I Hate My Scale – But Not For The Reason You Might Think…

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I Hate My Scale – But Not For The Reason You Might Think…

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I have two digital scales. Not because I’m obsessive (much!) but because someone gave me a second scale and I didn’t know what to do with it. I don’t get on two scales every morning (much!) but having two scales has given me a strong opinion about scales in general. Not the weight the scale shows, but about the scales themselves.

My scales are relatively good quality – maybe $40 to $50 each. However, in my opinion, they are unreliable, irregular and disappointing. I weigh myself every morning. That’s not my recommendation to you, it’s simply the way I start my day. By my calculation, in the last 10 years I have been on a scale 3,650 times (that’s not counting the double checking return trips).

As a scale “expert,” I can tell you that position and balance are everything when it comes to a weigh in. Stand on the outer edge of the scale, stand dead center, hang onto the door jam for balance, time the placement of your second foot – it all makes a difference on the reading. I have one friend who claims you have to get on your scale three times before you see your true weight. I believe her.

Sadly, we dieters give our scales way too much power over our moods. We are upset if we gain an ounce, devastated if the scale is unchanged and grief stricken if we had Chinese food last night and show a gain of five pounds (from sodium).

One good reason to go to a diet class is the program’s scale, which is presumably a higher quality and more accurate than a bathroom scale. You can’t balance on one foot and lean on the counter when being weighed in at a diet class. Those scales should be accurate (even if you hate what they say).

Just a quick observation on when and how often one should weigh in.

  • Weigh in every day. For me, being regimented on my diet is critical. That’s my accountability (which happens most mornings at 6:00 AM). Unfortunately a daily weigh in can also be a daily “Are you kidding me! I thought I did so well yesterday – what happened?!” Morning weigh in is obviously more likely to show a loss. Courageous is the dieter who weighs in after a meal!
  • Weekly weigh inworks for some people and it’s a lot less emotional than facing that unforgiving scale every morning. Many program recommend weekly because it relieves some dieting pressures.
  • Never weighing in or when you remember to weigh in. Personally, I can’t imagine dieting without some kind of measurement. I have a friend who does not use a scale, but measures her success by the way her clothes fit. That’s fine; it works for her. But I need numbers and goals.

My final comment on scales is the one in the doctor’s office. Can you imagine how many times the nurse hears: “Please subtract five pounds for my clothes and shoes.” Sometimes that doctor’s scale is the hardest because – depending on what it says – there is a high likelihood that there will be a kindly lecture about “You could stand to lose a few pounds” or a less kindly “You’ve got to lose weight for your health.”

I will continue to use my one (or two) scales every morning and I will try and avoid playing the balancing game in the false hope that the finicky scale will be confused and show a lower figure. On the other hand, there might be some days when touching the wall while I balance on the scale will give me a psychological boost to commit more strongly to my diet. Time and the scale will tell.