Are you using the scale the wrong way?

Imagine you have a weight loss goal. Say 30 lbs. You hop on the scale day-after-day, only to see it go down one day and up the next. A month goes by and you’ve lost one pound.


One of two things likely happens at this point. You quit or you continue to weigh-in while simultaneously beating the crap out of yourself for not losing more weight.

Let’s face it. When we step on the scale, we want good news. And we let the scale determine whether we’ll have a good day or a bad day.

We give this thing way too much power. It’s a number. But what you think about that number is everything.

Imagine you set a 30lbs weight loss goal. You see the scale go down one day and up the next. In a month you lose 1lb. WTF?

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Let’s say today you do all the right things – you know, exercise, sleep eight hours, eat lots of veggies, hydrate – and tomorrow the scale says the exact same thing. Or goes up. What do you make that mean?

If you make it mean that what you’re doing isn’t working, that’s a misuse of the scale.

Or, let’s say today you eat too much at dinner and have one glass of wine too many, and the scale goes down tomorrow. How do you interpret that?

If your takeaway is that you got away with something, that’s also a misuse of the scale.

If you expect immediate feedback from the scale, you’re using it wrong.

The thing is, the scale gives you very little information about how you lived your life yesterday. So, if you allow that number to determine how motivated you’ll be the next day, you’re likely to quit.

Even worse is continuing to weigh yourself amidst starts and stops, beating yourself up for not having enough willpower. Super unhelpful. I’ve never seen anyone shame herself into a smaller dress size.

Remind yourself that your body is constantly making changes at the cellular level, changes unseen on the scale. Trust that what you’re doing is moving you in the right direction, that your body is making microscopic changes that will add up to something significant. Focus on non-scale victories, as many as you can find.

So, what is the correct use of the scale?

It can provide information over time to see if what you’re doing is helping you reach your weight loss goal, and if you need to make changes. (By the way, it only measures your overall weight. There’s more to it than that.)

It can also provide the opportunity to clear up any head clutter you have about what the number means. If you allow it to reflect your self-worth or influence your self-esteem, start by noticing the thoughts. Then question the hell out of them.

Your weight is an objective number. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Top 50 Non-Scale Victories to Celebrate

Do you step on the scale weekly or daily, only to be disappointed because you don’t see the number that you want? My Year of 50 Countdown for March offers Non-Scale Victories to give you motivation and ideas on how to stay on track to achieve your health and weight loss goals.
Here are my top 50 non-scale victories to celebrate:

  1. Heart rate – ability to exercise at a higher intensity
  2. Steps – increasing activity level
  3. Calories burned
  4. Overall activity – that’s why I love my Polar device as it combines all my movement, including exercise, into an overall goal that I can reach for daily.
  5. Weight lifted/pressed
  6. Class completed – I love the 30-minute Booty HIIT I just started at Give Fitness last month!
  7. Competing in a race
  8. More laps in the pool
  9. More laps around the track
  10. Making time for exercise – that’s a big one when you are time-pressed. And, who isn’t?
  11. Able to do a standard push up (only toes and hands on the floor, baby!)
  12. Able to walk or run at a faster pace
  13. Hiking a new trail
  14. Getting the sleep you need
  15. Sticking with – or starting- a meditation practice
  16. Taking the stairs with less effort
  17. Being able to easily lift luggage into the overhead bin
  18. Handling a stressful situation with grace
  19. Listening to music rather than eating to distract from stress
  20. Following through with your workout when you didn’t “feel like it”
  21. Saying no to an invitation that would impact you negatively (e.g. late night before an early meeting)
  22. Saying no to dessert when you’re not hungry and it’s not your favorite
  23. Saying no to seconds when you are satisfied
  24. Employing your back-up plan when “life happened”‘
  25. Feeling and/or seeing toned muscles
    Photo by on Unsplash
  26. Muscle soreness that tells you the workout “worked”
  27. Walking to lunch instead of driving the 2/10 of a mile
  28. Noticeable increase in afternoon energy
  29. Staying positive when confronted with someone else’s stuff
  30. Refraining from an “opportunity” to gossip
  31. Reading an inspiring book instead of zoning in front of the TV
  32. Eating veggies for a snack
  33. Being prepared with a healthy snack in your car and desk, just when you needed it
  34. Reduced pain
  35. Better balance
  36. Greater flexibility
  37. Having the confidence to go through with an activity you previously avoided
  38. Greater ease through the day
  39. More strength for daily activities
  40. Noticing the seat in an airplane feels a bit more comfortable
  41. Your belt needs to move in a notch
  42. Your rings are fitting a bit loose
  43. Something that was tight now fits better
  44. Accepting a compliment with a simple “thank you”
  45. Cooking a new healthy meal
  46. Choosing a healthier option at your favorite restaurant
  47. No longer calorie counting
  48. Asking for help (yes, that is a victory!)
  49. Enjoying shopping for clothes
  50. Having confidence in your intimate relationship

If you’re engaging in healthy behaviors and making wise choices, your body is changing at the cellular level. It has to! Learn to celebrate what’s going well and keep consistent, reminding yourself that giving up is unacceptable. Regular check-ins and re-evaluation will be necessary…just keep doing it. Your body will get to its ideal weight as you steadily implement your plan.
Enjoy food. Love life. Be you again.


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