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Why I Hate the Scale

I absolutely hate stepping on the scale. Not because I think I am fat and am afraid of the number it might show me, but because the scale does not show the whole picture and can be very discouraging. Here are some examples:

160 to 157

Between these two pictures I only lost 3 pounds, however I lost almost 10% body fat going from 31.6% to 21.8%. Only 3 pounds!! If I went based only on the scale, I would be very discouraged, and at times when I made the mistake of weighing myself I was.


Between these two pictures there is a difference of ZERO pounds. None. Nada. Zilch. Hard to believe right? This right here is why I hate the scale and why I say that it lies.

Sure, it may tell you how much you weigh total, and that is the truth, but that doesn’t show the whole picture. It doesn’t tell you how many pounds of fat you are losing and how many pounds of muscle you are gaining, or how many inches you are losing.

So many people just starting on the road to fitness can become quickly discouraged by the scale. I know people who weigh themselves daily, or even multiple times a day, who have become almost obsessed with weighing themselves, and become extremely discouraged any time their weight fluctuates.

My advice to anyone starting on a fitness journey is this:

1 – Take pictures. Lots of them. You may not want to show them to anyone right now, or even look at them yourself. But when you start reaching your goals and are happy to take pictures of yourself, you will be very disappointed if you have nothing to compare them to in order to show yourself and others just how far you have come.

2 – Take your measurements and get your body fat % tested. These two things will be such a better measurement of your success than the scale and will give you a better picture of where you truly are.

3 – Have someone hide the scale from you. I try to weigh in no more often than 1-2 times a month, but this takes some serious self control. I used to be someone who weighed multiple times a week and I would become so down and want to give up when I saw that my weight either hadn’t changed or had gone up, but now I simply use it to make sure I am staying in the same range and if it happens to have dropped at all, well that is a nice surprise too.

So, stay positive and remember, the scale is only a tool for guidance, it does NOT show the whole picture.

104 votes + -


MrsRadder wrote 73 months ago:
Great reminder of muscle vs fat
rmsturdy wrote 73 months ago:
The other thing I've noticed is that if you were active in the past, it's a lot easier to lose weight and return to a former "fighting weight" than it is for someone who was never very active.
DyanCB wrote 73 months ago:
I needed this, you have no idea. I am addicted to getting on that d**n scale every morning. I am in weaning off mode right now. Your pics are proof of the incomplete story the scale tells. Thanks for posting this and writing this blog.
Qarol wrote 73 months ago:
This resonates with me. I loathe the scale. However, for some reason, when I weigh nearly everyday, it keeps me paying closer attention to my diary. I've gone long stretches without weighing, only to gain a lot of weight, somehow deluding myself into thinking it wasn't that much. So even though it's discouraging sometimes, I still weigh almost every day, as my daily reminder to keep at it and not gain this weight back.
msw39 wrote 73 months ago:
I totally agree. I am so discouraged when I get on the scales because I can tell from my clothes that I have lost but nothing shows on the scales. I do weights at the gym and think I build muscle quite easily, so good to see that I am not alone so thanks for the post.
achievers wrote 73 months ago:
I thank everyone for their post. I too have been discouraged by the number of pounds I have lost even though my calorie counting math says I should be losing 1.5 lbs a week AND I am working with a personal traininer. Getting on the scale helps me understand how sugar, salt and alcohol impact my body's level of fluid retention. I hear all of the time about building muscle and how it weighs more than fat, etc. Yadda yadd. I get it and it is true that I can weigh the same for a month and then get on the scale one day and have dropped 8 lbs. I have lost a total of 60 lbs and 4 dress sizes (18-14) in 18 months so progress is happening. I look and feel DISCIPLINED. And that is what I wanted to learn about myself. Can I be fit, can I make healthy choices, can I take good care of myself. So a win is a win is a win, no matter what the scale says.
ladynica wrote 73 months ago:
Very good reminders.
greenteasky wrote 73 months ago:
I totally agree with you. Looking at #'s on scale really discourages me and I end up giving up. I haven't weighted myself for 2 weeks now and I feel less pressured to lose weight.

aj_31 wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you for this reminder. I can't tell you how down I've become lately because since I've started lifting I've gained 7 lbs while everyone else seems to be losing weight. I've taken pictures and measurements. My pictures to me don't look any different and I'm slowly losing 1/2 inch at a time. Its so hard to be patient and to keep at it. You look great!
GaryMaybank wrote 73 months ago:
I too like DylanCB am addicted to weighing myself every day, and am also weening myself off the scale. If I'm being honest, then I will only do it every Sunday. Just to get an idea.

Thanks for your pictures and your post. I believe they've put me on the right state of mind.
Cindym82 wrote 73 months ago:
I hate my scale, I see the numbers darely moving and than I look at my before pics and think there is no way I still look like well done and you look great!!
lambertj wrote 73 months ago:
I love this blog! It was though I was meant to see it today, no weight loss in a month but I definitely see changes in my body. Thank you for the inspiration :)
MenaMena wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you for sharing this!
Resacup78 wrote 73 months ago:
Your blog is so very true about the scale. I have to resist the urge to "weigh in " and have resorted to measurements and pictures. I will only weigh myself once a month now.
k2sul wrote 73 months ago:
Your post could hardly come at a better time for me. Im working so hard, with cardio, weights and training sessions but the weight is hardly budging. My wife (and others) keep commenting on how my shape is changing but because I never see myself before and after, I cant judge it for myself. I've lost 32 pounds so far, and mad a terrible mistake of not taking pictures when I started. I had become quite frustrated with the process over the weekend but your pics, especially the two where your weight didn't change at all has really changed my mindset on this in less than 5 seconds. Thanks for sharing this.
emgawne wrote 73 months ago:
i am SO incredibly happy i could help any of you out who are struggling. i know personally how tough it can be to not see the number moving even though you are working your butt off. keep up the hard work all of you! :)
lcarr60 wrote 73 months ago:
I too want to thank you for this blog. I tend to get on the scale everyday. I weigh in on Mondays. I can get on the scale for 2 days in a row before Monday comes and have lost. However, on Monday morning, it looks like I gained since the last weigh-in or nothing is budging. It is discouraging. You see others losing each week and you nothing. You want to give up, however, I am trying to hang in there to see what I will weigh in a year. Thank you for your inspiration! Please feel free to add me as a friend for support, I could use your inspiration.
sma83 wrote 73 months ago:
You have NO IDEA how much I needed this! I was literally in tears just this morning cus the scale had gone up a pound after a very good week of eating clean and going to the gym. I just couldnt imagine it had gone up! I will try to keep all this in mind and not let what the scale says get me so down. Thank you again!!! *hugs*
TheLaser wrote 73 months ago:
Wow, everyone should see this! The difference is SO dramatic.
desireelenayr wrote 73 months ago:
This is just what I needed to read today. I make the mistake of weighing myself daily because I'm obsessed with seeing the "numbers". I have been consistently losing weight since I started until the last few days where I have stayed the same. I woke my butt off at the gym and watch every thing I eat, so not seeing those numbers continue to go down is very very very discouraging. Thank you for posting this because you just pulled me out of my rut, I was ready to give up!
bizp11 wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you for the great reminder! Those pictures are amazing proof that I REALLY needed to see based on what my own scale experiences have been in the last 2 months!
jpinge wrote 73 months ago:
I needed this today! Thank you:)
Jessies_journey wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you! I needed to read that!!!
STrooper wrote 73 months ago:
Excellent post and pictures. I wish I had taken a few more pictures and my initial measurements when I began my weight descent. Last year I virtually flat-lined in weight but I knew stuff was happening because people who only saw me every month or two kept telling me that I looked like I lost more weight AND my need for smaller clothes was becoming more and more telling.

I now weigh myself once per week and measure once per month. Thanks for your thoughtful presentation.
caschw wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you so much for the reminder. I got up so discouraged by that mean scale this AM and had exercised more last week than I had in a month.
mbsoulo wrote 73 months ago:
I get frustrated when I step on a scale If my weight stays the same, I lose motivation. What I can say is that my clothes are getting more loose around my midsection. I will start weighing in every 2 weeks or so, but I'm not going to live my life by the scale. physically fit and
JACKYGETNMYBODYBACK wrote 73 months ago:
I was feeling kind of discouraged today because once again I don't have a weight lost and i'm busting my butt working out- thanks for the reminder
angelcop74 wrote 73 months ago:
this is such great advice! I lost a lot of weight very fast, and then nothing for almost a month. A friend suggested i take measurements because i was working out, and eating better.. I didnt take measurements until i'd already lost alot of weight but the next time i checked them the scale still hadnt moved, but i'd lost 10inches around my body. Now i dont weigh myself at all because i feel better and people are noticing how different i look, and so i decided the scale can suck it for now! lol
p.s. Your pics are great!
dexddcb wrote 73 months ago:
I am someone that weighs almost every day. So far I have been encouraged by it. (51 out of 80 as of today using My Fitness Pal and Nutrisystems) I cut myself some slack if the scale reflects a swing. Usually I can tie it back to something I have done differently. I guess as long as I can explain the slow down then it is ok. I get right back on track and down it goes. When I get down closer to my goal, I may have a different opinion.
Congratulations to everyone. We are all doing great!
YoungerNextYear59937 wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you thank you thank you for taking the pictures to prove it. I have told my MFP friends over and over and still keep telling them, but I'm afraid they don't believe me. You have the pictures to prove it. Too bad I didn't do the same thing when I started. I'm at maintenance now. By the way, you look amazing! Great job!
ELGcrg wrote 73 months ago:
Boy I needed to hear this. I weighed myself this morning and only 1 pound this week has come off. I have been dedicated with the exception of 1 day that I strayed from my routine of counting calories and excercise but felt pretty frustrated and thinking "what is the point". Thanks for the encouragement.
laurapoenitsch wrote 73 months ago:
Amen sister!!! My sentiments exactly. I don't care what the scale says. My jeans fit better everyday and that is my proof. If feel stronger and put more into my workout right along with it.
jackieb1977 wrote 73 months ago:
you have said everything i needed to hear. i weigh myself obsessivly every day but had noticed a differnce in clothes fitting and some muscle definiton showing where it had never been seen before and i thought i was going mad,how could the sclaes never move yet i am exercising more eating less. i shall chuck away them scales, and take more pics ..thank-you
this is just the motivation i needed.
harlanJEN wrote 73 months ago:
Rock on!!! Absolutely right ..... The scale does not know it all. I'm an example of that as well. Great job !!
Vonnie2006 wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you, you were speaking directly to me.
krichard1010 wrote 73 months ago:
Elli, I am so proud of you. You are an inspiration to so many, including me:)
nevertolateat55 wrote 73 months ago:
Thank you so much. This was the very thing that I needed to hear today. I have been so discouraged. I went through surgery, the gastric sleeve. I was eating like a bird and drinking protein shakes 2 x a day. Otherwise mostly liquids. For three and a half weeks the scales said I lost 6 lbs. Finally almost on the fourth week I dropped 6 lbs, than 2 lbs daily for a total of 30 lbs. And than none ever since. My scales again refuses to budge. I am working out and walking/jogging a mile at least 4-5 days a week. I am on the 9th week and have decided to avoid the scales like the plague.

But your message and pictures boomed my confidence and I will be on the up side. Thanks bunches.
MOCupcake wrote 73 months ago:
I completely agree! I try to stay completely away from scales and instead take measurements. That is where I can see my improvement and it helps me see the results.
suziecue66 wrote 73 months ago:
Thanks for this post.
cnikolina wrote 73 months ago:
Thanks for this post - Im having an issue with the scale. This post encouraged me that my efforts are not for nothing and it's matter of measuring success not by the scale alone.
Ding724 wrote 73 months ago:
You are SMOKIN hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just sayin ;)
JessLLoser wrote 73 months ago:
I hate my scale too. But I also hate the way I look. YOu look great!
Erica0718 wrote 73 months ago:
Awesome comparison pic, the scal does suck! You look great! Did you drop any pant sizes?
nursenelson wrote 73 months ago:
thanks :)
bonnersisters wrote 73 months ago:
Thanks for sharing, so needed to read this today, those evil scales just keep going up and down even though i'm now looser in jeans and look smaller.
Backfat55 wrote 73 months ago:
The pictures don't seem all that different. 1)You have a tan in the second one, 2)Your legs are spread a little further apart, 3) your arms are up over your head. The second picture/pose is more flattering. If you were standing exactly like you were in the first one, maybe I could see a difference? However, you're not, and I don't. You look great tho.
Bikini27 wrote 73 months ago:
You look fabulous!! I DO see a difference, having spent a lot of time studying the human form. Also being privy to your workout diary, I know how hard you workout. Good job, gorgeous, and *thank you* for sharing this!!
sullykat wrote 73 months ago:
I don't know what she is talking about! There is such a visible difference between the two photos. You look so freakin' buff and rock hard in the second pic.
itsmedicinalbacon wrote 73 months ago:
I dont see a big difference either-except the tan but you are much fitter than me-great job!
emgawne wrote 73 months ago:
So even if you don't see a difference in the second two, which I'll tell you I measured and there is a 2.5 inch difference in my hips... How can you not see a difference in the first two? Flabby stomach to abs? Definitely a huge difference there.
But that's your opinion, and you're entitled. Just don't share it with me and try to bring me down.
Backfat55 wrote 73 months ago:
Not trying to bring you down. You look great

virgogirl916 wrote 73 months ago:
This post is so helpful. Thank you and you look amazing.
itsmedicinalbacon wrote 73 months ago:
you looked fit to begin with! keep doing what you are doing!
itsmedicinalbacon wrote 73 months ago:
You can completely tell on your profile pic!!
acresfield wrote 73 months ago:
It took me months to realise this. Thanks for the great post.
Cess_FND wrote 73 months ago:
What excercise regime do you follow ?? You look great !

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