Weight is something that is commonly used to measure health and progress, but the idea that a number on a scale can indicate how healthy you are should be long gone. Sure, it can be one measurement of health, but it’s just that, one measurement. Weight doesn’t take into account your internal, physical, or mental health. It is simply one number that most likely isn’t even right.
Here are 4 reasons why you should stop weighing yourself.
- Your Weight Fluctuates
Weight is always fluctuating. It’s affected by the foods you are eating, whether you have used the bathroom, exercise, your hormones, your period, fluid retention/loss and the list goes on! For example, if you ate a meal high in sodium and carbohydrates the day before, it might seem like you gained weight overnight. You didn’t actually gain pounds of fat though, as this really isn’t possible from one meal. You have most likely retained the water from these salty foods, causing you to weigh more. The same could be said for exercise. If you just finished a hard workout, you may have sweat out a bunch of water, causing your weight to decrease. Maybe you still haven’t gone to the bathroom yet that day, causing you to weigh more due to the contents that are still inside your body. If you get a period, your hormones can be all over the place depending on what part of your cycle you are in, also affecting weight. It is so hard to get an accurate measurement from weight because there is so much going on inside your body that doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of fat you have.
- It Could Dictate How You Feel And Send You Into A Binge
By weighing yourself, you are risking seeing a number that won’t make you happy. This number could cause feelings of guilt, sadness, or frustration. Sometimes the number on the scale can dictate how you feel for the entire day. Even if you felt good about your body that day, seeing a weight that you weren’t expecting can totally derail your positive mindset. By seeing this number on the scale, it might be easy to decide to just throw in the towel and binge on everything in sight when you really were actually making progress. If you aren’t able to look at weight solely as data, it is best to stay away from the scale to help your mental health.
Even if your long term goal is weight loss, stepping off and on the scale won’t help you to get there faster or see better results. Research shows that those who are intuitive eaters, and therefore not obsessed with their weight, are more likely to have a lower BMI and “healthier weight” based on their individual’s perception.
- You Might Have Gained Muscle
Weight doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle. Maybe you lost fat and gained muscle, causing the number on the scale to stay the same or even increase. If you look at the scale, you might think that you didn’t make any progress, when in reality you did. You feel stronger and are able to do more in the gym, but your body composition changes are not reflected by this number. Why look at your weight if it really isn’t reflecting any of the progress you made.
- The Scale Doesn’t Measure Health
Most importantly, body weight is not the only indicator of health. Health is based on what your body looks like on the inside and how it is functioning. It is based on what foods you are eating and how you are fueling yourself. It is based on how much you are moving your body as well as your mental health. These things can’t be measured by the scale. Don’t let this one measurement dictate how healthy you think you are.
There are many reasons why you don’t need to look at your weight. The number on the scale is usually incorrect, it can lead to negative feelings about your body and it doesn’t dictate health. Check out our other blog post “10 Ways to Measure Progress Outside of the Scale” to find out other ways you can measure your physical and mental health instead.
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This article was written by Mackenzie Flug, nutrition intern. Fact checked by by Allison Tallman, RD.