Motivation Strategies

Use Measurements Besides the Scale

What's So Motivating About Numbers Anyway?


Pretend for a minute that gravity doesn’t exist. Everything is weightless, including your aunt Sophie, yet it all manages to stay on the ground. You don’t know how much you weigh because scales have never been invented. How would you define your state of health? After all, you wouldn’t be able to say "I need to lose 10 pounds" or "I weigh 150 pounds, so I must be overweight."

What would be your benchmark? You might still not like how you look. You might be tired of being tired all the time. You might need to trim down and take care of that blood pressure problem. You might want to avoid diabetes.

In a gravity-free world, those are all still good reasons to create healthy diet and fitness habits. Who knows, you might decide "Hey, I feel all right, I look all right, and I’m healthy. If I can just maintain the habits I have, I should be okay."

The point is, you can decide for yourself what shape you’re in. You don’t need the scale to tell you. Unfortunately, many times we get down on ourselves simply because something as trivial as gravity tells us we’re out of shape. Some people feel and look fantastic in every respect, but if the number on the scale doesn’t match expectations, they’re miserable. This doesn’t make sense. Gravity should not be able to wield that kind of power.

In this gravity-rich reality we live in, we have a fascination with the scale. While it’s good for giving you a general idea of your health, this can be the most discouraging and frustrating part of a diet. Your weight can fluctuate all the time and reasons why are never completely known. Time of day, temperature, the day’s activities, water level – all can skew the numbers one way or the other. In reality, you could be getting discouraged over something that’s not really accurate.

To stay motivated, try finding other ways to measure your progress instead of stepping on the scale. Try some benchmarks that actually matter. Some may be tougher to measure than others, some are more subjective. But we think you’ll find that these measurements can still be a lot more meaningful and motivating.

Take some of these regular measurements to stay motivated, even if the scale isn’t moving:

Body Measures – dress size, waist-to-hip ratio, neck, arms, fitting into favorite clothes
Performance – more endurance during exercise, doing them at a higher level, jumping higher, walking longer, running faster, playing a sport better
General Feeling – rate energy level, rate attitude and outlook, track how often you feel very sleepy during the day, rate your confidence level
Health – blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level
Intangibles – how you look, compliments you receive, how others respond to you

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Member Comments

  • This method really does work, and doesnt stress yourself out as much as weighing does, but I do both as much as possible,...since my activity level as skyrocketed since i lost 143 pound's, and still losing.
    Really liked this idea, thinking as if weight didn't matter. I may make a weightless weekend once a month, to see if it changes how I feel, it's a welcome shift of thinking.
  • Thank you for the excellent reminder, I have been on a 'scale fast' for the last two months while still working out and eating right---and I have never been better.
    I'm not losing weight but have gone down a size clothes wise and people are commenting on how i look
  • I try on my clothes to see if I lost weight. Then I will take about a month before I get on the scale.
    I definitely realized in the last month I've felt less tired. And I do see my endurance and fitness level increasing, also my jeans are looser! Can't wait to fit into the smaller size!
    Agree, the scales is a very addictive item! Fat percentage and size loss is a much greater indication of whether you are losing weight safely and not losing muscle/ fat/ bone even organ density in those with severe weight loss!
  • What a good way to view progress. Instead of beating down my scale, I can choose to see my progress in other areas.
  • VICKYG99
    I was glad to see this article under the "motivation" section. I myself have lost my lack of motivation due to the fact that the scale has not moved. However, people continue to tell me, "Wow! You look smaller, your clothes are so loose on you. etc." From today on I will reset my goals and concentrate on inches and exercise endurance.

    Thanks for helping me regain my motivation.
  • Instead of the scale i use the waist-to-hip ratio measurement and my cholesterol level as a better measurement for progress.
  • MAGGIE101857
    Just what I needed today! My scale has not budged in ages, and while I know my eating is not perfect, I do know how much and how hard I work out and overall eat healthy. My fiance said to me the other night "you need to stop worrying about the scale and start focusing on how healthy and strong you have become, because you are WOW! I guess I need to listen you both of you!! Thanks for the good thoughts!!
  • I was just thinking this recently. My goal weight that I set when I started this journey is 10 lbs from where I am now. I've been holding steady where I am now because I WANT to be where I am now. I'm not "stuck here." I want to be here because I feel good; I look good; I am good. :)

    I've even changed the goal date for those 10 lbs to early next spring so I will look a bit better for that swim suit, but for now I'm happy where I am and eating a little more than weight loss mode.


    This is one area where I have to disagree.

    Weight measurement (done on the same scale, all the time) is an objective measure of our healthy lifestyle.

    I have read more than once that the 5% (or sometimes 3%, depends on the source) who keep the weight off weigh themselves, as often as every day.

    I am well aware about daily fluctuations, and take them into consideration.

    I have lost about 102 pounds and have kept it off since September 2010. I am a binge eater. Talk about hard work!

    I enter my weekly weight into SP.

    I weigh myself daily, on the same scale at the same time in my morning routine. This weigh in provides feedback for me about how I should eat in the upcoming day. This is nothing more than a feedback loop, which can be used for a continuous improvement cycle of health management. I work in quality assurance, so daily weigh ins make sense to me. I do realize that they may drive other folks crazy!

    I have also learned a lot about my maintenance range. A certain weight above my goal, I feel sliuggish and bloated. A certain weight below it, I feel weak and trembly. So I try to stay at the sweet spot, and daily weigh ints guide me in this.
  • This was an EXCELLENT article. I am too am a victim of the scale and its crazy because I am SO much healthier today then I was a month or two ago but if the scale isn;t saying I dont feel it and that to me is sad. I vow to break free from the bondage of the scale and use the tips in this article to do so because health is so much more than weight! I think I just got my motivation back!

About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

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