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Motivation Articles  ›  Staying Motivated

Break Free from the Scale!

How to Stop the Scale from Determining Your Self-Worth

-- By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
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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

  • 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
  • I'm sorry, but for me, "putting the scale out of sight" is the last stop before gaining ten or twenty pounds. I'll keep some of this advice in mind but on the whole, I don't see what is so bad about daily weigh-ins and being accountable to myself for maintaining weight loss since after all that is one of the very things I am trying to achieve. - 7/12/2013 2:10:36 AM
  • When it comes to weigh-ins and scales, there are definitely two camps on the subject: those that are in love with their scales and weigh in obsessively and those that do not. I personally fall into the latter group.

    After 17 months of consistently working my program, the one thing that I have learned about me and my program is that losing inches is SOOO much more important than losing pounds. Therefore, as long as my size 8 clothes still fit me comfortably, then I'm obviously still working my program properly. JMHO - 5/31/2013 5:18:13 PM
  • This would be fine if it actually worked but sorry my scale helps me stay on track, and my hormones are to wacky to do it any other way. Been there done that... - 5/31/2013 2:21:06 PM
  • I don't see how the scale is a bad thing because it keeps me accountable. Yes, it is frustrating to be up and down each morning but it helps me plan my exercise. If I am up a little then I know I have to work out a little harder or walk a few extra minutes. It is a predictor for my Sunday weigh-in. - 5/31/2013 11:59:36 AM
  • The scale is one of various tools, not a judge and jury. I've been on SP for a few years now and I've read from some people that their weight doesn't change even when their measurements go down. For the majority of us though, if the numbers on the scale go up, or fail to go down over time, it means something in the plan isn't working; time to re-evaluate. - 5/31/2013 10:40:17 AM