Should You Really Ditch The Scale?

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I have been wanting to share my thoughts on 'weighing scale' for a long time but it's been in my draft because there is so much to write about it. It also happens to be a controversial topic I deal with regularly in my professional + personal life. Let me just begin by a simple question - why do we weight ourselves? To find out our weight right.. To some that number is a great motivation while for others it could be a discouragement. My thoughts on weight loss has always been 'one size doesn't fit approach' and I feel the same way about a weighing scale too. This post is not about encouraging/discouraging anyone to own/disown a weighing scale. Instead these are just my thoughts on "Should You Really Ditch The Scale?" I am starting to see more non-diet and intuitive eating approach being promoted for forming a healthy relationship with food rather than 'weight'...And then there some practitioners who will work with clients on a specific weight loss goals. So honestly, there is really no right or wrong approach because ultimately a lot of that depends on your goals, where you are on your journey, and if 'weighing scale' is a right approach for you?

What is your goal? 8 out of 10 people I come across are 'always trying to lose weight' and people think 'losing weight = being healthy' which is not always the case. Being at a healthy weight is optimal but how about your lab results, the way your clothes fit, your stress level, eating habits, daily exercise etc. These things are far more important indicators of your overall health instead of a number of your scale.

You could be at your ideal body weight (or underweight) and have poor eating habits, struggling with chronic stress, and not getting adequate sleep. Now that's clearly not a sign of good health.

I hope your ultimate goal is to lead a healthy living long-term rather than an arbitrary number on the scale! 

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Where are you on your journey? For some people, exercise is a part of their everyday life but for others it could be a complete lifestyle adjustment. Cooking meals at home, packing lunch, or the importance of fiber could be a foreign concept. And for some people, stepping on a scale to find out where they are right in order to achieve their goals is what they need in order to begin their journey.

I see clients waiting for an approval for a bariatric surgery. As a part of their pre-surgery requirement, they are required to lose certain amount of weight loss (based on their weight, co-morbidities etc), which is why "ditching the scale" doesn't work for them. Losing weight pre-surgery helps shrink the size of liver, intra-abdominal and improves visual field during surgery. On the other hand, if you have an eating disorder (or are recovering from one) - it is best to ditch the scale.

Everyone has their own unique journey, so let's not compare each other's journey. 

Is 'weighing scale' a right approach for you? This is probably the most important thing to consider! What works for one person, may or may not work for others. From my own experience, I know scale is not for me. Scale can easily make me happy or upset me, which is why I don't own a scale.

Weighing scale is a great tool to give you a general idea about your weight and even help you track your progress (weight gain, loss, or maintenance). But don't forget the fact that 'weight fluctuates' depending upon the scale, time of the day, hydration etc..Scale can't differentiate how much of your body weight is muscle versus fat, which means if your goal is to improve your fitness level, it's not the best tool for measuring improvements.

If you are one of those people who needs some sort of a tool to keep you on track, weighing scale could work for you - granted it won't ruin your day or make you feel miserable after stepping on a scale. Always remember - scale is not an indicator of your overall health.

So here is my two cents on "Should You Ditch the Scale?" I'd love to hear your thoughts!

More weight related rants:

Stop Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

Thoughts About Weight Loss from a Dietitian

5 Weight Loss Mistakes