55 Things the Scale Won't Tell You

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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Thank you for the encouraging and inspiring article! It was just what I needed to put the scale in its place. Report
very inspirational & motivational the scale is not the only judge thanks Report
It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.
- Vince Lombardi Report
Great article! Report
Love this article! Report
Great article. Thank you. Report
Nice way of not saying you haven't lost any or almost no weight. Even these positive lines get disappointing when the weight is just not budging. Report
I tried to take this into consideration my "regularity", too. If I'm a little "bound up" (as Mom would say) I'll be heavier. Report
Great article, well done. I love this article! Report
Wish I could print this off so I could keep it in my journal but it won't let me. I need to be reminded to use positive self talk instead of negative so thanks for sharing this. Report
Great article thanks I had a bad weigh in Report
Too bad those 55 things the scale can't tell you does nothing to help with weight loss. I understand the concept: you're more than a number on the scale. However, this article reads like: "she has a great personality." Report
I use the scale as a guide. It is as much a part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth. I get on it at the same time in the same circumstances from day to day. It is great to see the scale go down but when it does not it is a reminder that I need to be more mindful of what I am putting in my mouth and how much I exercise. Report
Yes. I try to do non-scale victories as much as possible. Report
Timely - I had a bad weigh-in this morning. Really frustrated and glad I read this! Report
Perfect timing to read your post, thanks, you are right! Report
Thanks Report
Love the encouragement! Report
I like when the scale reflects my hard work, but I really like to find nsv. Report
This is fabulous! Report
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
- Aristotle Report
Everyone needs to bookmark this. I'm very overweight and expecting several pounds of loss per week, at this current stage, but due to hormones, have had NONE. But I know it's water weight. I drank like 60 oz of fluid last night (a huge thing of unsweetened tea, and a stevia lemonade), in less than two hours, and didn't go pee. 60 oz. Didn't go pee. I want to scream at my body STOP HOARDING WATER, D--N YOU! STOP IT.

But my waist measurement is down 1 cm. And after two weeks of diet, can see a little change in my face. :) Always have more than one means of measurement, even if it's just progress pictures. Other than ballpark ranges, the scale is a filthy, dirty liar, all the time. Report
Awe, what a blessing. This article gives motivation and hope for continuing this journey. I will not give up on myself; even through the bad days. Report
Wonderful article. Report
Thank you I really needed this today I just went to the doctors and the scale was not nice! Report
My Scale is almost totally on the mark. I am older,,,, my body as a female has stopped that wild up and down it did earlier ,, being a woman as it does at certain times of the month. So yeah I can pretty much depend on it,,, this is NOT the usual for most.

However that does not tell me how hard I am working. For example I "see" the numbers going down,, this year from 246 in Jan to 218 now,,, but, still they are "just numbers." BUT !! Tonight SHOWED me I HAVE lost ! I was down in the public laundry room,,, for 82 units,,,,, and suddenly as I was walking from washer to drying, my pants FELL ALL THE WAY DOWN !! LOL !! Guess it's time for a size 18 ! YEAH ! Report
I divorced my scale a few years ago.
It's a liar and doesn't reflect reality.
The mirror and a nice pair of skinny jeans are definitely better tools to use.
Now, if they had a scale that showed BF% and did NOT show pounds against gravity, I'd be persuadable. Report
Made me appreciate myself more! I do not look forward to my Sunday weekly weigh, but I do now. Thanks for the article. Report
I enjoyed this! Report
I used to think I needed to focus on other things besides the number on the scale. That led to me gaining weight. I'll stick with fixating on that number. Report
I found this article funny! We are asking a whole lot from a simple scale. Its like asking your stove to only allow you to prepare healthy food it doesn't make sense. Report
You provided some great reasons why the scale shouldn't be the only measure of your weight loss. However, I think this article is lacking in ways to prevent wild fluctuations of up to seven lbs of weight gain in a single day. To me, that sound excessive and is surely preventable to some degree. Also, if you weigh only once a week you get a clearer picture than you would if you weighed every single day. Weighing each day is obsessive. Report
So glad to have read this today! Weight is up today...and I've been walking three miles four times a week,and sometimes five times! Report
This came at a good time for me so thank you! The scale is up this week, which is disappointing. Yet I've eaten well this week, exercised more, my health generally is much better and I have built some really good habits in the last few weeks which will stay with me for a long long time. So that's a GOOD week, right?! Report
We get hung up on that "number" we need to take a step back and remember the little steps we took that made up that big step. I took antidepressants for 20 years because the dr said I needed to, but now since I am eating the right stuff, I have lost some pounds and I no longer need to take any medication. I must remind myself, that I didn't gain weight over night so I can't expect to lose it over night either. Any loss is a good loss. Thank you for reminding me. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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!! Report
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. Report
Thank you ...I needed a reminder that there is more to me than a number on the scales. Report
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? Report
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. Report
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 Report
Great article. I get so depressed when I look at the scale and it fluctuates. This helps put it in perspective. Report
Needed that today Report
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. Report
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! Report
Really needed that. Thanks
Thanks, I needed that in 2015 and I still need it in 2017 Report