Attention Scale Addicts!

Below is another post by guest blogger Jason Seib.  Read, enjoy, and follow Jason’s work at his blog, Primitive Stimulus.

Attention Scale Addicts

This one is for those of you with fat loss goals, and I’m not pulling any punches.  I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.  That is certainly not my intention.  At the risk of sounding sexist, the vast majority of “scale addiction” sufferers I have encountered have been women, but there are plenty of men in need of this advice:

Get off the scale!

Measuring gravity’s affect on your body, and then assuming that measurement to be relevant to your physical attractiveness is insanity.  Stop doing that.  Now!

I will concede that the scale can be a motivational tool in the first few weeks of paleo eating and proper exercise, but after that it quickly becomes worthless.  Please allow me to make a few points and try to play to your sense of reason.

  • If a woman or man is attractive, would they also be attractive on Jupiter?  They would weigh a lot more there.  Would they somehow be much hotter on the moon due to weighing much less?
  • Can you imagine answering the door when a blind date arrives and having them greet you with, “Wow!  You might actually be hot!  Can you step on this scale so I can know for sure?”
  • When I was a teenage boy trolling the mall in American Suburbia, we didn’t carry scales to weigh the young girls we drooled over.  We were capable of acting like complete idiots without need of such tools.
  • A new female client, 5 feet 5 inches tall, recently told me that she believed her ideal weight to be 115 lbs.  I asked her if she wanted to qualify that vision with anymore information and she said no.  So I clarified for her that what she was saying was essentially that all women who are 5 feet 5 inches tall and weigh 115 lbs have great bodies.  Of course that is utter nonesense.  There are, without question, very many women with those numbers that absolutely do not have great bodies.  It seems even more absurd if you apply the same logic to men.  Would anyone ever assume that all men look great at 5 feet 11 inches and 180 lbs?  Dear God, No!  Think chicken legs and pot belly.
  • Most of us have been in love at some point.  Remember the beginning?  Remember when your love interest was so smitten with you that they barely touched the ground when they walked?  Did they know what you weighed?  Nope.
  • According to scale addiction logic, there are men all over the world right now who are frustrated with Playboy Magazine to the point of screaming.  Playboy gives all the relevant measurements of their centerfolds, except weight.  “Damn you Playboy!  How can I tell if this woman is beautiful if you won’t tell me what she weighs?!?”

Have I made my point?  The bottom line is that the scale just doesn’t have any really valuable information for you.  Everyone has heard the obligatory “muscle weighs more than fat” ad nauseum, but scale addiction lives on.  Even though, as I pointed out above, weight says virtually nothing about attractiveness, it continues to be the primary focus of most women and many men when it comes to aesthetic goals.

My advice to you if you have aesthetic goals: remember that humans are first and foremost visual creatures.  Take circumferance measurements, or just make note of clothing sizes.  Why circumferance measurements?  Because you can see them.  Maybe take a “before” picture of yourself and compare it to the body in the mirror from time to time.  If your fitness level improves (more strength, power, speed), and you drop a pant size, is your weight important?  If you really think about it, a rational person would be totally willing to gain a few pounds in exchange for losing an inch in their squishy spots.

You can have a healthier perspective.  Don’t obsess over the stuff that doesn’t really matter.  Be rational when prioritizing your benchmarks and you can stay on track without pulling your hair out in patches.  Just something to think about.


  1. says

    I have to slightly disagree… I use weight as a measurement to get “where I once was” when I was in shape, athletic and at a good size. So yes, I do know that at 5’5 and 130-135 lbs *I* will be good looking :) Not all 5’5ers will be good looking at that weight. Good try.. but the scale will be the easiest measure of success (other than fitting into those jeans again).. and the body fat measurement will be that once in awhile thing to make sure the scale isn’t lying to me.

    • JasonS says

      Stay tuned for part 2 for the evidence. “Getting back to where you once were” is also useless kind of pointless. I’ll show you soon.

      • says

        I still disagree. Like others have said, I don’t completely rely on the scale, but it gives me a good indication if I am traveling in the wrong direction. I have been up and down my entire life. I can easily slide back into old habits.. and since our brains easily forget just how much we ate of the stuff we were only suppose to have in moderation, I find the scale keeps me in check. I won’t see the extra 3 pounds in the mirror, but if I see it on the scale, I can easily tighten the reigns on my “moderation” eating and catch it before it becomes a noticeable 5 or 10 lbs in the mirror.

        • JasonS says

          Here is where we differ. I ask my clients to stay off the scale specifically because they might use that information to change something that they should not be worrying about, like caloric intake. If they “tighten the reigns” on their moderation eating, they usually stop losing fat and/or set themselves up to regain all that they have lost. It’s all about cortisol and hormonal response to the types of foods you eat, not the quantity. Count the Biggest Loser seasons. Now count the reunion shows. Starvation doesn’t work.

        • Kari says

          I totally agree with you!! I do the same thing… I’m not a slave to the scale, but I periodically check to see if I’m still within a range that I know is where I want to be.

    • Matt says

      No, the easiest measure of success is looking in the mirror and liking what you see. It’s irrelevant what the scale says.

      • Andy says

        Agreed scale weight can only be used to a certain extent. if your 5 5′ and 135lbs it depends what makes up your 135lbs. you can be that weight at 15% bf or 30% bf but youd look significantly better at 15%. either way the scale would still be saying you weighed the same.

  2. Cindi John says

    I agree in general that a person should not rely totally on “the scale” but as a person who once weighed 180# (4’11”), I truly do not want to inch back up to that weight ever again! I use the scale to benchmark my progress and keep track of trends: if I go over 123 then it is time for me to re-focus and get back on track. For those people who have never had to lose 50+ pounds, you do not know the blood, sweat, and tears that a weight-loss survivor endures!

  3. Kay says

    But Tonja … Your body is different all the time, every day, every hour. Just because you looked great at a particular weight a few years ago doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll look the same if you reach that weight again.

    I agree … The scale is a crutch. I refuse to let an inanimate object have so much control over my self worth. It’s ridiculous. I threw mine out a few months ago, and I feel great :) (oh, and my body is far from “perfect”!)

  4. says

    “(other than fitting into those jeans again)”

    Tonja, I think that’s whole point of this post. That the numbers on the scale can trick you into thinking that you’re not making progress, but all the while your jeans are getting looser and looser and your friends are telling you how great you look. This seems to be particularly problematic with women as they seem to be more driven by weight rather than how they look and feel. It is very possible to lose fat, gain muscle and weigh exactly the same…and in that situation weight is a completely irrelevant number.

    • Jenn says

      I couldn’t agree more. I’ve just recently decided that the scales no longer matter, in the beginning it was nice but my number on the scale has stuck at the same number but I keep loosing inches everywhere and fit into a size 4, that right there is how I decided to base my future loss :)

    • Sarah says

      Agreed Kris. I weigh myself every now and then, kind of on a whim, or for a holy crap moment. LOL! It’s never the same, ever, and I’m so glad that I’m finally in a place in which I do not care! : )

  5. Rose says

    I am a woman who lost 50 lbs in 1 year changing my eating habits. Then I decided to start working out hard using resistance training. I was frustrated because no matter how much I worked out, my weight wasnt dropping until my good friends told me to stop stepping on the scale. I measured myself and decided to throw away my scale. A year later and one pant size down, I had lost 7 inches around my hips and 4 around my abdomen area. My weight? I stood on the scale and I had not dropped more than 4 lbs, but I was smaller, had lost one pant size -almost two. I agree with this post. I could have been obsessing myself over 4 lbs and not losing more weight, or simply realize that I looked better without stepping on the scale morning and evening…everyday. :-)

    • Wylie says

      Yep! Same here (except the part about being a woman :) ). I started paleo at the end of last year, lost 10kgs quickly, but then the weight loss stopped abruptly. My clothes sizes kept shrinking however, but no matter what I do, I cant seem to lose more weight on the scale. The scale can DIAF as far as I am concerned.

  6. Diana says

    I whole-heartedly agree. :) Ignoring it actually makes you sexier – your body will change if you give it the love it needs. Sunshine, good nutrition and some good old fashioned exercise! Only way to really take care of yourself is to stop beating yourself up over a number, or any flaws you think you have. Be confident and the rest will fall into place!

    • Janet NZ says

      And isn’t confidence sexy? :-)
      I’m throwing away my scale. It hasn’t moved much at all since I started eating Paleo, but I FEEL so much better.
      The ‘weight’ simply doesn’t matter anymore.
      I’ve been slim, but was still not ‘perfect’, so not confident.

  7. Mel says

    When I think logically about it, I know that it isn’t really my weight that really matters but I am still obsessed with measuring my weight and I have a hard time getting around that. I am female, 5’10” and weigh 160 pounds (lol, this morning). I have run two marathons and I am road biking more this summer (~50 km rides). Since I have been going on longer rides I have been gaining weight. :-(

    My measurements are 40-30-40 and even though my husband loves my body I am still so unsatisfied with it and wish I could lose 30 pounds. I think I would be a better/faster endurance athlete at that weight but just can’t seem to get there. (I would be able to run so much faster if I didn’t have DDs).

    I used to eat low carb, now I eat Paleo. (On third week of Everyday Paleo 30-day meal plan) I can’t seem to lose weight and it drives me crazy! I do like my body and I am confident but I just think I could be so much better. I have had this mindset for at least 10 years (I’m 26) but have never been able to get to where I want to be. I have never been overweight but I am still unhappy about my weight.
    I know I probably sound like a headcase, but it is so frustrating that my weight is something I can’t get over. I joke to my husband “…just going to go measure my self-worth” as I get on the scale.

    • JasonS says

      Your exercise regimen is the problem here. Endurance training is creating unnecessarily high cortisol levels because you are eating in ancestral way but not exercising that way. If you switch to moving the way nature intended (lifting heavy things, sprinting, jumping, climbing, crawling, throwing, pushing, pulling, etc.) and stop doing things your body doesn’t understand (running from something that you can’t seem to escape for 26 miles, all the while producing the stress hormones necessary for escaping!), you will get the results you want. Your methods of exercise are sports, not something to be confused with health and fitness. Check out this post for a little more info,

      • NS says

        Also maybe it’s not what you’re eating but HOW MUCH. Exercise makes you hungry, so if you can’t eat without wiping out any deficit you’ve created, you will not be losing weight.

        • JasonS says

          Just for the record, I completely disagree that the quantity of food you consume is a problem. The “calories in, calories out” concept is bereft of science in all but the most extreme cases. If anything, you may be eating too little.

    • Amy says

      I was in the same situation about 6 months ago. Crossfitting and running a lot and eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet. And getting on the scale all the time! Switched to Paleo and starting working out at crossfit more and running less. The results have been amazing. Stick to your 30-day Paleo Challenge and ignore the scale. It’s not easy but I guarantee you will begin to feel like you have never felt in your life. Seriously!

  8. Kelly says

    Thanks for this post. My husband weighs himself multiple times a day. He looks great and has lost several pants sizes but worries about the difference between and few lbs. on the scale.

    • barry says

      that’s obsessive and serves no useful nor scientific purpose, and is a waste of time. instead he should weigh himself, at most, once per day at the exact same time, such as as soon as he wakes up in the morning (after using the bathroom). caloric expenditures vary during the day, and from day to day, depending on one’s activity level and calories consumed. weighing at the same time, 24 hours apart, will allow him to compare apples to apples. in fact, if he does this, and finds some leftover graph paper from high school, he can graph his weight. if eating properly and exercising he could see at a glance the line gradually sloping downward to the right over time. which would be a better indicator than the choppy line he’d now be getting by weighing at different times several times a day. as a comparison: a stock chart. it’s choppy on a daily basis, but over time you can see the trend.

  9. Diane says

    All I can say in regards to the scale is that it is a LIAR!

    I say this because 5 years ago, pre-CrossFit & Paleo, I weighed 145-148 lbs and wore a size 8 at 5’6.

    Today, with CrossFit & Paleo, I weigh around 140-145 (not quite sure as I don’t regularly weigh myself), and I wear a size 2-4… BIG difference.

    Thus, my original argument…the scale is a boldface liar. =]

  10. mary b says

    I totally agree!!
    For most of my adult life I have not owned a scale. I had always gone by how my clothes fit and how I felt about my body.
    A few years ago my DH asked for a scale when his Dr. wanted him to lose some weight. How odd it was for me to step on the scale. The only other times I had been on a scale was during prenatal visits…I remember how they could not believe I did not know my “pre-pregnancy weight” LOL!

  11. M says

    How the heck do I lose weight without a scale? I totally want to, though. Do I just stick to my calories and workouts, and measure my body once a month?

    • JasonS says

      You don’t worry about your weight. You take circumference measurements instead and keep track of information that actually matters. And owning a scale will have no affect on your results.

  12. Paula Brown says

    I agree with Jason, but I also agree with Cindi. At almost 60 years of age, with blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides, and jeans size etc. steadily creeping up over the past 10 years along with the numbers on the scale, my health markers are more important to me than the numbers on the scale; however, they are linked. I tried lots of diets, and hardly dared hope I’d ever see a size 16 again. I just wanted to avoid diabetes. Paleo has given me hope! I’ve lost over 30 pounds, with plenty more to go, but I’m in that size 16 (well, 16W, but hey!) and better yet my A1C went from 6 to 4.7 in three months and I’m off allergy meds for the first time in decades. The scale is a tool. Believe me, if and when I ever get to size 10 or 12, I won’t obsess about that last 10 or 15 pounds, but I sure don’t want to see the numbers start creeping up again.

    • Cathy N says

      Paula: Awesome work, girl. I’m in your age group (a little older), and I have gone through a 50+ pound weightloss. I also tried many diets, but the Paleo way has changed everything.

      Don’t focus on the pounds, just enjoy the journey. You are doing great – feel good about yourself. I just love this Paleo way of living. It’s the best thing I ever did for my body. Anyway, just wanted to send you an atta girl from a another mature gal on the same journey.

      You are a warrior woman.

  13. Jenny says

    Awesome post! I love the blind date scenario.

    Question: I’ve been eating Paleo (with few cheats in the form of corn tortillas) since September. I was doing GREAT for about two months. Clothes got loose, was feeling good, and then slowly but surely, I started gaining. By March, I was up 10-15 pounds, and went from a size 4 to a size 8. I started Crossfit in April (started with twice a week, now going three times a week), and while I am definitely noticing some new muscle (loving that!), I do not appear to have lost any fat, nor have I started to “shrink” again. In fact, I really think I might be gaining fat. Any thoughts? I do have QUITE a bit of excess skin and abdominal fat (was 224, and lost to 145 using Medifast two years ago). I’m worried maybe I shouldn’t be supplementing my meals with ANY extra fat (like eating an avocado at lunchtime – maybe should just stick to the meat and veggies?). Bloodwork all ok, too, so it’s not thyroid or anything like that.

    Any thoughts you experienced folks out there could give me would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    • Bebe says

      Fats are absolutely necessary and one’s body will not thrive without them. Have you ever noticed how some women look slender but also kind of shriveled? That’s what low-fat will do for you.

    • Jessica says

      Jenny, I hear you! I have been strict paleo (almost annoying to my family members) for a couple of years now and my weight has steadily increased by 20 lbs. (5’5″ tall, from 115 to 135) over these two years! I actually rarely weigh myself, but I began to notice that my clothes no longer fit me, so I began to monitor it more. I have done everything from cut out all fruit and nuts for a while, to adding more protein (I get really pudgy when my protein is too near 1 gram/lb. body weight), to eliminating starchy tubers, to intermittent fasting (this actually made me even mushier), to crossfitting (and feeling completely wiped out), to slowing waaaay down and lifting a couple of times a week+yoga+walking (I think I burned out my adrenals).

      I’ve also noticed a huge increase in CELLULITE since I began paleo. I really don’t understand – I have been soooo good with my eating. It almost makes me feel silly to tout the paleo concept so much when my family and friends eat pizza and drink beer and look better than I do…haha.

      Any suggestions, anyone?

      • JasonS says

        There is still a piece missing somewhere. Find a pro and have them take a look at your food log, sleep patterns, any meds you might be taking (including birth control), perceived stress level, and every other possible input. I see situations like this from time to time and the solution is usually a simple one when all the factors are examined together, but I have not yet figured out how to dig down to a productive level in the comments of a blog. Someone near you can help you. You also might want to find someone certified in Biosignature testing, but it might not be necessary if you are just overlooking something that jumps out at a trained eye.

        • Jessica says

          Thanks, Jason. Other than a biosig practitioner, what kind of pro would you recommend? I believe most doctors would take a look at my diet, tell me to cut back on the fat and add ‘healthy whole grains’. Unfortunately my local resources are limited, as I live in a small town in Western NY…I did go to a biosig guy briefly last year while visiting a friend CO. He recommended DIM and calcium d-glucarate. I took it for a while (and had actually done so before), but had no results.

          I know that my sleep was very good until I threw some IF in a couple of weeks ago. Since then, my sleep has been horrendous – hard time falling asleep, still beat when I get up in the morning. I do sleep in a pitch black room, average 1,500-1,800 cals/day, don’t take any meds (not even aspirin, and went off BC three years ago), take cod liver oil, vit D, I drink lots of water, take HCl/digestive enzymes with my meals. I’m not stressed, aside from wishing I could fit back into my favorite jeans:)

          Thanks, again…

          • JasonS says

            This kind of sounds like a cortisol issue to me and you definitely should not be doing any IF at this point. Try some Phosphatidylserine and be diligent about it for at least a month. By “pro” I mean somebody like myself or Sarah who understands paleo nutrition and exercise for cortisol control. You don’t say how long you have been training slow, but I would continue in that vein for a while. Lift heavy and walk.

          • Jessica says

            Thanks, Jason.

            Just curious…how much and what time of day do you recommend for the phosphatidylserine?

    • Jeff Moriarty says

      I agree with Jason. I take phosphatidylserine everyday. Usually 100mg for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ever since going paelo after starting crossfit, taking phosphatidylserine was recommended to me. I take the Source Naturals version, just because it’s available in 100mg tablets, which makes it easy for me to take it with each meal. This is the one –

  14. Keet says

    I agree. Actually, I agree so strongly that I’m gonna throw the thing away. It was pretty much the reason for my “failed” attempt at Paleo last year which resulted in gaining back all 30 lbs. It took me 9 months to lose it, 3 short months to gain it all back. I am back on Paleo, lost 16 lbs. the first month but have now come to a complete stop. BUT…my clothes are looser, my belly is flatter & I have energy, so why am I discouraged? That’s stupid. I am not gonna let myself get hung up again on how far away I am from my “goal weight”. I am sticking with strict Paleo for one full year & however I end up I will consider THAT my goal weight. :) Thanks for writing this, I needed this encouragement. I know relying on the scales is illogical but really needed to hear someone say it.

  15. says

    I don’t have a scale, but am actually afraid to get on one. A month ago I gave up all grains, doing the low carb/high fat route. Since then, the bloating is gone, my pants are practically falling off, and my too-tight blouse is now loose. If I got on the scale now and found I hadn’t lost much weight, I’d be depressed. As of now, I’m happy to be thinner than I was. Still have probably 50# to lose (I was around 205 4 months ago, at 5’6″). I’m 55, menopausal, and type 2 diabetic.

  16. says

    I love this! For years I ate “healthy” (according to Conventional wisdom), worked out and weighed myself weekly without dropping a pound. I was constantly focused on what I was eating (or going to eat at the next meal), my workouts and that stupid scale. I felt like such a failure–how could I be so “fit” (running half marathons) and still be so “fat”? When I went paleo 4 or 5 months ago, I also put away the scale. It is so freeing to not be focused on that darn scale or food. I love enjoying what I’m eating, not feeling hungry, feeling strong and healthy AND having my pants get looser and looser. Having my husband tell me I’m losing my “rolls” is a way better benchmark for me than what a piece of metals says!!! Once a month I pull out the scale and the tape measure and I gauge my progress with the numbers, but I don’t obsess over it like I use to and it feels great!

  17. MaryAnn says

    I have pictures and fat pants to remind me where I was! I don’t spend an hour getting dressed every day looking for something that “doesn’t make me look fat” to remind me of where I was! Every time I do a pull up, I remember where I was. Every time I pass up cotton candy or baked ziti I remember where I was. I have a pretty decent amount of people either telling me I look GREAT or trying to tear me down to remind me of where I was — I whole heartedly agree with this – when I look back at the old pictures, I’m NOT thinking I weighed xxx, I’m thinking OMG! I was fucking fat!!!!

    • Jennifer says

      I LOVE this! Hit the nail on the head for me too. It’s all about the pictures and fat pants. LOL! I have pants that both I and one of my friends got into at the same time. THAT is the victory. I used to obsessively weigh myself every week, however, I no longer care because a number on an man-made piece of metal does not define me. There are so many factors that go into what that number is, many of which you can’t control. I just control the things I can and the weight takes care of itself. I’m stronger, healthier and moving forward toward my fitness goals. Isn’t that what really matters?

  18. says

    Oh my goodness, Jason! Thanks so much for this post. Just about every day, I talk to beautiful women, inside and out, who are freaked out about what the scale says. They come to me in a panic about the scale number. However, when I ask them how their clothes are feeling, they tell me they’re down a pant size, or have lost 2 inches in their waist. But instead of celebrating their body composition changes and improved health, they struggle get past the scale number…very sad. Can’t wait to read Part 2!

  19. mishele says

    I get the concept of going by measurements and not weight, but…. at 5’2″ and 180, I KNOW I need to lose weight. I’ve been eating paleo for 5 weeks and have bounced from a 2-5 pound weight loss TOTAL. My pants are a smidge looser around my waist and I do feel much better, but I don’t understand how it is even possible to stay the same weight and lose lots of inches of you aren’t doing any type if exercise that will build muscle. I finally decided I must be eating more than my body needed, so I cut back the size of my meals. I am finally seeing the scale go down, so in that respect, the scale helps. I am going to try to put more of an emphasis on inches from here on out, though. I am looking forward to PART 2 of this topic.

    • JasonS says

      “but I don’t understand how it is even possible to stay the same weight and lose lots of inches of you aren’t doing any type if exercise that will build muscle.”
      Why aren’t you doing any type of exercise that will build muscle? Why eat the way you were designed to eat without moving the way you were designed to move? I do not believe these things are separate. Would you quit drinking to improve your health, but continue to smoke?

      • mishele says

        I am not opposed to exercise at all, as a matter if fact, i quite enjoy it. Up until December of last year, I was very active in a cross fit gym, but was suffering from adrenal fatigue, and was instructed by my doctor to limit my exercise to walking, yoga, and exercises that don’t stress my adrenals. I kept doing elipical at the gym, and am just recently feeling up to doing more without feeling fatigued.

        • JasonS says

          I am not a doctor, and this isn’t medical advice, but heavy lifting doesn’t really do much to tax the adrenals. You don’t see much adrenal fatigue in the power lifting community. CrossFit, on the other hand, is a great way to tax your adrenals, and should be implemented much more responsibly than what we typically see in most CrossFit gyms. Cardio, like the elliptical machine, is also probably a bad idea, in my opinion.

  20. Jenn says

    I so needed this post today!!!! I’ve watched my body shrink and define over the past 6 months and when I do weigh, I’m blown away with how high the number is because I’m wearing a much smaller pant size. So from this point forward, the number doesn’t matter just the strength, endurance and clothes :)

  21. says

    I weigh myself every day and I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    I think the issue is not the scale itself, as a tool, but rather, that some people turn weight into their ultimate measure of everything.

    Here’s what I like about using a scale:

    1) It gives me trajectory.

    True, the weight may not be a good indicator of overall health, but as someone who’s very overweight, it provides insight into the rate at which progress is taking place. If I eat too many carbs (splurge and eat some fries) then it becomes apparent in the next few days as I don’t drop any weight, and perhaps gain Lb. or two. Using the scale lets me know I’m still progressing in the direction I want to head.

    2) Body fat & Water Weight.

    I know that my scale’s ability to measure my body fat and water weight are inaccurate. But, if my body fat is going down in percentage according to my scale, then it’s likely linked to reality, that I’m losing body fat. That’s good, because I’m a tubby dude. I don’t use the percentage as some sort of rigid standard, but rather, as a comparable marker for progress.

    3) It keeps me accountable.

    I know that strength, energy, and the way my clothes fit are better indicators of my progress, but my friends and family can’t understand that for themselves. Goals are almost impossible to achieve without a support network, and the easiest way to get people to support me and reinforce my habits is to use a standard they can easily see and understand.

    I use to keep track of what I eat (mostly for ratios of carbs/protein/fat) and also to track my weight loss. When I enter my weight it goes straight to Facebook and all my friends and family see it. Their knowledge of how I’m doing, and seeing that I’m dropping about 2 Lbs. a week keeps them interested, it keeps them asking me how I’m doing, and it makes them question me when we’re out and about and I consider eating something I shouldn’t. It’s good having them on my side and watching out for me. If I simply posted, “feelin’ sexier in ma’ pants”, they probably wouldn’t be as excited for me.

    I guess the point is that a scale is less like a yardstick, and more like a cubit; that’s still useful. Just because people easily abuse a tool, we shouldn’t just jump on it and condemn it. There’s plenty of bad stuff on the internet to make it far less useful than a scale for the people who get caught up in it.

    • Jason says

      I can agree that the scale can be useful if you have a lot of weight to lose. Stay tuned for part 2 and you will see my point about the rest.

  22. says

    PS. I’m down 42 lbs. but it’s not that obvious to outside observation. I look relatively the same, though I’ve dropped a pant size or two. I ***feel*** a LOT better and healthier, but to people at the store who see me buying steaks, I’m still some sad fat guy to stare at.

  23. Shelley says

    I certainly didnt feel any better or look any better when I DROPPED 8 pounds on my 5′ frame. I had crosstrained with weight lifting for 4 years and suddenly my gym closed. I decided to just take a break from it all. over the next 6 months I dropped from 140lbs to 132lbs but went from a size 4 to outgrowing a size 6. Happily I discovered the Paleo lifestyle after that and after 7 months am now in a size 2!!!

  24. kellyk says

    Thanks for the post! I have always lived by the number on the scale, and it really is ridiculous. I have been Paleo for 3 months and I’m not seeing any more weight loss, but I look and feel better than ever. I have been working out for years…YEARS….. I never saw a difference in my body until I went Paleo. “It’s almost like this stuff really works!!!!!!!!!”

  25. Emily says

    So would a quick 30 minute walk on the treadmill a few times a week be bad? I do strentgh training as well but do enjoy walking on treadmill. I typically vary the speed and incline over the 30 minutes so it isn’t just spent going at the same speed the whole time.

  26. BeckyS says

    When I started to Crossfit and went Paleo at the same time…..I was at probably 120 lbs. I do not have a scale, but had access to one at the Y where I was working out prior to Crossfit. Once I started SWEATING, and sculpting my old body back into recognition… shorts were loose enough that I had no desire to get on a scale. I WAS GETTING IN SHAPE! Plus, I was eating coconut oil, tons of avocados, eggs, meat, and still losing inches in my waist. I was not doing tons of situps or ab work either. Plus, I am in my early 50’s! Soon, I was able to stop worrying if my t shirt went out, bc I had lost my belly fat and cellulite from the back of my thighs and could wear short shorts again! I got on a scale about 3 months after I started and I had lost…………….. 4 lbs! So, I am a believer in ditch the scale.

  27. Marie Keith says

    Thank you for this post. I feel better eating Paleo. I perform better eating Paleo. I sleep better eating Paleo. I feel better feeding my kid Paleo (a house divided will not stand!). For me (I can’t speak for everyone here), if you’ve ever been the fat girl, those calories listings are just burned into your head right with the crummy pantyhose charts that say I should way 115-135. I’m 190 at 5’6″ and my body fat is 26%. Yes, 190 – a “dude” weight. Every now and then (ok, a lot now and then), I panic and think, “I’m as much a heavy weight boxer!” Or, ” I just ate 1,500 calories worth of bacon!” Chasing a number is a lousy way to spend time. I am tossing my scale out – I don’t know why I was holding onto the damn thing anyways when it always makes me feel like crap. Hulk smash!

  28. Ally says

    As a fitness professional- I agree 100%. In fact- I read this article out loud to my 3 Bootcamp classes tonight. As a part of Bootcamp- I do everyones weight, bodyfat and measurements. After 4 weeks, I give them a report card with there before and afters along with there body fat IN POUNDS and inches lost. I read this to my classes because I am so so so sick of hearing people ask why there body fat has changed and why they have lost inches but not lost any weight. I think this post really drove the message home! Thank you so much! Can’t wait to read part 2!!!

  29. Eileen says

    I certainly cannot speak as to how others view themselves.

    I use the scale as a measurement tool to gain an understanding as to where I am with various factors i.e bloating, metabolic rate in the terms of how fast my body can break down various meals. An example would be before a meal weigh myself, have my coffee and morning shake, weigh myself again soon aferwards, and subsequently every hour or so until I get back to where I started before the meal. Yes I know it seems like a lot of work, but I’m curious as to see how long it takes to break down what I’ve eaten.

    I would be lying if I said I don’t associate the use of the scale to some degree for vanity’s sake. With that said it’s not the be all end all of how I eat or live my live my life either.

    • JasonS says

      “An example would be before a meal weigh myself, have my coffee and morning shake, weigh myself again soon aferwards, and subsequently every hour or so until I get back to where I started before the meal.”

      Just curious, what do you do with that information?

      • Eileen says

        How fast is my body breaking down the food I just put in (in the form of weight).

        Starches whether it be rice or pasta take forever to “breakdown”
        The weight seems to just sit there

        • JasonS says

          But what do you do with THAT information? In other words, how do you apply the breakdown of foods to your life? Are you saying that slow digesting foods are bad? Starches actually tend to be very quickly digested, so I’m just wondering if you are changing something in your lifestyle based on what you perceive the scale is telling you. For example, do you eat less food?

  30. says

    Love this post! It took me years to stop weighing myself: YEARS. I would wake up feeling great about myself, and then step on the scale and be INSTANTLY crushed. My whole day was shot if I didn’t weigh what I thought I should.

    I have muscle. I’ll always weigh more than I look. It’s a fact of my life. I’d rather have my muscles and weigh 150 than have no muscles and weigh 125.

  31. Lori says

    I started Cross-Fit 7 or 8 weeks ago. I ate very clean, when I switched to Paleo I lost 3 lbs the first week. I altered it a bit with more fats. I am 5’9′ and I don’t know how much I weight. Last it was 146lbs. I was struggling with getting back to 143 lbs like I was 3 years ago. That was then this is now. I am so tired of the scale it is not accurate anyway. Even the ones with the body fat monitor. My test at the local university had me at 16.5% body fat and the scale said 21.5% BIG DIFFERENCE. I have not weighted myself in months and I don’t care anymore. I just look at myself in the mirror or I will take measurements once in a while. I guess a some point we have to be happy with ourselves internally and externally. Great post :)

  32. Rachel says

    I think this is funny! I don’t own a scale because I used to obsess over the number. We just finished up a 60 day food challenge at CrossFit All In in Lake Stevens WA, and I actually gained 3 lbs! There is a big difference in my before and after pictures, and I dropped a whole pant size! Proof that the number on the scale says NOTHING about the way your body looks!

  33. says

    I’m really disappointed that this post focuses on weight in regards to having a man’s approval. All of the examples assume that a woman wants a great body in order to impress a man. There are MANY other reasons women want awesome bodies. In my opinion, this is a gross simplification of something much more complex.

    • JasonS says

      I’m sorry Bonnie, but you are going to need to read my post again. I gave 6 examples. Number 3 mentioned a male perspective because it is about personal experience and I am a male. Number 6 used the example of Playboy magazine because it is likely that all of the women reading this post have seen the inside of more Playboy Magazines than Playgirl Magazines. And none of the other examples use a one sided example of physical attraction that does not directly apply to both sexes.

      The bottom line is that this post is about how bodies LOOK, not perform. Nobody weighs themselves to see if their back squat went up or their sprint times went down. So, I’m curious about the other examples you might give that a person would want their body to LOOK good, if not for the sole purpose of physical attraction?

  34. Marye says

    Love this post!
    I’ve been eating Paleo for about 8 months now and I’ve lost around 58 lb. Three months ago I started Crossfit and I was frustrated that my weight lost stopped. But my body didn’t stop changing. I stopped stepping on the scale and that feels like a great relieve. My clothes still become looser and I feel great in my own skin so it’s fine no matter what my weight is.

  35. Mike says

    and what about those of in weightclass driven sports?

    mirrors and pant sizes make us feel good but if you don’t make the limit – you don’t wrestle, lift, etc.

    “scale don’t lie”

    • JasonS says

      Sports with weight classes are certainly an exception. It’s probably also okay to weigh babies at birth and people with emaciating diseases, too.

  36. Samantha says

    Ok so I have been doing Crossfit for 12 weeks and LOVE IT! I was sseing my body change slightly, but the scale wasnt moving which I was ok with. I am 6 feet tall and weighed in at 161. I have been eating clean/Paleo for 22 days. I have lots 6 1/2 inches, 6 pounds, improved my WOD by a minute and love the shape my body is taking on. I started off trying Clean eating just for the challenge at the gym. but i love the physical results I am getting ….and my chronic knee pain is GONE! I am now a Paleo girl through and through!

  37. Laura says

    By this logic can we also banish body fat percentages?! Mine seems rather high (over 30%) but I have amazingly cut legs from running, and a strong core from yoga. And my weight is actually in my “feel good” zone. So bfp? Pfffffftttt.

  38. Marie Keith says

    I just reread some of these. I don’t understant the weighing every hour after the morning shake. Firstly, it would be a huge pain in the ass. Where are you at where you can hop on a scale every hour? Secondly, it seems a little borderline OCD or eating disorder type stuff. Thirdly, do you only have shakes for breakfast, ever? No bacon?

    I can only think of one instance where my weight would be a factor – if a doctor was trying to figure out how much of a drug to give me, and hopefully that won’t be coming up very often. Besides that, when does it really matter? I’m not in a weight class sport, but I agree that that is a valid example as well.

  39. says

    When your BMI is >40….what is says on the scale DOES matter! When you have to ask for a seat belt extension on your dream trip to Rome…what it says on the scale DOES matter! When you can’t fit in the seat of the new Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios and must hold up the ENTIRE line while you try to get out because you’re stuck…..what it says on the scale DOES matter!

    I do understand the point that Jason is trying to make, but it’s not realistic to discount the scale when weightloss is your goal. I’m just trying to find the happy medium….someplace where I am healthier and where I weigh less.

    • JasonS says

      First of all, BMI is a joke. Every pro bodybuilder that ever lived is obese according to BMI, and that’s even when they are on stage at 4% body fat.

      What exactly do seat belt extensions and weight have in common?? Needing a seat belt extension pretty clearly means your waist circumference measurement is too big, not that you are too heavy. Did they weigh you when you got on the plane and decide you needed a seat belt extension? No they gave you the extension when the seat belt didn’t fit AROUND you.

      On the Harry Potter ride you are again talking about size, not weight. You did not fit in the seat because the space you require was larger than the seat, not because you weighed too much.

      It sounds like you are trying to find a happy medium…someplace where you are healthier and TAKE UP LESS SPACE. Look, I understand your perspective, and I’m not trying to be a smart ass, but your perspective could be healthier. You will understand more clearly after part 2. Please stay tuned. I want to help.

      • says

        I have not read Part 2 yet…and I will. I think we are talking about apples and oranges here. In my opinion YOU are talking about people who are physically fit but weigh more because of the “muscle weighs more than fat” mumbo jumbo…yea, I get that. But I’M talking about the fact that my size AND weight are directly related. For me, the number on the scale is just as important as “taking up less space”. I would venture to guess that MOST people who ARE big (or take up more space)…weight MORE than people who don’t take up as much space. I think if the airline weighed me and looked at the number only….they might get a “hunch” that I’d need a seat belt extension. You just can’t weight almost 300 lbs and not need one….unless of course, you have really big FEET!

        • JasonS says

          Here is most of a comment of mine from part 2 that I think further explains my point:

          …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….

          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.

  40. MayB says

    I think the scale can be a problem for some, but for many it is a useful tool when the goal is to lose or maintain weight. I weigh myself most mornings just to be sure I haven’t done something stupid. Like a few weeks ago when I was munching on nuts WAY to frequently. It took a few days to pinpoint my “problem” but I would have gained much more before I saw a difference. I also have BDD (body dismorphic disorder) and can’t see much of a difference in the mirror between 220 lbs and 150 lbs, so the scale helps me a lot more than how I look (which is always fat and ugly in my eyes…oh well)

    • JasonS says

      But the question remains, why does anyone want to lose weight? What exactly does weight have to do with image? My point is simply that weight is not directly related to anything visible and yet it’s the first thing everyone assesses when they decide the don’t like the way they look. Again, stay tuned for part 2.

  41. Grace says

    Well, this is refreshing :)
    At 13, I was 5’9″ and weighed 155 (after a traumatic one week 20 pound loss). Weighed that until I was 33, and 5’11”. Then I was on some medication that changed that. I NEVER owned a scale. Weighed in at doc’s office only. Seventy-five pounds later, last fall, I did the hcg diet which requires a scale.

    Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to ridding myself of that scale! I’ve only just begun my paleo, and I have a terrific support. Including this blog!

  42. J says

    I disagree. The scale is a good tool for me. I’m watching that trendline go down, and that is good. I’m also watching the % fat go down along with it. (It’s one of those Tanita jobs with the electro shock running through my body…) I’m also watching the pants get looser and I’m feeling better and enjoying the positive comments from friends, family and co-workers. I’ll take all the positive data that I can get. For me, it’s all good. The scale is good. It’s just one more piece of data.

  43. Amanda says

    I’ve learned not to care about the scale, only because it doesn’t measure mass at all, only, as you say, gravity. What I do use it for is just to see if something has changed, and that is once a week…when I’m staying the night at my SO’s house. I take measurements every month or so. So long as my measurements haven’t risen, I’m not too terribly disappointed. :) Honestly the best thing someone with ‘scale addiction’ can do is throw the damn thing away and get yourself a tape measure made to take body measurements. If you’re really hardcore, you can get those devices that measure body fat percentage. I know what pant-size I want to be and what body fat percentage I want. Beyond that, I could care less how much I weigh on earth. :)

  44. says

    A friend just shared this with me and I want to thank you for writing what I — and so many women — need to hear. I had a baby eight months ago and have been back to my pre-pregnancy weight/size … but I am definitely fleshier and am going to focus on toning up instead of the scale.

  45. Jessica says

    You really hit a cord with me on this one. I’ve been searching and searching for “the answer” to my stagnation. I knew it was so many of the things you have in these blog posts, and your podcasts (working on listening to them all!!) I enjoyed the information and thought it sunk in, but then, I went to post it to my facebook page with a note “time to get rid of the scale” I found a lump in my throat and tears starting to form as I hit send. wow. thank you.

  46. says

    I’m on day 14 of Whole30 & of course I’ve been a slave to the scale my whole life, and have weighed myself 5 times so far & disappointed I’ve only lost 4lbs two weeks in when I have about 40 lbs I need to lose. At 6ft tall, I’ve always struggled with being overweight. The Dr.’s have told me, my mother, the magazines, etc. I’ve quit on & off with Paleo for the last two years never committing 100%, although I came off 6 meds for my PCOS & restored my monthly cycles. I’m going upstairs now to hide the scale. I took my measurements on day 1, and this is what I’ll rely on along with my clothing. I took up hot yoga last weekend, & stick to my whole30 even when joining friends when out. I have the ability to kick ass, & I’ve forgotten this at times I’m depressed about my weight. In Bend, Oregon, where you have people in their 80’s doing yoga and riding bikes or kayaking, I have no excuse. I look forward to PCOS getting the hell out of my life, restoring my body’s true balance, and not obsessing about how others want me to look, but to be fit, healthy and at a weight my body lands at as I move along.

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