My hatred for the scale stems from seeing so many friends and family basing their self worth and attractiveness on a number. Not just any number mind you, but a number that can change (and most probably will change) due to any number of circumstances unrelated to anything they are actually concerned with.
Many people I care about use that number to assess how attractive they are, how much discipline they have, how “good” they are and so on. But that number doesn’t reflect any of that. It just reflects how much force they are placing upon the earth.
Alas, despite my soap box rants against the scale I must admit that it’s here to stay and is even used for the forces of good. For one thing, there are those studies that suggest people who weigh themselves regularly keep weight off more than those who don’t.
What we may need then is not to start chucking scales out left and right, but instead to change the relationship we have with the use of the scale. We have to get a clear picture of what that number actually means.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the scale does not measure anything other than how much force you place upon the earth. It’s not an accurate representation of fat, muscle, bone, hair, blood, or how thick your skin is. It’s just your weight and nothing more.
That doesn’t mean it’s a useless tool. When used in conjunction with other data, like skin fold measurements, limb width, and sports performance, you can get a bit more of a clear picture of what’s going on. It’s sort of like going from a blurry image to full HD.
As for the whole positive of keeping tabs for lasting weight loss, I prefer to use more to-the-point methods. If I’m concerned with losing strength I will test my strength. If I’m concerned with how I look, I’ll regularly check how I look. In other words I keep tabs on exactly those aspects of fitness I’m concerned with. I won’t keep tabs on the weather if I’m concerned with how sharp my carving knife is so I’m not going to use the scale to keep tabs on how tight my jeans fit.
Just like so many things in fitness, our problems and issues don’t stem from the use of a bad thing, but from the misuse of a good thing. The scale can be a good thing and I’ll cover just how in the next post.