Monday, October 24, 2011

Why the Scale Lies

Here are five reasons you can't trust the scale even as far as you can throw it.
1. The Scale does not have all the answers. If I were to tell you, "I'm going to make a recipe and the ingredients are beef, brown gravy mix, dried Italian salad dressing mix, ranch dressing mix, and water and then asked, "What am I making?," would you know? Highly unlikely, right? Why? Because you don't know the amounts of ingredients, you don't know the preparation, the cooking instructions, etc. Would you be upset with yourself for not knowing? Would you be baffled as to why you don't know? Of course not. You'd say, "How could I know? I don't have enough information!" Well, to me, that's what we expect of ourselves when we hop on that scale, see a number we didn't expect and then get upset. So many things go into our weight - calories in, temperature, sodium in, waste out, time of day...the list goes on and on. The Scale does not have The really doesn't.

2. The Scale reveals minute changes in our weight.
We say things like, "I don't understand, I ate healthy, exercised...why am I up .4 pounds?" Point 4 pounds? Seriously? My scale gives my weight down to 1/10th. Most of the time I think that's a good thing. But sometimes it's not. We lose perspective. We seem to forget that at 164 pounds .4 is a .2% change in our body weight. Not even 1%, not even a 1/2 of a percent...but .2% people! Why are we reacting to this?

3. The Scale is not a progress report on our goal of improved health.
As if they are one in the same. If I gain one pound this week you might hear me say something like, "I had a bad week." But whoa...what if I'd gone to the gym 5 days that week and reached a personal best on the treadmill? What if I resisted giving into a Taco Bell urge on my way home from work after a stressful day? What if I learned a new healthy recipe version of my favorite comfort food (that I actually like)? Those are all fabulous accomplishments that will serve me in my long term goal of weight loss and health. They are also signs that I am indeed living this new healthy lifestyle. They contradict my earlier conclusion that I had a bad week. Don't they?

4. The Scale tells us how to feel. Why do we let the scale affect our mood? Why is The Scale the one that tells us how to feel? What to think? What to do next? Well, partially, I think, because it gives us (in seconds) something concrete to focus on. Measuring ourselves takes time, and it might take weeks before we see a change. Weeks? Are you kidding me? Why wait weeks to get feedback on how I'm doing when I can hop on the scale in the morning, mid-morning, afternoon, late afternoon, evening, late evening...etc, etc. I've read more than one post in which the writer weighed herself and was up a tiny bit more than she wanted to be. She did some shenanigans (losing the clothes, using the restroom, etc) and hopped back on. Lo and behold that extra weight is gone and happiness ensues. Something is just not right with that picture. And yet I've been that person so many, many times.

5. Despite all of the above, The Scale does not go away. I've met those women who never weigh themselves. They say honorable things like, "I let the fit of my clothes tell me if I need to start eating less." These people have somehow broken free from the cruelty of that little measuring device. I think it's great. I wish I could do it. Well, obviously I don't because I haven't. I'm as addicted to that instant feedback as the next girl. Even though it doesn't always make sense, it can put me in a bad mood, it lies (oh and don't think it doesn't, it will lie straight to your face without a second thought), it's unreliable and inconsistent...even though I swear it hates me, I won't get rid of it. And neither will you. And that's the worst of all.
 *A re-post from when I originally wrote it in Sept 2008 because I felt it was due.


  1. Ha ha great post...oh so true. Fortunately when i cancelled my last gym membership i lost access to my "weighing scales" so I "broke free", it is really quite liberating! If you have time at all there is a really interesting article to read (takes about 30min to digest it all)....might help understand the role of food/cravings etc...

  2. That scale is something else! Too bad it doesn't say how fabulous you are today!


If you don't want to login, use the Name/URL option (just type in your name...or any name for that matter). If you use the "Anonymous" option your comment won't get posted. - Michelle