Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Obsession with the Scale

One of the members of my weight loss support group expressed some disappointment when the scale did not reflect the loss that she felt she deserved after working so hard to lose weight. With the idea of support and concern in my heart, I responded thusly:

"I would encourage you not to get frustrated if you don’t lose any weight.  Instead just focus on getting to the gym, watching what you eat, and enjoying the effort that you are able to put in.  The scale is useful for accountability, but it does not define success!  Success is living a healthy lifestyle, being a good example to your kids, and pushing the limits of your physical abilities.  If you can manage to do those things, you can count yourself as a winner, no matter what the scale may read!"

Pretty good, right?  I thought so, too.  The only problem with this is that I am completely unable to follow this advice myself.  I am completely obsessed with the scale.  I weigh in twice a day.  Once, before I go to bed, to see how I have done for the day, and once, in the morning, to see how much I have lost overnight and to see where I am at for the week.  When I am eating my third slice of pizza, I am thinking about how good it tastes, but I am also thinking about what the scale is going to say when I get home!  When I eat well, I don't think about how healthy I am being or how good of an example I am.  I am completely thinking about how good it is going to feel to have a lower number when I stand on the scale!

In that lies the issue.  The scale can be a source of gratification; it is a relatively tangible "thing" to hang my hat of success.  The scale is also the overseer passing judgement on every poor decision that I have made.  The scale can also be the crazy ass thing that has no idea how hard I have worked only to display a minimal loss, if there is a loss at all!  Many days I really like the scale for its affirmation of my dedication.  But many other days I hate the scale for judging me or failing to get in line with my efforts.

I wish I could take my own advice and just be happy with the effort that I am putting in, but it really hard.  If admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, then let this be my first step. 

- "Hi, my name is Brian."
- "Hi Brian!"
- "And I am obsessed with the scale."

Now, does anyone know what the other eleven steps are? 


  1. Hey Bri,
    I've been there! And I have clients that are way more crazy than you (weighing themselves after they poo).
    My suggestion:
    Only weigh yourself on Monday mornings.
    Why Mondays?
    Holds you accountable on the weekends, which tend to be the most challenging time.
    Why once a week?
    Because your weight fluctuates. A lot. Water weight, workout, eating something maybe high in salt or water content. You're getting a much better indication of gain and loss if you only weigh once a week. You're probably noticing a fluctuation of up to 5 pounds, which is enough to drive anyone crazy.
    Make a deal with yourself. "If I only weigh in once a week, I will lose weight."
    It helps keep the focus OFF of the scale and ON your habits, daily fitness and nutrition.
    Good luck!
    p.s. Hide the scale on every other day. It is too tempting to just step on it!

  2. Amen, Mira.
    Once a week is all you should be weighing yourself, Brian. There are too many physical factors to why your weight might be fluctuating day to day or even within a single day. Not to mention all the ways the scale will mess with your head. You never want to be too high or too low on your workout goals. Consistency is the key.