Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weight a Minute...

A number on the scale - that's all it is, yet it has the ability to make many feel either good or bad.  It is been given the power to dictate success or failure, a positive or negative outlook, or whether or not you wear your tight jeans or elastic waist band sweats.  Why do so many people let a number, (one that is often inaccurate and highly influenced by MANY factors), rule their lives?  And how important is it, really?

I often have clients that INSIST on weighing themselves - some check in once or twice a week others every single day.  Now, I HIGHLY discourage this practice, but it's one battle that I just can't win.  Now I'm going to go on a rant about how annoying it is when these individuals email, call or text me to say they either lost or gained half a pound or a pound overnight and how the 'plan' isn't working and something needs to change.  This is so frustrating!!  I explain how it is next to impossible to gain one "real" pound overnight.  This requires an additional 3500 calories above what the body needs to function and sustain activity.  So let's say your body needs 2200 calories just to maintain itself.  This would mean that you would need to eat 5700 calories in one day in order to gain one pound of 'real' weight.  And while it's not impossible - it's highly unlikely.  Additionally, the number on the scale is dependent on many factors - hydration level, sodium intake, GI contents, last meal, time of day, week or month...  Taking all that into consideration, is it the best measure to use in deciding whether or not something is working on a day-to-day basis?

Results are what everyone wants - and they want them FAST.  Unfortunately overnight or in 3 days - there aren't going to be any miraculous changes.  These things take time and there are better ways to measure results than the number on a scale.  Ask yourself - how are my clothes fitting, what has my workout performance been like, how do I feel, how much energy do I have?  These things are all far more accurate measures of how you are really doing!  And, the number on the scale will change for good over time - not overnight...

Are you letting the number on the scale run your life?  Is it worth it?  I challenge you to put the scale away for  AT LEAST a week or two.  Focus on the important things, eat well, workout smart and be happy.  Be mindful of how you feel, how your workouts are going, etc. and make adjustments to your diet accordingly.  Your mind, body, friends, family, co-workers, trainer, dietitian, etc. will thank you for not being obsessed with a number.  Are you up to the challenge?  Remember, when your "no weight" trial is up you can always go back to the old way, but it's highly likely you won't want or need to!



  1. Great post. I notice that I never weigh myself unless I am eating crappy and not exercising. It is then that I step on the scale for some odd reason. When I eat well and maintain some type of physical movement, I never even think about weighing myself.

  2. I struggle with weighing myself too often. I think it's years of feeling like a number on the scale is the GOAL, thus - I must work towards that goal. If I don't see progress towards that goal, with the effort I think I'm putting in, it's an excuse to give up and cheat!

    After weeks upon weeks of the # sabotaging my mental state, I've FINALLY pushed the scale as far under my bed as possible. I've told myself that the choice to eat well and exercise will take place regardless of what that number is. It actually makes me more conscious of making good decisions to get me to the lofty 'goal' number I've set in my head... weighing myself less often (maybe once a month vs. every other day) makes me LESS defeated (even if the number doesn't budge) because I know I'm still putting in the work/effort to reach those goals.

    There's part of me that's really scared about stepping on it and being 10+ pounds heavier... that's always been the motivation (ie: making sure I'm on the right track) and then either being happy with the number or frustrated that it isn't moving down faster.

  3. Thanks for the timely post-- I'm two weeks into Paleo and the scale isn't moving and I was getting frustrated. Time to take a step off the scale and focus on other factors.

  4. It's very hard to give up the scale. It's an instant gratification thing. A way to keep score. I wound up transitioning to getting a shirt and a pair of pants the next size down and using that as a gauge.


  5. Thanks for all the great comments everyone! It just goes to show how focused on the "weighting" game our society is. Be strong - listen to your body, and focus on health, happiness and the important things in life. What are you 'weighting' for?? :)

  6. I have been eating a paleo diet for two months. Although my weight has not changed (I crossfit 3x per week, tennis 3x per week, run, hike etc) my clothes are definitey looser and I am noticeably leaner. People comment on my changing physique ( and I thought I was in pretty darn good shape before) a lot. This is the first time I really "get" how eating well impacts how I look and not just what the scale says.

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