Posts Tagged ‘scale’

Well, at the risk of repeating myself… I’m going to repeat myself.

Sort of.

I’m just going to start it with a simple statement and we’ll move on from there.

Losing weight and losing fat are two different things.

Tons of people want to “lose weight.”  That’s what they say, or something to that effect.

“Yea, I’d like to lose some weight and get back into shape.”

Hell, I said it.  Maybe I’m messing with semantics here, but what I really wanted to do was lose fat and I’d be willing to bet that that’s what most people want; to lose fat.

I had to learn the hard way that losing fat and losing weight are two entirely different beasts.  Certainly, at the size I was before, losing weight really was the goal.  That involved losing fat and some of the muscle I had built up over the years.  There was no way I could possibly change the fact that I had to lower my numbers in general to get healthy.

That being said, for people who aren’t nearly as bad off as I was, I think there is way too much emphasis on the numbers on the scale.  I’ve probably put on ten to fifteen pounds in the last few months (depends on the scale I borrow, since I don’t own one).

Yep, I gained weight.  But you know what?   I’m okay with that.

Along with those ten-fifteen pounds I’ve added wide grip pull-ups to my repertoire of exercises, I’ve put up higher numbers on all of my compound lifts, I’ve gained tons of endurance both muscular and cardiovascular, I’ve gotten faster during sprints, and I’m finally starting to see the outline of that six pack dream I’m chasing.

You can’t tell me that losing weight is always the answer.

We know muscle weighs more than fat per pound.  So why is it so hard for people to grasp that gaining muscle and adding a few pounds because of it is not the end of the world?

The damn scale.  The damn TV you’ve got next to your scale telling you what you should weigh.  The damn social network that scoffs anytime you mention “health.”

All of these things tell us that the number on the scale is more important than how we feel.  Well, I’ve gained weight, guess how I feel?



I wasn’t always this confident about that particular feeling.  When I first happened to chance a look at a scale and saw that I was heavier, I had a panic attack.  I even regressed a little and starting cutting calories thinking I had messed up somewhere.  I’m not supposed to be gaining weight.  I’m going to end up like I used to be.  I’m going to undo everything I’ve worked for the last two years.

You know, panicky stuffs.



Luckily, I didn’t do too much damage to my progress before I figured out the truth.  I was in the middle of doing pull-ups and realized that I wasn’t struggling like I used to.

How is it I’m heavier and doing more than I’ve ever done?”


It’s not easy to be someone who was overweight and see the scale go back up.  It’s probably not easy for anyone to see those numbers creep up.  It makes you feel like you’re headed in a direction you swore you’d never go again or would never go at all.  But if you take a second to stop and think about it, you may be heading exactly where you need to.

I think the best way for people to avoid the minor crisis I had would be to really think about their goals.  Define what exactly it is you are trying to accomplish and then find out what that goal actually entails.

Trying to lose fat.”—> Okay, I’m going to lose some of my strength/muscle mass.

“Trying to get stronger.” —> Yep, I’m gonna put on some pounds.

“Increase my cardio.” —> I’m going to want to puke after most of my workouts.

The truth is that I had been kind of winging it up until this point.  I made healthy choices but I wasn’t really sure what I was aiming at other than, “Be healthy.”  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it can have an impact when you start to see the numbers changing in either direction.

Realistically I know that not everyone is going to rid of their scale.  It’s just not done.  We judge our progress by numbers and, I admit, seeing numbers reflect our hard work is incredibly satisfying.  So, in lieu of that, maybe we should put more thought into how we feel off the scale than we do when we’re on it.



Seriously.  Do it.  At the very least, hide it.  Go into your bathroom, pick it up, make a note to clean up the outline it left behind, and hide the damn thing.  But if you are going to go full “Office Space” on it, send me a video.


If you’re just getting started on a fitness journey, and if you must, go ahead and weigh yourself one more time.  Remember that number, because you’ll never see it again.  When I started I weighed myself once and didn’t touch it again until 8 months later.

I can’t take credit for this stroke of genius, however.  My fitness mentor told me to do it and I hated it.  For about two weeks I kept wondering if I was making progress, I developed the nervous twitches of a drug addict.  But then one day I walked into the firehouse and one of the guys said, “Hey man, you losin’ weight?”

Screw that scale.

Then, a week or two later, my clothes started fitting differently.  Not much, but the shirts felt a little looser and the pants just weren’t quite right.  Yet another person, “Man, you’ve got mad jawline showing right now.”

Scales are for suckers.

My point is that weight is just a number.  It does not define success, it does not deign you healthy, and it sure as hell does not define you.  How you feel is what matters.  I’m sure I had dropped a couple of pounds in those first few weeks and maybe seeing that reflected on a scale would have made me feel good, I don’t know.  What I do know, is that I felt AWESOME when people noticed.  That took my journey out of the hypothetical ether and straight into the non-fiction section.

When I finally weighed myself 8 months later, while ecstatic at the actual progress I had made, the number didn’t mean all that much.  Frankly, everyone else cared about the number more than I did and I weighed myself simply to avoid anymore weird looks

“You don’t weigh yourself?  That’s against the rules.”

Another reason for hiding the scale is so that you don’t obsess over little things.  I’ve watched people freak out because of a stubborn one or two pound fluctuation that could have simply come from them weighing themselves at a different time of day, having their shoes on, or having just punished a trough of salad.

So, get rid of the scale.  Rely on what you see and how you feel to judge your progress.  As long as you keep making good choices and striving to be healthy, results will come.