March 1, 2022

Why you need to throw away your scale

Rachel Wadsley, PhD

Does your day start with hopping on the scale? Diet culture tells us countless times the necessity of weighing ourselves at the same time every day. This is how we can keep ourselves “in check.” Maybe you have an app where you log your weight or get a reminder to hop on the scale.  

The scale might be something that gives you a feeling of reassurance. But for many people, it can create a variety of negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. If you’ve ever had a moment of discomfort around weighing yourself or how you feel about your body when it comes to your weight - it’s time to part ways with your scale.  

Let’s explore some warning signs that the scale is harming you and the positive changes you can experience when you re-home the scale in the garbage can. 

5 Warning signs the scale is harming you

1. Dreading weighing in

Have you found yourself putting off weighing in? Are you coming up with reasons why you don’t have time to hop on the scale today?

Guess what… that is completely okay! If you’re feeling this mental dread or notice you are avoiding the scale then it’s time to take a break. Nothing earth-shattering will happen if you tuck that scale away for a week, month, or forever.  

2. Obsessing over the number on the scale

Numbers. Everyone wants to know about the numbers. How much weight have you lost? What do you weigh now? Then you are rewarded or punished based on your answer. 

This positive reinforcement and punishment cycle can be mentally exhausting and downright brutal. We get obsessed with having the “right number” pop up on the scale. If the numbers aren’t what we expect (or want) it's easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts, emotions, and actions

3. Reacting emotionally to the number

How many times have you felt excited or even neutral about stepping on the scale? Our feelings about getting on the scale or sharing our weight with someone, even a doctor, are rarely taken into consideration. Experts have found that daily or even weekly weigh-ins can lead to an increased risk of depression and anxiety for many people. 

4. Flooded with negative thoughts about yourself

We've been taught that our value is based on the numbers on the scale. Our bodies have become the porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If the number is too high or too low then something is wrong… we need to be “just right.” 

This is when your self-critic pops in and pours out all kinds of negative thoughts, comments, and ideas. We can click off social media or walk away from people who make us feel bad, but those looks and words still hurt. And we can't escape our own minds. This can lead to decreased self-esteem and a negative body image

5. Responding with disordered eating or excessive exercise

Everything we’ve talked about so far can lead to you feeling emotionally torn apart and seeking a way to feel better. Feel more in control. Unfortunately, this can set us on path of unhealthy and unsafe behaviors

When the numbers upset us, it’s easy to jump into correction mode. The "solution" has been drilled into our heads by diet culture… it’s all calories in versus calories out. 

All we have to do is log online and see someone whose lost an unrealistic (and unhealthy) amount of weight drinking only aloe vera juice for a week or read about the best way to crush fat with a ridiculous exercise bike routine. Before we know it we’re feeling worse mentally and physically. 

What can happen when you stop weighing yourself?

The good news is you have the ability to take your power and worth back! When you stop weighing in some incredible things can start happening:

  • You find new ways to define your self-worth
  • You reduce the emotional stress on yourself to be a certain weight
  • You discover positive and healthy ways of observing progress
  • Your self-esteem, body image, and emotional well-being improve
  • You pay more attention to body cues around hunger and movement

Parting ways with the scale can be a little scary. It’s been such a big part of how you’ve been taught to measure success and self-worth. If you want support in creating a sustainable and judgment-free fitness plan consider getting a fitness trainer at CoPilot. 

We take a different approach to fitness by focusing on what you can do today and building small habits for long-term change. You get unlimited personalized workouts, nutrition guidance, habit-building advice, live feedback, and support in between sessions. 

Are you ready to toss away the scale and make your emotional and physical health the measurement of success? Try CoPilot for free

Written by Rachel Wadsley, PhD

Explore more CoPilot articles