Over the last few years, the scale has gotten quite a bad rap and for a good reason – people have been placing their self-worth in the number that they see every time they step on their bathroom scale instead of using it as a tool to manage their fitness progress in a healthy way. Programs that promote unrealistic and aggressive weight loss at any cost, diet companies that put a size on health and photoshopped Instagram pics have all had a role in this emotional rollercoaster of goal weights and crash diets.
The trend has been to promote people throwing out their scales or to focus on non-scale victories such as feeling better, having more energy or being able to do more – which promotes a much healthier relationship with your body and fitness journey.
Unfortunately, many people still struggle with being comfortable with the number on the scale, regardless of how healthy or fit they are feeling or looking. So – should you chuck the scale in the trash on your journey to a fitter you? If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, maybe you should:
- Do you compulsively step on the scale multiple times in a day?
- Do you feel guilty when you see the number on the scale?
- If you see the number go up (even by 0.1kg) do you punish yourself by eating less or exercising more?
- Do you place your self-worth in the number you see?
- Do you give up on your exercise routine when you don’t see a change, even if you are feeling fitter and stronger?
If you answer “Yes” to any of these, perhaps the scale is not the best tool for you. You may need to find alternative ways to track your progress. The scale can be a great way to track progress, but if it’s affecting your mental health then it shouldn’t be one of the methods you use to do this. Fitness and health also encompasses your relationship with your body and your mental state, not just what you’re eating and how much you exercise.
So, if you feel that you don’t have the best relationship with your scale, here are some other ways to track your fitness progress instead:
- Keep a daily mood tracker
- Use a tape measure every 3 – 4 weeks to measure certain points of your body
- Set a realistic fitness goal – e.g. cut my 1km run pace by 15 seconds in 4 weeks
- Notice how your clothes are fitting differently (tighter isn’t always a bad thing! #musclegains)
- Take progress pictures every 4 weeks
Consistency is key with any fitness program – progress may go up or down every few days but if you’re consistent (and persistent), the changes will come. If stepping on the scale is negatively affecting your mood, your self-worth or sabotaging your fitness regime, I say chuck it!