3 Reasons I Don't Own a Scale
Not long ago, I was dining out and sitting next to a table of women who were involved in a serious conversation about diet and losing weight. They were discussing what they “could” eat on the menu, which diet pills were working, and how much weight they had to lose. It was heartbreaking to hear them obsess over calories and weighing themselves.
To me, weighing yourself on a scale every day is like pouring water into a glass with holes in it: it’s frustrating, it’s unproductive, and it makes a mess (of your emotional well-being).
Like most women, I have had my weight obsessions. From a young age women are bombarded by unrealistic and “ideal” body images and expectations via television, movies, magazines, and people around them. I can’t even begin to count the times I have heard a loved one say, “If I could just lose these 5 pounds…”. Does that ring any bells? I’m sure you’ve heard it, too.
I don’t own a scale. In fact, I have never bought one and I have no intentions of doing so. Ever. I’ve lived in homes with one (or two!) and I’ve come to realize a few things in my experience that might be useful for you as well.
Here are the three main reasons I don’t own a scale:
Weight is a number, but it doesn’t reflect health.
I know - you’ve heard this a million times, right? But seriously, consider this: what WOULD change if you lost those 5 pounds? Not much. In fact, chances are that you would tack on another goal for yourself to lose 5 more, but a number on a scale doesn’t equate to happiness or health. There are people who are at their “ideal weight” who are still miserable for a multitude of reasons. This number, much like our age, does not dictate your worth. I promise you that.
Health is a result of a nourishing diet, training yourself to find a practice of gratitude and self-care, and moving your body in ways that make you feel good. If you’re skipping breakfast, eating a yogurt for lunch, a plate of broccoli for dinner, and spending 3 hours at the gym on a treadmill, that’s not health. I’d also be willing to bet that it’s making you feel like garbage.
In short, your physical and mental health are WAY more important than any number on a scale. Be good to yourself and love the body that you’re in!
Scales cause stress.
Can you guess one of the biggest reasons for weight gain? That’s right - stress. Typically, scales will only elevate stress levels because they are informing us of an arbitrary standard. The cycle goes something like this: “I want to lose 5 pounds. I obsessively check my weight at least once a day for weeks. Every day that it doesn’t change, I stress about it, which causes weight gain, which makes me feel miserable for not being “able” to lose weight, which causes more stress…” and so on, and so forth. It’s a vicious cycle.
When considering weight, it’s also important to clarify a key difference between muscle and fat. If you are exercising, you are building muscle (go you!) and muscle weighs more than fat. Does that mean you should stop exercising? Heck no. Keep on moving your body to stay active and healthy.
When your body is stressed out (or starving!) it panics and stores fat. Your body is SMART and it assumes that it needs to prepare itself for starvation by turning everything you eat into fat and storing it to keep you alive. Crazy, right? Your body is literally trying to save you while you are trying to sabotage it. Let’s eliminate this one additional stress from our lives, shall we?
I don’t hold myself to anyone else’s standards.
Media and social culture have caused women to obsess over their weight and compare themselves to others. It’s incredibly toxic to our mental and physical health. We all grew up hearing maternal family members and friends talking about losing weight or how they “wished they looked like so-and-so”. These feelings can lead to eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia), but can also lead us to spend our lives being chronically unhappy with our own body image. That is unhealthy and counterproductive, and it needs to stop.
No two people are exactly alike, even twins. We are all unique beings with a unique set of needs for health, wellness, and happiness. So why are we trying to be someone else? One single diet doesn’t work for everyone on the planet. A single form of exercise is not enjoyable for all. A single way to show gratitude and self-care isn’t realistic.
Stop trying to be someone else or live up to someone else’s standards.
You are amazing.
You are strong.
You are worth it.
You are loved.
Let’s start treating ourselves the way we treat others: with kindness, love and compassion. When you stop obsessing over calories, scales, and comparison, I think that you will find that you will live a happier and more fulfilled life. Eat healthy food, drink lots of water, keep your body moving, and take care of yourself. You only have one body in this lifetime - it’s time to start practicing self-love.