Motivation Articles

Break Free from the Scale!

How to Stop the Scale from Determining Your Self-Worth

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

    Finally permission to put aside the scale, which Makes me anxious and filled with dread. I eat between 1200-1500 calories daily. I use fitness pal to monitor daily intake. My weight is pretty stable - 8/27/2014 7:56:21 PM
  • I get on my scale every morning. Obsessive? Probably. I like to see which way I am going daily instead of getting a shock at the end of 30 days then have to try to figure out what happened and when. I put away my scale for 30 days once. I didn't even get on the scale at the gym. I worked out at the gym, watched what I was eating. It was tough and disastrous! I gained weight!! I will continue to weigh every day. I only get excited with more than a 2 lbs loss, because I know weight fluctuates with workouts, time of day and water intake. - 7/17/2014 7:29:28 AM
  • It is only after I banished my scale to the closet and began concentrating on my health, rather than my weight, did I go down two sizes. For me, the weekly/daily weigh in was an exercise in humiliation and self-loathing. The scale isn't for everybody. It certainly isn't for me. If your emotional well-being is tied to the number on the scale, it is time to rethink using it. If it doesn't bother you, go ahead, keep using it. We are all very different in our relationship to the scale. Do what makes sense for you. Personally I am way too sensitive. I can't handle the emotional repercussions when the scale doesn't show the results I am expecting.It just makes me want to give up. - 7/16/2014 8:56:57 PM
  • OK, I know a number of people say you should not weigh yourself daily, but if I know that my weight fluctuates from day to day, it still seems better to know what it is and what the range is that it's fluctuating in. If you only weigh yourself once a week, how do you know where you are in your range at that moment? It seems like you could get a weight that is higher or lower than you should be tracking. Using a tape measure is great monthly but a lot can happen in that month that you would be better off knowing about before you've suddenly got an extra 5 pounds to deal with. - 7/16/2014 12:48:38 PM
    Wow! Obviously the scale is a very controversial subject for people. I am a scale person. I have watched it go up and up and up. I have decided I am going to participate in the Spark People program and lose the extra weight I need to lose. I need to lose a whole least 100 pounds...125 would be awesome. I need help and I think I can find it here. It seems like there are always people on line talking and sharing ideas just like this one. I don't think I will weigh for a while. It is so depressing. - 5/3/2014 5:28:07 AM
  • DIETER27
    excellent article. well said......... - 4/4/2014 9:47:21 AM
  • I am with Healthy4HM. I do not ever want to lose the precious relationship I have with my scale:) I do use it in moderation though, never daily, always weekly. - 10/4/2013 8:28:58 PM
  • This scares the pants off of me... which probably means it's something I really need to consider.
    - 8/29/2013 5:26:26 PM
  • I used to weigh myself daily, then it went up to two times a day! I finally stopped and now I try for once a week. This last week I weighed myself twice onto of my weekly weigh in, so it's not easy to stop but I'm getting better. - 8/29/2013 4:56:30 PM
  • CAPPIE1277
    To those who think the scale keeps you accountable are probably the ones with the most scale obsession!! Weighing daily is not giving you a good accuracy at all! You do realize your weight can fluctuate several pounds in the course of a week. So if it shows you gained, what you eat less or exercise more... So not accurate at all!! - 8/29/2013 4:13:54 PM
  • People: spark is not hating on the scale. This to help people who are litterally obessed with weighingand place all their self-worth on those numbers that pop up on the scale. I used to wweigh myself probably 5-12 times a day and I HAD to break that habit because it was impeding my weight loss and hurting my mental health. After i broke my habit and learned to let that number go, i have been able to focus on what matters. I still weigh myself, but can now look at the numvers in the scale without a huge amount of anxiety behind them. If you dont feel that way about a scale, then you probably dont have a weighing obsession you need to break! Everyone just needs to calm down and realize not every piece of advice is written for them. - 8/22/2013 11:46:42 AM
  • I never step on a scale! I couldn't deal with the trauma of the numbers going up and down, seemingly erratically!

    Instead I very accurately log everything I eat, and my FitBit (which syncs to SP) accurately counts the calories I burn in a 24 hour period (even while I am asleep).

    With these logs in place, I use the SP Report called Daily Calorie Differential. SInce mid April, I have had a calorie deficit (burned more than I ate) for all but 6 days.

    Since mid-April, I have I have lost 13 pounds (divide the spreadsheet total by 3500 to get total pounds lost).

    This really works for me! I am getting smaller and smaller and my clothes are getting bigger and bigger!

    With no anxiety, dread, depression, etc. caused by the erratic numbers on the scale (which may be caused by water retention, etc.)

    Love my system! I works so well for me! I stay on track, and love the progress I am making with losing weight!

    - 7/12/2013 10:21:57 PM
  • Excellent article! - 7/12/2013 11:59:48 AM
  • I definitely agree with the folks who say the scale keeps them accountable. If I don't weigh myself once a day, I slip and gain a ton of weight. I will say that I am less obsessed than I used to be. I used to get on the scale about five times a day. I've also discovered that if I stall for a while, I can make adjustments to help me get things moving again. In fact, this happened recently. I was eating too little and exercising too much, and I was able to make adjustments to finally start losing again. It's a diagnostic tool, and I think if you use it as such, it's not a bad thing. - 7/12/2013 9:03:57 AM
  • I step on that scale every day. It helps me keep focused on my goals. If I don't step on it in the morning I tend to get sloppy with food choices during the day. It's just another tool to help with the journey, don't understand why SP thinks it is a bad thing. - 7/12/2013 8:25:16 AM

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