Do you own a scale?
Throw it away.
Yep. Throw it away.
Too many of us have been conditioned from an early age to tie our identity to the number on the scale. We pick an arbitrary “ideal” body weight and decide if we’re below it we’re healthy, and if we’re above it we’re not.
If your body fat, blood pressure, cholesterol, muscle mass, etc. are all good, then why do you care what the number is on the scale?
The dark side with tracking a particular number too obsessively is we can become driven by the number itself and not the purpose behind it. If you allow your success to be measured by what you think is an ideal body weight–a certain number on the scale–then you will do whatever it takes to get to that number, including wasting time and money on things like fat-burning pills and crash diets.
Named after economist Charles Goodhart, Goodhart’s Law tells us “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”
Author James Clear says “Measurement is only useful when it guides you and adds context to a larger picture, not when it consumes you. Each number is simply one piece of feedback in the overall system.”
It can feel satisfying to use a number like total weight to track your progress, but it’s just one piece of a much larger puzzle. This is why “non-scale” victories are so important. Do your clothes fit better? Are you more confident? Are you stronger? Yes? Then why do you care what the scale says?
The next time you see someone in the gym who you think looks fit and healthy, ask them what they weigh. Don’t be surprised if they can’t tell you. After all, if they’re fit, they feel good, and are happy with how they look, why should they care how much they weigh?
Don’t worry about short-term metrics like net weight. Come to the gym several days a week, eat well, get good sleep, and manage your stress. Make doing those things habits…things that you do reflexively, almost without even thinking. I promise you’ll be much happier with yourself in the short term and with the results in the long term than you will be if you keep getting on the scale.
If you look and feel the way you want to look and feel (or you’re making progress toward getting there), ignore the scale. Better yet, throw it away!
About the Author
Edward Getterman is a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3) and the owner of Twin Bridges CrossFit in Waco, Texas. If he can’t be at the gym or at home, he’d prefer to be at Walt Disney World. He loves deadlifts, hates running, and believes above all else that CrossFit is for everyone.