Does the Scale Matter?
Does the Scale Matter?
by Shannon Rowley
In writing this I find myself in the midst of a learning curve. Does the scale matter? Of course it does, it’s the measure of how hard I do or don’t work…right?
When I feel like I have gotten off path or missed a few workouts I get on the scale. Then I decide to stop the behavior that has changed the number on the scale. Since I have struggled with my weight and weight loss in the past I have become attached to my scale. It has kept me in check. I have felt at times that the scale was all that mattered. In fact, I have let it define who I am over the past few years.
Recently, I’ve recognized that it has actually inhibited my progress. Countless times I have gotten on the scale excited and then I was crushed to see little loss or even gain when I know I’ve worked hard. It made me angry, disappointed and depressed. Then I finally realized and said how could this silly flat thing make me so upset. So I’m asking, does the scale really matter? The fact is whether I see it or not, it is there. There are many things that affect what this silly inanimate object measuring device tells us.
First of all, the scale tells us SOMETHING in a very concrete way. It shows us how much harder we are pressing into the Earth from extra water weight, from too much sodium intake, a skipped training session, a stressful day at work and hormonal changes. But also it tells us NOTHING about how much muscle we have gained or how much body fat we have lost. We know that 5 pounds of muscle weighs the same as 5 pounds of fat? Instead let’s compare how our clothes fit now, how we feel when we wake up and how much energy we have. Another consideration is what should the appropriate weight for our particular body type be? These things fluctuate and are subjective.
Weighing yourself every day is very dangerous to our overall mental state. A better measure of success would be a total immersion tank or a tape measure. Take pictures of yourself 30 days apart. Survey how you feel. Can you breathe easier? Can you do more activities than you used to? Are your clothes fitting looser? If the answer to those is yes, then why get on the scale every day? You know from these things that you are headed in the right direction.
I am not saying the scale, used in moderation isn’t a useful tool for measuring certain progress, it absolutely can be if you are using it as such. But when we start using the scale as the only measure of success and we base our emotions on what it does and doesn’t say, in that place we enter the danger zone.
Here are a few tidbit of information to help you created a healthier relationship with your scale. Weigh yourself once every week or two. Try to weigh at the same time of the day wearing the same clothes. When you weigh first thing in the morning you will often weigh less than at night? Pick one time and stick with it. You are still holding yourself accountable, while not creating an emotional pit fall. Still be realistic about your goals and where you should be. You be in control of your relationship with the scale and let your healthy body be the true measure of your success.