Motivation Articles

Break Free from the Scale!

How to Stop the Scale from Determining Your Self-Worth

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How many times have you stepped on the scale, full of hopeful anticipation, only to be disappointed by the number staring back at you? Suddenly, that great feeling of accomplishment you had vanishes and you tell yourself that, again, you failed. No matter how hard you try, you can't lose weight. Sound familiar?

For so many of us who are trying to lose or manage our weight, the scale is our main tool for measuring our progress;  unfortunately, we often allow it to measure our self-worth, too.

While the scale can be a good way to measure progress, it shouldn't be your only indicator of health and change. In fact, using it as your only form of measurement can result in obsession, negative thinking and a possible decrease in your motivation level.

For people who weigh themselves daily (or even multiple times a day), the idea of giving up the scale can be scary. But I guarantee that once you do it, you'll be happier, have a more accurate self-image and better relationship with your body. If cutting yourself off from the scale cold-turkey is a scary—or downright impossible—proposal, follow this five-step plan to go from scale-obsessed to scale-free in just one month!

How to Ditch the Scale in 30 Days
1. Store the scale out of sight. Most of us keep our scale in the bathroom, and it's one of the first things we see in the morning. In fact, I bet before you're probably even fully awake, you hop on it to see if you dropped weight overnight. The first step in breaking free from the number on the scale is to put the scale away; out of sight, out of mind. Whether it goes under the bed, in a closet or in a drawer, get it out of your everyday sight. When you can't see it, you'll be much less tempted to hop on as frequently.

2. Start your day with a positive ritual. Because you might struggle with breaking the habit of getting up and not weighing yourself—even if the scale is out of sight—the next step is to swap a new behavior for your weigh-in ritual. Instead of stepping on the scale first thing in the morning, give yourself a pick-me-up! Whether it's listening to a high-energy song that gets you going, reading your goals aloud, giving yourself a short pep talk or reciting a quotation that resonates with you, take just a few minutes to get focused and pumped to continue making healthy changes.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • Everybody is different. I got rid of my scale because I could not handle it. The number greatly affected my mood, from soaring highs to deep lows.

    Now I focus on food choices, strength/movement
    , and how my clothes fit. No more reactive highs and lows. No more feelings of giving up. I'm happy that I've dropped a pants size. - 5/8/2016 8:30:56 AM
  • I could never have an official weigh-in day, weekly or monthly. How would I ever know if the weight was real or if it was one of those freaky, inexplicable fluctuations up or down?
    I know that ignoring the scale is how I gained the weight in the first place. When I read the many stories of regain of 20, 50 pounds or more, it makes me wonder. How much of the gain happened before they saw the number on the scale?
    After 6 years of maintenance, I will continue to weigh every morning. It's a lot easier to turn around an upward trend before it gets to double digits.
    My current weight? The lowest number I've seen all week. Really! - 5/8/2016 8:11:27 AM
  • I am a convert from daily and multiple times daily weigh-ins. I weigh once a week in the morning on the same day, if possible. Weighing more frequently sends me off on a roller coaster of emotion - extreme highs when the scale is down and extreme lows when it's up. My weight fluctuates quite a bit during the day and from day to day. I could never see any direct cause and I spent too much energy worrying about whether it was my eating plan, too much salt the day before, building muscle, etc. It was exhausting and depressing and damaging to my self esteem. For me, weighing once a week is a good reality check. If the scale doesn't move over the course of several weeks, then I'm open to changing my behaviors to get it moving again. But my measures of success are in how many days I follow my food plan, get my steps in and other actions that are fully within my control. I love the idea of ending the day recognizing all we have to be grateful for too. Thanks for a great article! - 5/8/2016 7:24:08 AM
  • I couldn't disagree with this article more. I used to believe this because I have been told it so often. I have had to start weighing myself daily because of something my doctor wants to measure. It has been the single biggest positive improvement in maintain weight loss since I started. The cycle of nerves,stress and worry before getting on the scales, then bitter disappointment and comfort eating has completely gone. I weigh myself every morning, first thing in the morning before I have eaten or drunk anything, in the 3 weeks I have been doing this I have never gained weight 2 days in a row. All fear of the scales has gone. There is no obsession. - 5/8/2016 3:11:39 AM
  • I am too dependent on the scale. And here's the thing. I know better. I am aware that muscle weighs more than fat. I am aware my weight will fluctuate through the week (especially during my monthly cycle). I am determined to become less scale obsessed. Three weeks ago I took full body measurements and I am going to start using those as my guide and put the scale away for a month. I can do this! - 4/21/2016 8:24:22 AM
  • Great Article ! - 3/31/2016 6:12:02 AM
    I like weighing myself every day because it keeps me in check. If my weight goes up I can explain it more readily and correct it right away. If you weigh once a month and find you gained or haven't lost anything because you haven't been doing something right, there goes your incentive! Also being honest with yourself is the best policy. - 3/24/2016 7:00:33 PM
  • I am weighing myself once a week or every other week. My break from the scale is since I have started this sparkpeople program, I have walked everyday, twice a day. and just building that habit over the last two weeks I feel has been amazing! I feel better, have more energy and that is more important than my weight! - 3/2/2016 3:53:45 PM
    hi friend can you please help me by telling me how to inter my weight - 12/29/2015 2:46:36 AM
  • I hid the scales and they did not move. Now I weigh daily and I am doing great. I see little ups and downs but watching I need to see if I have gone up or down. I am happy there is rarely a jump over 1 or 2 pounds and at that point I drink more water, eat more fiber or take along walk with friends. Pat in Maine loves the scale now instead of hiding it. - 12/22/2015 10:27:17 AM
  • Weighing in almost every day is a must for me, to keep it in front of me and remind me that I have a goal. I have enough perspective to understand that a pound in either direction on a given day isn't a trend. All the same, I reward myself for my activity, not my results. - 11/2/2015 5:03:55 PM
  • Thank you for the article. I like the idea of doing something to motivate myself in the morning and in the evening and will try that out.
    I thought the Washington post article posted by RLKarman was interesting too. I tend to obsess over the number on the scale though so weighing daily probably wouldn't be good for me. - 11/2/2015 4:00:44 PM
  • ELICUKI1971
    i try not to weigh myself often but it gets to me not knowing - 11/2/2015 3:37:57 PM
    Weighing myself every morning keeps me accountable. If the number goes down, great; if the number goes up, o-well. It doesn't define me. It's just a gauge. Instant feedback is a great learning tool, and that's kinda what the scale is. Particularly related to dietary choices. Trying to exercise-off a bad diet is a recipe for disaster. The scale reminds me of that, so I make diet a priority, and workout when I can.
    Having said that, if you're letting the scale give a number to your self-worth, don't even have it in the house. Give it to a spouse/friend to hide or donate it to charity. That is not what the scale is for. It is a weight-loss tool. That's all.
    No matter how heavy (or thin) you are, your value is not a number. - 11/2/2015 12:24:39 PM
  • 452134
    I just cannot measure myself yet. I hate to do that. - 10/4/2015 8:11:05 AM

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