you notice something very important? Both of the ladies above were happy with their progress, and felt great, too. But because the number on the scale didn’t do what they expected, their mood was negatively affected. Has this happened to you?

The Illusive “Ideal Weight”

Many women constantly chase an “ideal weight”. Perhaps it’s a weight from high school or college, or maybe pre-pregnancy. In any case, a lot of women have a number in their head, and they think, “If I could just weigh X amount, then I’d be happy.”
Well, I’ve got some disheartening news for you if you’re chasing that magical number. More than likely, once you reach it, you still won’t be happy.
I know this because I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Even though some reach that perceived “ideal weight’, they still come up with other things they want to fix or improve. It’s a never ending cycle, my friends.
My suggestion is to stop trying to reach an “ideal weight”.
That brings me to an awesome Tweet I saw from Chris Shugart a few weeks ago:
Train for a LOOK and not a NUMBER on the scale.
Simple, powerful statement. And I love it.
Would you rather look and feel awesome and maintain that appearance with minimal stress, or would you rather be in a constant state of chasing some “ideal number” as discussed above?
Forget about the number on the scale – train and eat for the look you want, and forget everything else, especially a stupid number on the scale.

For the full article by Nia Shanks click here.  

Challenge #3…There is challenge on the website to put your scale away for 30 days.  If the scale is a problem for you, you feel your mood change because the number isn’t where you want it to be or you find that you are obsessing about getting to a certain spot…put it out of reach so you don’t even see it.  See how you feel about yourself after a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks.  
Take the challenge and let us know…how did you do?…how do you feel?… has your perception of the scale (or yourself) changed in any way?
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6 thoughts on “The Truth About The Scale

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