It starts with an aversion to the scale, I just don’t get on it for months at a time because I know that for some reason, the number that pops up will ruin my week. Then, one day, I get on the scale and find that no matter what the number is, it’s not the right number. So, I start working on lowering the number, regardless of the fact that my clothes still fit, regardless of the fact that I do feel strong, energetic and full of life, regardless of the fact that I know I’m not fat and my reaction makes no sense.
Nevertheless, that scale now is becoming my validation. If the number lowers by one pound this week, I think…what happens if I start weighing myself right after I get up, then again after a workout, what about after a meal, before bed…yes, I will literally weigh myself 4 times a day, before I eventually realize how unproductive that is, get off the scale and begin the cycle all over again with avoiding the scale for months.
The scale can be a valuable tool for monitoring your weight, your health and your progress toward your fitness goals. However, constant monitoring on the scale can be counterproductive for some people. When I am reaching for a specific goal, the scale helps me determine how I’m doing and when that goal has been reached but I personally don’t do well monitoring myself with the scale ALL the time. There are other ways to monitor your fitness level such as your body fat percentage, BMI or circumference measurements, unless all numbers freak you out and it’s better for you to simply monitor the way your clothes fit, the way you feel, and your compliance with your food log and workout routine.
There are a lot of psychological factors that play a role throughout each individual fitness journey and your fitness journey is unique to you. The scale can be motivating as you make progress toward your goals but becoming too dependent on it can be ineffective, especially when used too often. A good rule of thumb is to monitor your weight on a weekly basis; too frequent weighing sessions can give you an inaccurate point of view because the scale won’t consider hormone changes throughout the month, fluid intake and retention, inflammation, etc. The scale is a monitoring tool that can be used in moderation to motivate and help you achieve your results; don’t hate the scale or give it too much power over you, use it as the tool it is.