Attention Scale Addicts, part 2

Latest blog post from Jason Seib

Brace yourself.  I’m coming at you with all guns blazing on this one and you aren’t going to believe what you’re about to see.  First things first, if you haven’t read my diatribe condemning your bathroom scale, please begin there.

Alright, now that you are caught up, let’s revisit Deb from my last post.  Deb has been kind enough to let me exploit her for your education on these here interwebs and I am very grateful.  Showing the world where she started isn’t easy, but she is a kind person who wants to help you and she has accomplished some remarkable things in her health and fitness.

So here is Deb at the beginning of a contest we held at my gym in January of last year.

Here she is at a size zero with her nutrition dialed.  For the full effect of this picture, place your thumb on your screen directly over the ugly guy on the right.

And here she is a couple of weeks ago after a lot of hard work that has dramatically increased her fitness capacity.  I didn’t actually intend for this post to be all about Deb’s accomplishments, so I won’t repeat her numbers here.  Suffice it to say, my money would be on Deb versus the average American girl half her age in a contest of any exercise I have ever convinced her to perform.  Now for the really good part.

I spent my entire career waiting patiently for the right situation that would produce the picture below.

Now that you are done staring in amazement, eyes darting back and forth between the two Debs and down to “155lbs” to make sure you read it right, let this information really sink in.  Let it change your perspective to something healthier.  Forever!

Now go throw away your scale.

Faced with the facts above, basing your goals – or even worse, your happiness – on the number on your scale is absolutely ridiculous.  I’ll give you an example of why weight is useless information in all but extreme cases.  Let’s pretend Deb came to me at a weight of 200 lbs and told me she wanted to get down to 155 lbs.  Which side of the picture above do you think she would prefer?  Do you think she would have been satisfied with the left side?  Look at her face.  She is ecstatic with her body on the right, but on the left she can hardly stand to have her picture taken.  We can glean from this that goals based on weight are too vague to be useful.  If I had only given you her circumference measurements (waist, hips, thighs, bust, etc.) and no photos, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind which 155 lb Deb you would have chosen as the more aesthetically appealing.  But when you look in the mirror and see a body like the Deb on the left you probably say, “Damn, I need to lose some weight.”  Now you have undeniable evidence that defies that thought.  Losing weight is not what you want and pursuing a number on your scale is not the path to success.  It will drive you insane, though.  But that’s probably not your goal.

Change your perspective to something healthier.  Forever!

For those of you that may be having a hard time believing how all this can possibly be true, click here and hit Deb up on Facebook.  She will be happy to befriend you and answer your questions, but please be reasonable.  She has not volunteered to coach you, just to be your motivation.

Edit: One little point I left out of this post is that Deb totaled up her calories just for fun a few weeks ago.  She came up with an average of slightly over 3900 per day.  Take that, calorie restriction diets!

Comments

  1. Sally says

    You finally got me. I read all the other stuff about getting rid of my scale, and my response was always “yeah, but…” I’m done. Throwing out the scale today. Thank you.

  2. Jackie says

    I have never been a scale person – mostly because I didn’t need to be. I have weighed the same weight since high school (hovering between 110 and 115 lbs). Three months ago, I found a great crossfit trainer and started eating paleo. I went to the doctor a week ago and almost had a heart attack when I saw the number on the scale – 130 lbs! I had gained 15 pounds in three months! Then I read this post and realized that my 130 lb body kicks my 115 lb body’s butt! I got my first dead-hang pullup, first pistol squat, first handstand pushup and broke 200# on my deadlift. Those are things 115# me could never do.

    • Jaime says

      Congrats. A capable woman is so much hotter (at least to me) than a woman who is simply skinny, any day. Those are awesome accomplishment to be proud of!

  3. Alicia says

    Deb’s experience is exactly what mine has been in the last 6 months. I started a bootcamp type style of training in January, and I know I’m two sizes smaller, so much more healthy and happy, but exactly the same weight!

  4. Candice says

    Wow! A picture really is worth a thousand words! I have noticed a similar effect in that my body is very different now at the same weight than it was a year ago but I am still addicted to my scale – only difference is now I don’t take it as the be all and end all, just a reference point. I know it ‘lies’ under certain circumstances.

  5. Kayla says

    This is amazing…I taken pictures similar to the left side a couple of times! I like to call it my “Sad Fat Face”!

    Incredible post and great motivation!

  6. says

    For me, what is more important than my scale is just taking measurements with my tape measure about every 3rd month. I don’t check anything day to day or week to week, but I do measure myself (as does my tailor) just to see what kind of gains I’m experiencing. Seeing a 3″ gain from muscle does more for me than when I saw the 3″ loss from fat!

    Great post, I crossposted it.

  7. says

    Thanks for that post!

    So, check this out: This past Monday, I went for a DXA body scan. It is considered the most accurate method of measuring body composition, because two low-level X-rays are scanning your body and measuring volume & density of all the various bones / tissues in your body. Using the volume and density measurements, it is easy to calculate masses of all the components. The scanner also produces a false-color image of your body, showing the skeleton, muscle layers, and fat layer. It was 0.4 lb off of what the scale read when they weighed me prior to getting on the scanning bed. Pretty accurate stuff!

    I am 5’5″, somewhere between a size 10-12 (to give perspective), and weighed 168.8 lb at the clinic that day. The analysis showed I am 27% body fat, after subtracting out 11% fat from the total composition as “essential” (meaning ‘the fat that surrounds every cell membrane, your brain tissue, i.e. the fat you need for your body to function correctly’). They completed an “ideal composition” analysis, landing me at 18% body fat (for a long-time Crossfitter like myself) to 21% body fat (for a “normal” person). To get down to 18% body fat, they calculated I’d have to lose 13 lb of fat.

    Considering that as I continue working at Crossfit, I’ll gain muscle, that “ideal weight” of 155 lb (168 – 13 lb fat) will actually increase, and I’ll probably just go in for another scan in, say, 6 months to check in.

    Why am I telling you this? Because the body scan helped me see that I’m not 30 lb overweight like I would have assumed I was. And why would I have assumed I was? Because my ex-competitive-gymnast-turned-Crossfitter older sister had a similar scan performed, and we are almost the same height (I’m slightly taller) and have very similar body styles. And guess what: at 18% body fat, which she was at the time of her scan, she weighed 122 lb.

    My summary of this whole situation: I am glad I got the scan. Stepping on the scale was depressing, because conventional wisdom (ha!) says I should weigh less. I actually used to weigh 150 for a while, but that was when I was killing myself doing cardio kickboxing and spinning classes that never helped me ride my beloved road bike any faster. Oh yeah, and I was having chronic stomach problems because I wasn’t eating Paleo.

    Yesterday I started using Fitday to make myself aware of what I am eating. I am motivated to dial-in my diet and get stronger and hotter! ;)

    • JasonS says

      Congrats on that revelation! It can set you free. Just don’t get hung up on Fit Day too much either. Weighing and measuring is okay once in a while, but it can get addicting as well.

  8. says

    Well done Deb! And well done Jason. The concept that weight has very little to do with composition and overall health is one that cannot be repeated enough.

  9. Arlene says

    Amazing, amazing results Deb…not sure I would have fully believed it until I realized I was seeing the same results just this morning. I haven’t moved on the scales in 4 months but my %of body fat went from 30.8% to 18.3% in one year. Sure I have lost a little weight but not as much as I thought I had to, to look and feel this great!
    Keep up the great work

  10. Jillian says

    Amazing! I loved the Part One post and resolved to stop weighing myself after I read it. The very next day, I went to the doctor, where I was weighed in the middle of the afternoon with all of my clothes on. When the scale read five pounds higher than I thought I was at, it ruined the rest of my day. Needless to say, this post hit home for me. As a 5’0″ woman, it’s been difficult for my entire life not to think I should weigh 105 lbs, even though I haven’t weighed that since I was twelve years old. I’m finally starting to accept that my level of fitness and attractiveness has little to do with that completely arbitrary number. Thanks to you and Deb for the striking reminder of this.

  11. Casey E says

    Had to pass this article on to my boyfriend. He was/is a big guy doing the weight loss thing. He has dropped 50+ lbs but is still looking at the numbers on the scale and not focusing on how he feels about himself and in his clothes. I sent this to him with a note that maybe now the big weight is off it is time to take a different approach to the rest of the getting lean and fit process.
    Thanks!

    • JasonS says

      Tell him to focus on fitness capacity goals. Lifting heavier weights, performing more work in less time, and achieving new skill (pull-ups, jump rope double-unders, hand stands, etc.) makes a lot more sense than that stupid scale ever will. He will be motivated by accomplishing new things all the time, all the while getting smaller by accident.

  12. says

    All right. I’m officially convinced. I’ve known intellectually for some time that the scale doesn’t matter, but I still weigh myself, maybe perversely hoping that the numbers would go down for my own peace of mind. I’m going to quit weighing myself NOW. Thanks for this reality check!

  13. Tracy says

    As a life-long struggler with various EDs, I’m FINALLY (!) starting to get the message. Thanks very much and Deb: you are my hero!

  14. Dana says

    What about when it’s not scale addiction (I usually weigh about once a week) and you’re still 80-90 pounds over where you need to be? What’s wrong with just using it as a sort of a road sign on the way to your goal? It’s weird, some Paleo bloggers only give advice for fat loss, and other Paleo bloggers seem to assume that everyone reading them is in a normal weight range already. I wish people would start realizing there are all sorts of folks lurking out there reading their stuff.

    Because I promise you, I can’t turn all that fat to muscle, still be in the 220s (at 5’6″ and female), and look anything like normal.

    I LOVE your pictures though. And for someone who’s within shouting distance of normal weight, or already there but with bad body comp, it IS an important wake-up call.

    • Jason says

      My point is that you have no valid reason for knowing your weight. Nobody, not even you, can look at you and see your weight. People were fat and skinny and well muscled and every size and shape in between for a couple million years before the invention of the scale. And just like today, they wanted to LOOK better. And just like today, the scale can’t answer the question, “How do I LOOK?”

      If you had a 200 inch waist you would still be exactly as included in this post as everyone else reading it.

    • Renee says

      I understand your post as someone who also has a long ways to go to get to healthy….

      but one thing I’ve ALWAYS laughed at is what the ‘normal’ range is for me – I’m 5’5 and normal for me is 135 lbs… that would mean a lose of 105lbs for me…. and well that will never happen as under my fat ‘stores’ I do have a lot of muscle and heavy set bones. It’s OK and I’ve come to accept I will always weigh more than the ‘average’ girl…

      I no longer use the scale as a comparison to others but something to say OK I’m on target for losing fat… eventually I’ll throw the thing out once I lose the fat and get the body I desire… not a skinny body but a fit, healthy, and strong body!

      I now set different goals – by August 30th I want to run 1 mile without walking and complete a CrossFit workout doing assisted pullups (no longer jumping/box)…. and this post was part of why I changed my fitness goal focus!!!

    • Heidi says

      The problem with using a scale as a “road sign” in a muscle-building and fat-burning program is that eventually that road sign will point you in the wrong direction. I have experienced this every time I have been on a program that “worked”. For example in in mid-May 2003 I started on a weight lifting, clean eating type of program (only 20-30 min of cardio in the morning), I started out in a women’s size 28! By July 4th of 2003 I was in a size 18. Professional trainers at the gym I was working out at all thought I had lost at least 50-60 lbs, some thought I had gastric bypass surgery. My scale said I had “only” lost 15 lbs, my tape measure said I had burned lots of fat – especially off my middle.
      I started getting discouraged with my “lack of progress”, and eventually abandoned the program. The scale is not your friend and it lies!

  15. Kim says

    This post makes complete sense to me now. When I first started doing Crossfit 2.5 yrs ago, my results were amazing in the first 6 months once I got my nutrition in line. But over the past year my actual weight has crept up slowly. I was getting very frustrated with the scale. I have gained back the 20lbs that I initially lost. Even though my before and after pictures aren’t as dramatic as Deb’s are , I now know that
    I’m okay. As long as I keep doing Crossfit and staying on track with my nutrition, I’ll be healthy which is all I ever wanted. Thanks Sara for helping me to say goodbye to my scale.

  16. Andy Barge says

    Sarah, were you a “scale addict” yourself when you first started? If so when did this change for you?

    By the way on a completely different note, you have the best giggle on the podcasts :-)

    • Sarah says

      I was not a scale addict. As a kid I was super skinny and weighed in at a whopping 95 lbs and that’s how much I weighed when I first found out I was pregnant with my oldest son Coby. I forever in my head had the idea that I was “supposed” to weigh 95 lbs and of course I haven’t seen that number in over 16 years. I never obsessed on my weight but after I gained a ton of it and stepped on the scale right before I started working out/eating paleo, that was the last time that I did that because fortunately I had this awesome coach named Robb Wolf who told me to throw the thing out the window. I know that currently I weigh a heck of a lot more then my old “perfect weight” of 95 lbs but at 95 lbs I could never dead lift what I do now and I like how I look a heck of a lot more both at my fattest and my skinniest so caring about the numbers on the scale is not anything I even think about. : )

  17. Meagan says

    You’ve convinced me…I’ll throw it away. Or at least stash it in the garage :) Is there a 12 step program to getting rid of a scale? I can already admit I have a problem.

    • JasonS says

      Just a 3 step program:
      1. pick up your scale.
      2. walk to the garbage can.
      3. drop your scale in the garbage can.

      :)

  18. says

    Fabulous! The only time I have lost measurable amounts of weight was when I had pneumonia. The only time I dropped dress sizes was when I did aerobics while at the same time gaining three pounds. Its all about the inches.

  19. says

    This is exactly what I needed to hear! I’ve been eating a mostly paleo diet for a month or so, and focusing less on what sort of work outs I ‘should’ be doing and more on having fun type of body movement. The scale has barely been moving, which has given me many depressed days. I’m WAY over what my healthy weight, or body size should be. But I’ve had people notice that my shape has changed. The tape measure doesn’t even catch it, but just over all build is shifting even though the weight isn’t moving much. So great to see how much muscle can change the body without major weight changes. And GO DEB! That’s amazing :)

  20. Jennifer says

    Wow – absolutely wow! It sure goes to show that 155lbs can look drastically different. I will now stop agonizing over my scale. Maybe I’ll weigh myself monthly, or not at all. Or it will sit in my bathroom and my kids will weigh random household objects (a game at my place). I would much rather myself look and feel better than reach a magical number.

  21. says

    Holy smokes! That’s amazing.

    I can admit I too stress over my weight rather than function too much. I stayed the same weight even when training for Ironman Texas but my fitness level is years above what it was. But damn that scale number still bugs me. I’ll get over it some day.

  22. sarena says

    This is GREAT! And yes, since recommitting to being strict with COMPLETELY dialed in food etc, I have dropped about 5 dress sizes without too too much change on the actual scale. I hate that I need to weigh myself for Oly meets though…especially as I want to drop a weight class. Now I realize that I need to be wherever I will be at the morning of the meet.

    Thanks again and Deb, you LOOK and must FEEL fantastic. And I am a similar age and all my friends are gaining weight from inactivity and perimenopause. I love feeling and looking great!

  23. says

    Thanks for the follow-up post. This is very poignant and smart. I feel that this was everything you were trying to communicate in the first, but much more concise and brilliant. Wonderful!

    • Jason says

      I’m glad you got my point this time without having to infer that I might be sexist. :) I was hoping you would reply to my reply in the last one.

  24. Sandy Lobring says

    I want to thank you for you AMAZING cookbook. Paleo was always hard for me as my family wouldn’t eat what I was eating. Now they ask for seconds! It was also difficult to stay on track as I would get bored with a piece of chicken and lots of vegetables at just about every meal. Your cookbook makes every meal exciting and VERY tasty. Even for someone like me who is not a very adventurous eater. Thanks again. Here’s to a better life for my whole family.

  25. says

    I agree with this post 100%. I recommend that every individual ditches their scale just like they ditch grains. That number on the scale is completely meaningless.

    You can look at yourself in the mirror and tell if you are losing weight or not. It does not even matter week to week. Ask yourself how you feel. Do bodyweight exercises and keep track of how many pull-ups, push-ups and squats you can do!

    Ditch that scale. It’s stretching you out. Eat whole food and stop worrying. I am even telling people who are more than 300 lbs to do this. Just try it. What do you have to lose?

  26. says

    This post really couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been starting to feel slightly depressed about my weight because I really feel as though I am gaining weight even though I am doing everything the same than say, 6 months ago when I was “lighter”… but really what I think it is, is muscle gain. Or so I am going to just continue to think because it psychologically makes me feel better. Ha Ha. I try really hard NOT to weigh myself and these days, I will NOT look at the scale. I may just keep it that way regardless because honestly, I like the way I look – that’s all I need.

    youtube.com/user/laleapfrogging

  27. Glory says

    Usually don’t comment on blogs but this is unbelievable ! Thank you so much for posting this i have been exercising and have seen a huge difference in my body but staying the same weight. I really needed to see this.Thank you so much again!

  28. Wenchypoo says

    Like the BMI chart, the bathroom scale is a lousy indicator of HEALTH, which is what we should be focused on–not some number of how much our fat and muscle weigh.

    We should be more concerned with what we CAN’T measure in our own bathrooms: cholesterol levels, long-term blood sugar levels (A-1C), inflammation (C-RP), and urinalysis. Daily blood sugar we CAN monitor for ourselves–in the bathroom and elsewhere. These are indicators of health, not some “guilt device” like a scale or BMI chart.

    It doesn’t matter how much we weigh–are we healthy enough to carry it around?

    Remember that Arnold Schwartzenegger in his body-building prime would be considered obese by scale and BMI metrics!

    Avoiding intake of sugar through grains, starches, and dairy is doing more for my HEALTH than feeling guilty about my BMI and how much I weigh. Yes, I’m overweight by traditional measures, but my internal indicators all have me in better shape than my own doctor…with no drugs!

    • JasonS says

      Great work! But don’t waist your time worrying about cholesterol levels. A1C, CRP, triglycerides all can offer usable info, but not cholesterol. And yes, BMI is a gross generalization.

  29. Kate says

    Congratulations, Deb! You look so healthy and vibrant!

    I also used to obsess about the scale. About a year and a half ago, I cut refined sugar out of my diet and lost 18 lbs. in three months. I was not exercising. I barely went down a size and still lacked muscle tone. A woman I “know” through an exercise forum lost 36 lbs.–only twice what I’d lost–and went down EIGHT sizes! She is strong, healthy and happy with her body. As she also likes to say: Throw away the scales!

  30. Leslie W says

    Oh,man. Scale addict here. I weight EVERY morning. I’ve lost 75lb in the past year. Starting at 202lb for being only 5ft tall! Obese, for sure. I’m going into a size 6 now, but honestly, I still feel like crap. I’m actually beating myself for eating too much fruit. (I have reactive hypoglycemia so I need to watch sugars/simple carbs.) Did she get to eat so many calories because of weight training or because her calories were paleo? Combination? I’m intrigued!

    • JasonS says

      Deb is a true carnivore and has always loved meat. This translates to lower than average carb intake just because of her personal taste preferences. Deb works out 3 or 4 times per week, always less than an hour, and never does cardio. She lifts weights like a monster these days (examples here: http://primitivestimulus.com/2011/05/limitations/) but she was severely regressed when she came to me. It actually took me 2 weeks to get her a single unweighted squat. Now she can back squat 190 lbs!

      The one thing that makes Deb truly special is her dedication. She is every trainer’s dream. She did EXACTLY what I told her to do. She never questioned me and she never cheated.

      I should also mention that we have many great success stories at our gym. Deb is amazing, but I don’t want to detract from the hard work so many of our clients have put in to achieving their amazing goals. (You guys know who you are. I hope you don’t feel left out!)

  31. Dorothy says

    What an inspiration- especially for those of us older than models, but want a healthier life for ourselves and our families.

  32. Jodi Wibel says

    After 5 months Paleo and 6 weeks of Crossfit, I pitched my scale too. Only down 6 total pounds but the difference in the mirror is immeasurable! Never felt or looked better in my 39 years! This cookbook has been a HUGE part of my success, by the way. Thanks for all you do, Sarah!

  33. Maggie says

    This is a fantastic post. Thank you… so many people, women in particular… NEED this information.

  34. Michele says

    WOW … I have become a scalaholic myself. I joined Crossfit close to 3 months now and the scale isnt moving but my body shape is. I just can’t get away from the scale but after reading this post I have realized alot. Thank you so much now off to my Crossfit class!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Michele

  35. Daniela says

    I haven’t owned a scale for several years. I recently considered getting one as the “need” to keep up with weight started creeping on me-I started getting nervous that I should watch my weight more closely. Thank goodness this article came at just the right time! I am considering declining being weighed at the doctor’s office! I am in the best shape of my life with Crossfit and Paleo. I don’t need that number to know things are OK.

  36. Shannon Franklin says

    Great job! Very impressive. It’s nice to see the side by side comparison. Believe me, I’ll be sharing your excellent blog with all of my clients!

  37. says

    The scales that we need to be concerned with is the input scales, the kitchen scales. Getting the proportions right, see where the calories are coming from, and clean out the garbage out of the diet. Using caloric density and a kitchen scales puts numbers to the food, and soon the mis-information becomes much more obvious.

    Keep up the struggle.

    • JasonS says

      For the record, “clean out the garbage out of the diet” is the only part of that comment I can agree with. Don’t weigh and measure your food and don’t count calories!!

      • says

        Some of us have gone through life being hunger, and remain hungry. No one is offering any solutions to that. Until you come up with a solution, and provide it ….

        I need to control my intake. You can criticize the use of a kitchen scales, but without it I would be even larger. I had know idea how much I was eating before scales and recording my food.

        As it turns out, the mathematics show the bullshit on the web and forms. Bullshit remains bullshit even from a PHD educated pureblood bull.

        • JasonS says

          As I said in my edit, Deb ate 3900 cals per day while we took her down to a size 0. She goes through life hungry, too. She just doesn’t eat foods that stimulate fat storage. I would venture to say that the majority of my clients are probably eating more than they were when they were bigger. Fat storage and hunger are driven by hormonal responses to the foods we eat. Educate yourself on human nutrition from an evolutionary perspective and weight loss and satiety are easily attained.

          I’m sorry, I don’t understand your last paragraph.

        • Alexandra says

          For me, that sort of hunger finally went away when I dropped my carbs very low.. I stay at 10-20 grams per day and it’s the only thing I count (exact amounts would surely vary by person).. I know I am eating much more than before but I do not gain weight..I am still slowly losing… I always eat until I am full at each meal.. plenty of animal fat and meat and I find I can go from 4 to sometimes 10 hours before I am hungry again.. and it’s an easy, gentle kind of hungry.. not the shaky gotta eat something carby NOW kind of hunger from the old low fat, high carb days. The only way to describe it is: a relief.. Hunger no longer runs my life and cravings are non-existent. Plus, I am well over 100 pounds lighter!

  38. Lori says

    I was so happy to read part 2 of “ditch the scale”. My body weight initially went down when I first started cross fit. Now it is up but I noticed I have more muscle mass and I am becoming stronger. That is all with the beginner class! Because of my schedule I can only go to a normal class maybe once a week. I am in month 3 now. I will not weight myself again!!!!!! As long as I see improvements in my workouts I am happy. Today I finally did proper squats with the medicine ball. :) I can do reverse negatives jumping off the box but when I started all I could do was jump pull-ups.

  39. Ellen says

    Deb, you look sssssmokin’ hot!! Way to go. I felt positively giddy when I saw your daily calorie intake. I’ve gone from a big size 12 (ok, probably 14) to an easy size 8 and I weigh the same. I eat a TON of calories now (paleo 100%) and I’m shaking my head thinking about how sad I spent the previous 15 years of severe calorie restriction and whole grain eating. Ugh, just so sad to think about it. I’m so sharing this post with everyone I know!

  40. Laura Lou says

    I like my scale! It has those fancy-dancy numbers that tell me body fat & hydration percentages. But, I concur: since I started this Crossfit/Paleo journey only a few months ago, the weight hasn’t changed more than a couple of subjective pounds, but my body fat is down 9% and everyone tells me I’m looking ah-mazing. LOVE THAT.

  41. says

    Adore this post.
    I, too, have had very minor weight changes with a paleo/crossfit lifestyle. But, I’ve lost 4 pants sizes and have actual, real abdominal muscles. It’s not a numbers game – calories or weight – its a fitness and focus thing. Thanks for shocking the world into seeing that the only thing scales are good for is determining how much less you weigh after you poop.

    • Girl with a Brokedown Scale says

      @Robin, your post made me laugh out loud, that is a fun thing to do…

      I started a Whole30 a bit ago, and I was going to cheat and weigh myself prior to starting. Took the scale out – batteries were dead… okay, Universe, I get it :).

  42. Susanne says

    So true I weight 154 right now and when I just dieted only to 136 I actually wore a bigger size than I do now.

  43. says

    I love this post so much! Thank you!!! I have been Paleo for 7 months not and have gone from a size 10 to a 6 but havn’t lost a lb! Nobody believes me when I tell them that so I will be emailing this to a LOT of people! I think I am convinced to throw out my scale!!! I have been an addict for WAY too long!

  44. Johnux says

    This is a great post! I recently started working out pretty hard and at the same time, completely flipped my eating habits(thank you 4 Hour Body!) I started at a fluffy 248lbs(I’m 6’5″), dropped to 237lbs, then toned immediately to 245lbs while my waist slimmed. For only being 3 lbs less, I FELT 10x better in only 1 month later. Since then I’ve lost some weight down to 235 or so(was expecting more weight loss), but the added muscle weighs more, but makes me feel great!

  45. Belinda says

    Great post, love it! And just the concept I need.

    Obviously those in the overweight and obese range – the scales are very useful and you can really see a change very easily standing on the scales. As soon as you approach the slightly overweight to normal size arena – measurements have to change and that’s what people don’t get at the moment. Plus it’s also harder to see/measure every day/week, so harder to catch bad moments/ideas and correct your course. With the “what gets measured, gets done” idea in mind – what would you suggest as an alternative measurement?

    Others have suggested a body fat % – (which can be a little expensive to do right). Any cheaper alternatives?

    • JasonS says

      Buy a measuring tape and keep track of circumference measurements. Waist, chest, hips, thighs, arms, …

    • El says

      Measuring body fat % does not have to be expensive. Target used to sell scales for $3o that measure your body fat/mussel and water %

      • mary f says

        Scales that measure body fat etc are generally wildly inaccurate. They do not take into account fitness level, and correct for the average couch potato, so a fit person would get a discouraging reading. That compounds the scale problem. If you can’t afford accurate % testing, measuring tape and, really, clothing fit are your best tools. I haven’t looked at my scale in a year and I’m going down pant sizes and getting crazy compliments.

  46. says

    First of all I love the point that is comeing across, very true.

    secondly I am over and sick of bullshit before and after pics. Really come on. This is like this kids games in news papers where you have to spot the difference.

    Smile in new photo.
    Different hair
    Different contrast of the pic
    Fake tan.

    Bloody just stop it. It’s bullshit marketing that you expect in the 3am infomercials.

    Again point that is coming across I’d true but stop the bullshit

    • says

      I think when it comes to body transformations you’re going to be hard pressed to find before/after pics where the things you mentioned don’t exist in the after pic. Why? Well it’s simple…when people get in shape they FEEL as good as they LOOK. They feel comfortable showing more of their bodies, which may lead to a desire to be tan or get a new hair-do, and they feel great so they SMILE. Why on Earth would anyone smile in a before pic when they are completely embarrassed to even be taking the picture? The transformation that comes with getting healthy and fit doesn’t stop with losing fat, it leads to other transformations of mood, character and happiness.

      No one is selling anything in this post. These are simply stories of real life experiences, not fabricated fantasies created to get people to empty their wallets.

      • Winter says

        I agree! :) I’m 244~250 lbs (not sure since my weight is fluctuating a lot lately, hehe), and although I smile in photos, I know for sure that when I’ve reached my health & wellness goal and am a healthy weight & overall feeling a LOT better (suffering from Candida overgrowth)… I’m sure my smile will be a thousand times brighter!

        Plus, I will want to celebrate my huge accomplishment & permanent lifestyle changes by pampering myself with a new haircut & style, clothes, etc!

        I also won’t be so embarrassed to go to the pool/beach/lake… so I might get a little tanner. ;)

    • Jeromie says

      Marketing? So you’re saying that Jason gets money from the garbage company for every scale they find? The only bullshit here is your 2 cents.

    • Margaret Jamison says

      Offensive! I guess if you knew her personally that would help. I’ve known Deb for years and it’s a huge transformation that she’s extremely proud of. I say what ever works for you, do it. You’ll be a happier persona all around. Great job Deb, loved watching this happen for you =)

  47. 4HB App says

    Thank you Jason and Deb for this blog post.

    ————
    @Belinda,

    That’s a good point. Obese people can see notice dramatic change by using the scale. That being said, the mindset shift from weight loss to fat loss can be more effective in the long run.

    Bodyfat measurement doesn’t have to be expensive. The methods in the book are preferred but if you “really” can’t afford them, the next option can be using the tables presented in the Protein Power book by Drs Eades (They have been also featured in the 4-Hour Body.) It will only require you to take your hips, abdomen and height measurements (for women) and abdomen, wrist and weight measurements (for men.) It’s not as accurate and ideal as the methods presented by Tim but still better than the scale.

    ———–
    @Jason: I like the way you are referring to the absurdity of the statement: “I need to lose some weight.” As a suggestion, maybe you can also represent the alternative wording: “I need to lose some fat” or “I need to recompose my body.”

    • JasonS says

      I like “I need to lose some inches.” You can actually see when a body takes up less space. You can’t see when a body weighs less, as proved by the above pics.

      • Chris says

        “I spent my entire career waiting patiently for the right situation that would produce the picture below.”

        I would have omitted this gem from the post had I planned on being taken seriously. Everyone knows America relies too heavily on weight-centric measurements. You are no pioneer in this thinking. Body transformation without weight loss is indeed attainable by many whose starting weight is within a break- even point vis-a- vis muscle and fat. Unfortunately, many Americans do not reside in this category. So your admittedly rare photo- example serves ill-purpose in swaying the vast majority of Americans seeking better health. It’s an anomaly, much like the efficacy of your supposed “new theory.” Telling an extremely obese person to start wrapping a measuring tape around mounds of fat instead of following a number from standing on a scale is a breakthrough in Motivational Science. …eye roll…

  48. saschamy says

    Just in the nick of time! I’ve been working very hard at the gym lately with a trainer, (thank you, L) but the scale hasn’t budged. My goal was to “lose 20 lbs by July 31 (my big five-0).” My clothes are getting looser, my body is changing for the better, but the dang scale just wasn’t moving. I was very discouraged this morning. Then, this evening, thanks to my trainer’s recommendation that I visit your website, I found your article on the scale, read the first one, but then the second article really hit home. How can you argue with the facts of Deb’s pictures?! Thank you, you have encouraged me.

  49. Pam says

    This is the best news I have read in a long time. I have to admit I am a scale addict, and I have been very discouraged since starting Paleo full force a couple of months ago. I expected to drop weight on the scale pretty quickly, and have been discouraged… but now I am going to totally readjust my thinking and keep working hard at Crossfit, and with Paleo, and know I will reach my goals. Thanks so much for sharing this important information. Pam

  50. Sarah says

    Great work Deb! That is a truly amazing example of hard work + clean diet= better body composition, not pounds lost. I actually gained weight when I started CrossFit because I was transitioning from mostly endurance exercise with no real strength training. I’ve gone down a size and my stomach has lost a couple of inches. I must say that, as someone with a history of weight/body/food issues, it is so liberating to not give a crap about what the scale says anymore!

  51. says

    I love this post – thank you!
    I’ve been looking at my number on the scales and I’m at the heavier end of my weight over the years, but actually I feel great. I want to shed some fat and tone up, but I was actually beating myself up that I didn’t feel worse about it.
    Awesome news for Deb too – well done!

    xDenise

  52. says

    While agree with your sentiments for someone with the body type of Deb, who has drastically changed her body composition, if Deb were the same size yet weighed 200 lbs, I would disagree with you. Enough studies have shown that people who weigh less live longer, and are generally “healthier”. The larger body size creates havoc on your vascular system and internal organs.

    I am someone who started at over 400 lbs, and have recently just broken the 300 lbs marker, the scale is something that I have to be aware of, but I do realize that as I get closer to a weight that is more suitable for my frame at some point it will be more about the overall composition of my weight.

    For the majority of people including many women who are of Deb’s before picture I clearly think you are on point, but for anyone who is obese or morbidly obese getting the weight down first is most important.

    • JasonS says

      Congrats on your progress, but I think you are still talking about fat, and therefore inches and size, not weight. Someone the same size as Deb that weighed 200 lbs could easily be anywhere from 5 -25% body fat and not be unhealthy. Regardless, you are still talking about size. Yes, if you are very heavy, you may watch the scale go down. Nobody is arguing that. But the scale is giving you no relevant information that you can’t get from circumference measurements, which you can actually SEE. AND circumference measurements do not suddenly disappoint and frustrate you once you get your size down. I’ve said it before, people were large before the invention of the household scale, and just like today, they were judged or admired for how they LOOK. You said it yourself, “The larger body SIZE creates havoc on your vascular system and internal organs.” Weight is a step removed from size.

      If you were explaining your house to someone, you might say you live in a small cottage, a medium 3000 sq ft single family home, or a palatial mansion. You would never say that you live in a 300 ton home. Why not? Because you are talking about SIZE. You would never say, “We’re expanding our home by 20 tons on the west side.” Why not? As silly as this sounds, it is exactly as relevant to your body. Nobody is getting on the scale to see if it’s okay for them to cross a bridge, or if their floor will support them. But those are the kinds of things WEIGHT is useful for. I weigh 28 lbs on the moon. I refuse to believe that I would be at less risk of heart disease there. Stop correlating weight to anything but the load your shoes will bear when you stand.

      “The scale is something that I have to be aware of.” WHY??

      • Launie says

        When I read Lou’s post, I absolutely agreed. To someone like me who is 197lbs, the scale seems to matter so much. Jason, I actually had to read your response twice to really get the full impact of what you’re saying. If I weighed 197lbs but LOOKED like the “after” picture, I doubt I’d really care what the scale weight was. Your analogies about weight vs size are bang on! I think we are so conditioned to thinking that you’re not hot or sexy until you hit that “magical number” on the scale, whatever that might be. I used to subscribe to a weightlifting magazine and would look at all of the stats on the up and coming in the industry. I would compare my weight and height to the women’s stats listed beside their picture and wouldn’t you know it–two women, both the same height, one weighs 115lbs and the other weighs 135 lbs. Yet they both looked great and I would be thrilled to look like either of them, even though there was a 20lbs difference in scale weight. I will now focus more on the inches I’ve lost, which is a bigger number than the scale anyways!

  53. Elizabeth S. says

    I had the exact same experience! Since January my belly fat (which is my most stubborn area) has almost completely disappeared but my weight has stayed about the same. It drove me crazy until I got a body composition analyzer and saw that I was losing body fat %.
    I lost a lot of weight using calorie restriction but gained it all back because as soon as I started to eat normally my body stored it away since it thought I was starving. Now I can’t calorie restrict without feeling terrible.
    Thanks for the post!

    • JasonS says

      Well done, Elizabeth! That whole second paragraph was an example of remarkably healthy understanding of fat loss/storage. Kudos!

  54. Belinda says

    Thanks for this.. great timing too… i was just starting to feel the downward, depressed, why is this stupid thing not moving!!!! effects of the scale… Time to adjust my thinking!!! My clothes are falling off so I should go an enjoy having to walk around holding onto them!

  55. says

    Thanks god!!! I have believed this and been telling my clients this for years… How amazing to have such an eye-popping real case study. Thanks for sharing. I will be passing this on to everybody!!

  56. says

    LOVE IT! I have been measuring myself for 18 months. I am 5kg heavier, but 9cm smaller in the waist and 7 cm smaller at the hips. I have shared this post with my clients. This is so important for people to get out of the scale rut!

  57. Dan says

    I’m convinced that ‘thin’ isn’t really where our body wants us to be. I think for most of us, our body wants us to be muscular with a little bit of pudge. I’ve been low carb high fat for about 5 months, gained about 6 pounds (6-04, 209 lbs.) but have seen great improvement in my strength training.

    • JasonS says

      Well, there certainly isn’t any correlation between health and ripped abs, nor is there any correlation between sickness and 20 lbs of extra fat.

  58. Winter says

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve been on an Anti-Candida diet, and ended up losing 12 lbs in a week and a half. Then, a few days after that, I gained about 6 lbs back.

    Needless to day, I was pretty frustrated, and wondered why this was happening when I had been consistently losing about 1~2 lbs a day (and yes, I was obsessively weighing myself daily -__- …)

    My dad & best friend kept telling me not to worry, since I was eating healthier & exercising regularly… they said that weight always fluctuates, and to just be patient. But even though I kept telling that to myself, I still felt a bit disappointed with myself (Was it the brown rice I slipped up and ate the other day? Was it the 2 days of non-exercise the other week? Should I be eating more? Should I be eating less?)

    I felt horrible, and the psychological tormenting certainly didn’t help towards a healthier lifestyle!

    So thank you very, very much for reiterating the idea that it’s not all about weight! :3

  59. says

    Ok, well, I don’t want to say this post is life changing for me…but, it blows away so many insecurities and pre-conceived notions I have (and have always had) about weight. I was always an athlete who was eating conventionally “healthy” with whole wheat pastas, black beans, dry chicken – the whole stupid pyramid. My husband discovered Crossfit, and then Paleo, almost 1.5 year ago, and I haven’t looked back. But this lady (who looks awesome and strong) is such a role model and this story should really be passed around for all women and men who are strong, healthy, and athletic but insecure about the number.

    Thanks for this post!

  60. says

    I absolutely love the before and after photo. It’s a perfect demonstration of why the scale is useless. I’ve been telling people to throw their scales away for years. People are always surprised when I tell them I weigh close to 160lbs (I really don’t know what I weigh, since I don’t weigh myself, but it’s somewhere around there). I’m totally going to use this in the overcoming self-sabotage and emotional eating program I run for clients. Thanks again.

  61. Natalie says

    Since January of this year, I’ve lost 25 pounds, but when people ask me much I’ve lost and I tell them that number, they generally give me a puzzled look and comment that it looks like a lot more. Adding muscle makes such a difference!

    I’ve also observed the inverse- I have been exercising for years intermittently and when I stop for a while, I’ll notice that my clothes start to get a big snug. When I step on the scale, though, I’ve actually gained little or no weight! Yet more evidence that weight is NOT a good indicator of health. While we’re at it, lets get rid of BMI too!

  62. Jessica Pages says

    This is AMAZING!!!! I have had a number stuck in my head that I want to get to,and I am on the scale EVERYDAY(sometimes 2-3 times if I don’t like what it says!)Thank you so much for sharing this!!!!

  63. mona says

    After reading the first post on Deb quite some time ago, I immediately ditched my scale. That was smack-dab in the middle of my box’s 10 week Paleo Challenge. (Which I won!) Now, weeks later, still following Paleo as best I can, I find myself going UP in sizes and not down. I’m still working hard 3x’s a week at my box, and still immensely aware of my food intake. I feel as though I am making great gains in strength development, but why isn’t fat reduction following suite? Its very frustrating.

  64. Kathy says

    How timely! Just this morning I weighed myself and thought to myself, well that’s not bad but I’d really love to see 148. Why? I’m losing inches and my fitness is improving dramatically. My clothes are lose, I’ve had to give some away! Who the heck cares what I weigh? You are so right, it’s SIZE. Ha ha….size does matter. hee hee couldn’t resist! Love your stuff Jason, thanks for sharing.

  65. Heidi says

    3900 calories a day? No wonder I cannot lean out!! I workout like a beast and barely get 1500 (on paleo) I guess I have to add more healthy fats.

    Great read!

      • Deb says

        Hi Lisa, I just saw this question..I don’t normally count calories. I do post my meal log on EPLifeFit as well as my workouts. (I eat mostly meat/fat and veggies)..:)

  66. says

    Hi Sarah & Jason,

    I was wondering if it would be ok with Deb to use her picture and brief description of her story on a local cable show that I will be on next week. It is broadcast in a city just north of Toronto and geared toward teens. The topic is Body Image. My hubby and I have been on a few times to talk about nutrition and fitness (paleo/primal style of course!) and this story popped into my head as a great example of what not to focus on. Please let me know as I think this example will resonate with the young girls watching this show.

    Cheers,
    Stefanie

    • Deb says

      Yes Stefanie, I would love to have you share this with all women, especially teens, that’s one of the reasons for my transparency. Being healthy is the most important thing, the number on the scale means nothing and yet we give it so much power over us.
      I think it is awesome that you have this opportunity.

      Thank you,
      Deb

  67. Simz says

    Jason,

    Fantastic article reaffirms what I have been doing . Since last January I’ve gone from size 20(ish) to size 14 while being ”stuck” at 160 lbs on 5ft frame. I am working towards size 6/8 and my goals have definitely changed from ‘weighing a certain number’ to specific measurements . I actually worked 7 of the last 12 months and the size always went up when I stopped doing weights and this included no cardio throughout last year.
    My goals for this year are more phased out weight training so that I don’t stop it for 5-6 weeks on end, increase my weights to 45lbs from where Iam now (max. 18lb weights) and 10,000 steps a day.
    And I would take this focus any day over a stupid number on the scale.

  68. Barbara says

    Thanks for this Jason, it’s just what I needed to hear. I have been working with a personal trainer since mid October 2011. 54 years old, 5’6″, bad knees, bad posture, 226 lbs. My primary goal was to rehabilitate my knees and other past injuries and get stronger. In 4 months time I lost 8 lbs, 3.5 inches off my hips, 2 inches off my waist, 1.5 inches off my thighs, and gained 1/4 in in my arms :) I sleep better, with better mood and I have more energy. If I didn’t need to weigh in weekly at the gym I wouldn’t, it can be discouraging. Thanks again for the reminder that there are other markers of health than obsessing about a number on the scale.

    I forgot to say I’ve been doing mostly Paleo eating during that time, except for the week between Christmas and New Years when I allowed myself to backslide. I got right back to eating right on 1/3 though.

  69. Kel says

    I am a complete scale addict, weighing myself at minimum 2 times a day. My biggest struggle is I know my jeans fit looser when Im around 112-114 and when I go up to 117-119 they are tighter and quite frankly, I feel pudgy. I feel that I have to keep constantly weighing myself so I can keep myself in check. If I dont see that number on the scale daily and just judge how my clothes fit, I will try to convince myself that “the jeans are tight from the dryer” or “maybe I am bloated from salt” and things can quickly spiral out of control for me. When I have concrete evidence that yes, I put on 5 lbs, I can quickly take action and get back on track. I almost NEED to feel bad about the number to get me back on more stringent eating.

  70. Barbara says

    This is just what I needed to read! Really. What I’m seeing in the mirror is the result of both intake and exercise, but what I’m looking for is tightness and definition, which can really come about only if I exercise. And exercise will help my metabolism, and improve my labs. ‘by George, I think I’ve got it..!’

  71. Jenna says

    That’s truly amazing for the hard work and efforts that went into the journey- congrats Deb.

    Almost a year ago, I weighed in at 170 Lbs, and began Paleo. Lost about 20 lbs 6 months later. Throughout my journey, I’ve been doing CF as well. Today, I weigh in at 160 Lbs, but look and feel great!!!

    # on the scale shouldn’t be the ONLY thing people should look at, I struggled with that and went from looking at the scale to looking at myself in the mirror. Congrats again, enjoy reading success stories like these.

  72. Carolyn says

    I just started to try and loose some extra weight, 30 lbs. My daughter sent me this to read, she’s been telling me to do this for a long time, get rid of scale. I thought about a guy I know, he was in his 30′s about 5’6″ and weighed 200 lbs. He had a great build, no fat anywhere. When he went to renew his drivers license he put down 200 lbs. for his weight, they made him get on the scale before they would write it down. They didn’t believe him, and when the scale said 200lbs. they shook their heads & wrote it down in amazement. It’s so true!

    • Deb says

      I know Carolyn, had something similar happen to me while getting fitted for jeans. (the gal didn’t believe me either..lol) The scale doesn’t do us any favors, your daughter is right.

  73. Kathleen says

    Kudos to Deb for all her hard work!

    If you change this one sentence, you may just get a plethora of blog shares: “Here she is at a size zero with her nutrition dialed.” OK. If the focus is on health and fitness rather than numbers, why did you put her clothing size in your post? Picture a post that one is excited to share… and then… the letdown. Awww, she put in the clothing size. Back to those numbers again.

    Anyone who’s been paying attention realizes that clothing designers vary their clothing sizes widely. Certain ‘sizes’ 20 years ago are completely different numbers today. What was a larger number then is a smaller number now.

    Let’s just focus on how fit and healthy she looks and stay away from the ‘achievement’ of fitting into a piece of clothing with a single-digit number on the tag.

    • Deb says

      Hello Kathleen,
      The size zero sentence was to show the steps I went through, and as a point of reference in that part of my muscle building journey which ultimately brought me all the way around to the same weight as I started but looking very different.

      Thank you for the Kudos, I did work hard and feel fabulous… :)
      Deb

    • says

      Circumference measurements make perfect sense when you try to quantify your goals and this post was not intended to tell you otherwise. The pictures should make it clear that there is a difference in SIZE in the pictures, but weighing yourself neglects the fact that you might get heavier as you get healthy. Measure on!

  74. Lindsay Jenkins says

    I’m curious…I am 5’8″ and 235 pounds and a woman. There has to be a point in our lives when we need to focus on losing weight. Obviously, as a woman, I don’t want to have 235 pounds of muscle on my body or anywhere close to that number. Do you EVER encourage people who are that heavy to look at the scale or is it always being taught to just focus on measurements? Either way would be fine with me since I have a scale, but really don’t step on it much at all. Please answer via my email if possible because I won’t know if you respond here.

    • Deb says

      I don’t have access to your E-mail address Lindsay, you can contact me via Facebook- Deb Hunter. I would be happy to message you there if you would like.( I can point you to Jason’s E-mail, Facebook as well )

  75. Robin says

    Love this post. I will never step on a scale again. I am on week 4 of Paleo, workout at Crossfit 4-5x a week, swim competitively 2x a week. When I gained an lb after so much work and clean diet,” I thought this could be a bag of M&Ms, plus cupcakes kind of day.” After reading this post, I refocused on how my body looks and feels. I slid on a pair of size 8 jeans that didn’t fit this summer. I am still 165lbs, but strong and committed to a Paleo lifestyle. Thank you for the post. It made my focus shift to what is really important to me.

  76. Tom Strohecker says

    The negative comment was sad indeed.
    Why would a person even be on a site that PROMOTED fitness and weight loss and submit such hateful comments?
    Perhaps only to bring everyone down to their level of disappointment and despair.
    Well Marin,….if that’s all you can post, then perhaps you can keep it to yourself.
    Deb is the real deal.
    I see her weekly, and I TOO follow the Paleo lifestyle and am the same age.
    I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.
    When you’re finished with your doom and gloom melodrama, come back and seek some healthy advice from Jason. .

  77. Best way to lose belly fat fast for women says

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  78. Sharon says

    Well done Deb. I have been the same weight for around 12 months now after losing 26kg over an 18 month period but my body fat has come down and body measurements have shrunk. I did the Bio-signature about 6 months ago which has helped me alot, but I still believed that even though all my measurements and body fat is shrinking I am 30kg overweight. So thankyou Deb for showing that the scale isn’t something to rely on. I will continue my efforts and now I can physically see that the scale doesn’t matter it will not set me back like it has done in the past.
    Thank you Jason for a great story

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