Why the Scale Sucks: A Cautionary Tale

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scaleBack in January, I announced I was doing Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day-Shred. I’m about halfway through, my ambition waning somewhat in March after a strong start in January and February. If I retrace my progress, I am pretty sure I can link my “waning ambition” back to an unfortunate incident with a scale.

Although my primary goal in doing “the shred” was to keep a commitment to myself, I also wanted to see how much stronger I could get in 30 days. And just for shits and giggles, I thought it would be interesting to see how my weight and measurements changed by doing the shred, but not changing my eating habits. An experiment, really.

So, I had LynnAnn do my measurements and I got on the scale for the first time in a while. I promised myself beforehand I would not judge the numbers because rationally I know that the scale doesn’t measure my fitness, my strength, my health or my worth. But, emotionally, I guess I was hoping the numbers were going to be better than they were. Goes to show that old habits and ways of thinking are hard to break.

I remember when I stepped off the scale thinking things like:

  • “Why continue to do the video if my numbers don’t even change?”
  • “What’s the point in doing all of this if it isn’t going to get me results?”
  • “I am definitely getting that hot fudge brownie sundae tonight because “eating good” and “working out” don’t work anyway!”

After the scale incident, I took about 2 weeks off from doing the shred. The “oomph” went out of me.

But, this is where I can thank Green Mountain. Before Green Mountain, this unfortunate incident with the scale would have derailed me from all my healthy intentions for good. But, I could observe the situation differently this time. I could see how the scale completely dictated my mood and shattered my motivation, despite the fact I was feeling great before I weighed myself!

Now I’m back on track because I remind myself that my weight might not be where I want it to be, but I’m sure my heart likes the cardio I’m doing. I’m sure my brain and memory are thankful I am doing the shred. I am sure my sleep, energy, mood, and insulin resistance have all benefited from the shred. I’m sure my abs are stronger and better able to support my troublesome lower back.

This is a cautionary tale. Consider putting away the scale. Don’t let it tell you what kind of progress you are making. Or not making. Find another way to measure your health and your happiness… because the scale sucks at it.



12 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Kat says:

    It is so important to take the measurements. They are far more encouraging than a scales!

    • Lisa Christie says:

      Kat, I do think that measurements are better than scales, but neither of those measure health. For me, it is better and far more motivating to look at my energy, my sleep, my mood, my flexibility and my endurance. Those are true marks of health.

  • Julia Bays says:

    I can totally relate to this!! I had this exact experience during my time at Green Mountain. The scale did not say what I wanted it to even though my measurements showed great progress. I started to doubt myself. Thanks for this blog update!

    • Lisa Christie says:

      It’s a hard switch to flip in our heads that we don’t need approval from the scale, but it’s one we must continue to work on!

  • Lou Grech says:

    Something I try to tell my clients everyday – the scales can’t tell you how healthy you are, or how happy you can be, or what a great person you are. They tell you gravity! Thanks for telling your experience and how you handled it, hopefully it helps others to stop measuring their self worth through the scales xx
    Lou @ The Honesty Path

    • Lisa Christie says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Lou. It’s just a hard habit to break after spending 30+ years letting the scale define me. I’ve made a lot of progress in letting it go, this was definitely a good reminder of why.

  • Jessie says:

    It’s hard to break the scale habit. You are working out, trying to lose weight and you naturally want to see all your hard work is being reflected on the scale.

    Sometimes the number is good and it motivates you and other times you get the same exact sense you stated – eating healthy and exercising doesn’t work, why am I wasting my time or the opposite extreme where you decide you will just starve yourself. Both are terrible ideas to give into.

  • Ironically I found it much easier too lose weight when I stopped focusing on my weight, which may sound counter-intuitive. Instead, I focused more on the experience, the increased energy to play with my kids, the toxins being eliminated from my body by eating healthier food. The list could go on, but I hope you get my point. To be honest I would chuck the scales out the window!

  • Lisa Christie says:

    Maria, I couldn’t agree more. That is what we teach at Green Mountain…. focus on how you feel and the other benefits that exercise gives you, and in doing that, often the weight will follow. Focusing on health, not weight, is the way. I continually need to remind myself of this.

  • Like Maria, I found it easier to lose weight once I stopped weighing myself. I took a THREE-YEAR break from the scale and it was an amazing gift to myself. It allowed me plenty of time to break the “I hate myself” cycle that I engaged in every time I stepped on the scale. And, as a result, I was able to focus on taking care of myself…because we care for and nurture that which we love and accept.

  • […] If the scale doesn’t move, what comes next quite often is thinking that your efforts are futile – that there is just no use to trying to do things differently, because you didn’t lose weight. […]

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