55 Things the Scale Won't Tell You


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/17/2014 12:00 AM   :  52 comments   :  132,003 Views

Picture this: It's time for your weekly weigh-in, and you are confident that you've lost a pound or two. You've eaten very well this week and have been even more consistent with your exercise than you usually are. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and step on the scale, your heart skipping a beat. You brace yourself, open your eyes, and… your heart sinks into your stomach and you clench your fists. Your weight is up one pound since last week.

What's going through your mind? Is it a frenzy of horribly negative self-talk? Do you feel like a worthless failure who can't do anything right? Do you swear and stamp your foot and move the scale to another spot on the bathroom floor in the hopes that the number will change?

If you've had any (or all) of these reactions after a disappointing weigh-in, you're not alone. But think about how crazy that roller coaster is! Why should a number on a scale make you feel so nervous—and then so painfully defeated when it isn't what you had hoped for? Why should a number on a scale ruin your day and make you say horrible things to yourself that you would never dream of saying to a friend? 

We've all been sucked into the scale's siren song from time to time—and it makes sense why. The scale is appealing because it shows an instant, tangible metric of how you're progressing, and it seems like an easy way to tell if your weight-loss plan is working. But it's also easy to get too attached to that number—and you might start to define yourself based on what your morning weigh-in says, despite your best intentions. What's worse is, that number you're so fixated on might not even be an accurate gauge of your true progress! Your body is a complex machine; depending on fluid shifts, hormonal changes, when you last ate, how much sodium you've ingested, and multiple other factors, your weight could fluctuate by several pounds in just a single day.

So, the next time the number on the scale gets you down, step off, take a deep breath, and remember this: The only thing the scale can tell you is the amount of force that gravity has on your body at any given moment.

What can't the scale tell you? A whole lot:

1.      What a good spouse/son/daughter/mother/father/grandma/grandpa you are
2.      How amazing you are at your job
3.      How fast you can run
4.      How much passion you have for your hobbies
5.      How unique your laugh is
6.      How loyal you are
7.      How much better your clothes are fitting
8.      How much water you drink every day
9.      How much you rock your favorite outfit
10.   How much you've grown emotionally
11.   How great your hair looks
12.   How smart you are
13.   How much your blood pressure/cholesterol/blood glucose numbers have improved
14.   The status of your relationship with food
15.   How motivated you are
16.   How  many flights of stairs you can climb
17.   How well you're raising your kids
18.   How many lifelong memories you made on your last vacation
19.   How thoughtful you are
20.   What a great smile you have
21.   How much easier it is to carry your groceries since you've started working out
22.   How good you are at making healthy food choices
23.   How close you are to your friends
24.   How loved you are
25.   How well you can cook
26.   What a genuine person you are
27.   How much muscle mass you've put on in relation to fat lost
28.   The number of good books you've read
29.   How many amazing places you've seen
30.   How many volunteer hours you've logged
31.   How endearing your quirks are
32.   The number of steps you take per day
33.   How ambitious you are
34.   How many times you've passed up a treat for a healthier option
35.   How promising your future is
36.   How appreciated you are
37.   How far you can walk
38.   The number of fruits and veggies you eat every day
39.   How you handle stress
40.   How funny you are
41.   How many inches you've lost
42.   How much knowledge you've gained about healthy living
43.   How compassionate you are
44.   What a good pet owner you are
45.   How confident you are
46.   The number of compliments you've received
47.   How happy you are
48.   The number of medications you've been able to stop taking since getting healthier
49.   How strong your relationships are
50.   How much weight you can lift
51.   The number of people who admire and look up to you
52.   How many challenges you've overcome in your life
53.   How talented you are
54.   How much you've touched the lives of others
55.   How much you're learning and growing every day

Turns out the scale doesn't know so much, does it? The next time you weigh in, take the number with a grain of salt. Never let the number on the scale become the only measure of your worth; make healthy choices, be consistent and trust the process.

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  • 52
    I needed this today. I was really frustrated that I gained a pound when I weighed in this morning, thought I was doing well. But then found out I lost an inch from my belly. - 2/21/2016   11:38:22 PM
  • BUB001
    In reply to #47, the scale is telling you a simple number, not what your life is about. SparkPeople has provided sufficient information addressing this issue directly, from the weight of body fat vs muscle to metabolism differences to the effect water intake has on your body. - 1/13/2016   5:02:35 PM
  • 50
    Well, this couldn't have come at a better time. I have been struggling for a while and it seems no matter what I do I just can't get the scales to stay down. I lost 3 pounds last week, and so far this week I am up 2. Just doesn't seem right. I have been working on a streak of 10,000+ steps every day. Although there are days I just don't feel like it I am continuing to walk. I will continue to watch my caloric intake and my workout output and just take a gain with a grain of salt and carry on. Thanks for helping me put things into perspective.

    Great Blog!! - 1/12/2016   8:55:56 PM
  • 49
    very timely, weighing in on Thursday and wanting to be a certain number. It will not ruin my day if I do not reach my goal. Making good choices, it is just a journey. - 1/12/2016   8:10:05 PM
  • 48
    Thank you ...I needed a reminder that there is more to me than a number on the scales. - 1/12/2016   9:19:32 AM
  • 47
    Oh, for the love...you know what the scale IS telling you? That whatever you're doing isn't working.You're eating too much, you're not eating enough, you need to adjust your carb/protein ratio, you need to exercise more, etc.
    How is this rainbow/moonbeam positivity crap useful if it just allows you to make excuses and brush off the consequences of your actions? - 1/12/2016   9:12:10 AM
  • 46
    I definitely needed this today...I am getting very discouraged. I'm my own worst enemy with this whole weight loss thing. I do great then I shoot myself in the foot, jump the rails on the whole food thing. - 1/12/2016   8:03:58 AM
  • 45
    Just from the headline, I have a suggestion. Don't get On the scale. I began this late last year, and although it was scary at first, I can see by my clothing that it has not had any bad repercussions. The reverse actually - 1/12/2016   5:40:40 AM
    Great article. I get so depressed when I look at the scale and it fluctuates. This helps put it in perspective. - 10/29/2015   2:16:16 AM
  • 43
    Needed that today - 9/1/2015   10:22:18 AM
  • 42
    Well, no, muscle doesn't weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound; it just takes up less room than fat. Less volume. A pound of muscle might be the size of an apple where a pound of fat might be the size of a softball. - 7/23/2015   9:18:32 PM
  • 41
    Definitely a keeper!

    One more: not only does muscle weigh more than fat, but replacing fat with muscle increases your resting metabolic rate, the afterburn that continues after you work out. If you've had a good week with healthy eating and good work-outs, then a slight gain is a good thing. Check your body fat percentage -- as long as it is going down, then your weight will follow! - 6/11/2015   2:02:36 PM
  • BESTY12
    Really needed that. Thanks
    - 6/9/2015   9:35:15 PM
  • 39
    Thanks, I needed that - 6/9/2015   6:59:40 AM
  • DIETER27
    Wonderful blog! Thanks so much....... - 5/20/2015   12:06:47 PM
  • 37
    Thank you for this. You brought tears to my eyes. - 5/19/2015   6:37:14 PM
  • 36
    What an awesome article and such a great reminder of all the things that are great about us that we so easily forget. Thanks. - 5/19/2015   2:26:00 PM
  • 35
    I Love It!! I needed this - 5/19/2015   1:22:06 PM
    A great article, I use to avoid weighing myself when I knew I'd had a week of overindulgence but now I weigh anyhow and move forward. We all have periods of ups and downs but I do appreciate that my clothes feel better and my energy level has improved and I even feel I walk taller...all things the number on the scale can't tell me. - 5/19/2015   12:51:18 PM
  • 33
    I'm in a contest with a $400 payout to reach my goal by 9/1. It's possible; I am 14 pounds away with over three months to go. Win or lose, I will be glad when that's over because it's the main reason why I obsess over the scale (and I'm on a plateau right now). Otherwise, I think I've reached a good place in my relationship with my weight and food, so after the contest (or once I reach that goal) I'll really be able to relax and just let the magic of this amazing and healthful new lifestyle happen on its own time. - 5/19/2015   11:51:43 AM
  • 32
    I cried when I read this article because it was speaking directly to me. I am so fixated on the number on the scale. I let it get me down when my weight hits a plateau or creeps up a pound. I ignore all of the other signs of my progress (better fitting clothes, more energy, etc.). I think it's time for me to take a break from my daily morning weigh-ins. I am more than a number on the scale. - 5/19/2015   8:52:23 AM
  • 31
    I love my newest tool, weightGrapher.com! Helps me understand the scale fluctuations. - 5/19/2015   7:28:59 AM
  • 30
    As you read this please remember that the scale is truth, it just won't work if a) you expect this weeks working out to show on this week's weigh in - look to the previous week, and keep up the good work b) how much water you are drinking or a meal you ate - us the scale first thing in the morning to avoid this c) it won't hide the samples that you ate touring through Costco or the 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter that went on your toast vs the 2 you logged. Yes you may have gained muscle, but more likely you may need to listen more closely to the scale and keep up the hard work. - 5/19/2015   2:13:28 AM
  • 29
    Thank you for this article as it meant so much to me as I am that person! I will start to think about who I am and what I do rather than the number on the scales, so thank you, thank you, thank you... - 4/9/2015   1:52:34 AM
  • 28
    Sounds interesting to me, I want to try also this idea on my home and see what it happens, I hope I could also lose weight with this kind of healthy diet. Thank you for posting this article and share your ideas to us. - 3/16/2015   10:18:57 AM
  • 27
    I needed to run across this article today. I didn't weigh myself because I felt that I had gained. I will weigh this week. - 2/24/2015   2:05:33 PM
  • 26
    Thank you so much for this article. It made me feel better about myself just reading this. The voice inside was not being very nice and was making me feel very down about myself. - 2/4/2015   8:42:00 PM
  • 25
    I really needed to 'hear' this right now. Thanks for the reminder. Weight loss can be so tough sometimes. - 12/13/2014   9:55:12 AM
  • JUSTASEC2014
    These are also 55 things people should remember and/or consider BEFORE they judge a person who is overweight...just sayin' - 9/21/2014   12:38:26 PM
  • 23
    "be consistent and trust the process" Love it!!! - 7/11/2014   12:34:57 PM
  • 22
    I will love to know how to weigh properly. Do you stand straight or squat on the scale? Anyone please let me know the right thing to do. - 4/25/2014   2:40:38 PM
    I need to share this with a bunch of people I know. Thank you for such a truthful article - 4/9/2014   1:37:35 PM
    Good article. - 4/3/2014   10:13:14 PM
  • 19
    Great way to start my Spring! Super!!! - 3/20/2014   9:36:00 AM
  • 18
    Excellent article! We should all keep these things in mind when we get discouraged. - 3/19/2014   7:06:32 PM
  • JOBZO1
    This is a great article. Thanks. - 3/19/2014   2:36:31 AM
  • 16
    too true. It is FRUSTRATING thought when one is trying to lose weight to NOT see results. - 3/18/2014   10:09:21 PM
  • 15
    It is not so frustrating when I know I was off track the day or days before....but when I have done well...ate healthy, exercised....I look to the scale in hopeful anticipation of the proof of my success....when it is up from the day before...I feel deprived of the proof of my success. I am working on the self talk to get me through the days when the scale is a liar. But I will continue to track daily as it is one method of monitoring my progress. And at my current weight it is hard to see the results - except for the scale. - 3/18/2014   4:34:02 PM
  • 14
    I agree you are more than a number, but, of course there is a but. You still have to look at that gain and address it. Just don't think it will go away on it's own. It might, but you could also ignore it and see another gain in a day or so.
    You should always weigh at the same time of day, early morning, before eating.
    I can gain 4,5 lbs in a day and then by the next morning be back to normal.
    People have to remember the scales is really your friend.
    It helps keep you on track.
    The only person you can get angrey with is yourself.
    And you are the only one who can make changes. - 3/18/2014   3:58:37 PM
    One of the things I've learned is that when the scale goes up, you just return to healthy eating and stay there until it goes down. I used to get discouraged when it did not go down overnight, and now I know it often takes 4 or 5 days. - 3/18/2014   8:25:32 AM
  • 12
    No number defines you as a person, but you still have to pay attention to them whether your cholesterol, the balance in your checking account or your weight. We just have to strive for a balanced outlook. Ignoring numbers isn't the answer either. - 3/18/2014   6:27:41 AM
    Thanks, I needed this! :)
    - 3/17/2014   10:23:23 PM
  • 10
    Had a less than awesome weigh-in this morning, so this really was the perfect article for me today! Thanks. - 3/17/2014   9:10:35 PM
  • 9
    It would be nice if these were things that applied to everyone . . . but still, great reminder for those that these reasons apply to - 3/17/2014   5:49:24 PM
  • SANDRA_99
    I really needed this also. My husband always tells me to not let the number on a scale define you as a person. - 3/17/2014   1:27:32 PM
    I needed this today...thanks! - 3/17/2014   12:29:38 PM
  • 6
    This is great stuff. I love how interspersed with good advice articles, you have ones like this, that empower you and tell you what you might not be hearing from other people, and especially not the scale. Kudos SparkPeople for nurturing our emotions as well. - 3/17/2014   12:20:45 PM
  • 5
    Great post! I think I might create a list with some of those points and tape it to my scale! - 3/17/2014   12:16:53 PM
  • 4
    Oh MAN!!! This is the BEST blog on SparkPeople! Thank you!!! - 3/17/2014   10:59:57 AM
  • 3
    What a great article! Just what I needed today. I have been acing my Fitbit step count every day and eating healthy and using moderation and still I was at the top of my maintenance range today. Thanks for helping me put things into perspective. - 3/17/2014   10:45:35 AM

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