Why the Scale Lies

We give so much importance to numbers. They quantify things, they are objective means of assessing concepts. In fitness, we use numbers, more specifically scale numbers, to quantify our progress. Medical professionals even use this number to assess our physical health. Ultimately, it is no surprise that I used to have thoughts that went something like this, “The scale number should go down! That’s the only way I’ll know how close I am to being skinny with a fat ol’ booty! ” In thinking like this, many people become haunted by an object and stressed about a number. They believe that to be healthy, the scale should show low numbers. But is losing weight truly what it means to be fit?

I step on the scale occasionally but I try my very best to have very little emotional attachment to the number. My weight has fluctuated from low 130 lbs to low 140 lbs for the past few years. My doctor at one point even told me that I could lose 5-10 extra pounds. When I came back a few visits later, he proceeded to congratulate me because I had lost a few pounds. I suppose I should have received that as a compliment... but no. I definitely rolled my eyes at my doctor when I heard that...mentally of course because I approach situations like these with fricking grace and a dash of passive aggressiveness. Yeah I had lost fat but I also had gained muscle too. My doctor did not see me working my ass off, lifting heavy weight at least four times a week, sore while foam rolling my muscles, and spending my nights meal prepping. It’s not his fault that he couldn’t dedicate his time to watching and assessing my life (I know how sad he must be about losing out on that opportunity), his comment highlights the true problem with focusing on the scale… it fails to assess other aspects of health and fitness. An 130 lb person can come in all different shapes and sizes, thus making the scale an extremely surface view of your body’s functionality and appearance.

For all of these reasons and more, the scale lies. And because it lies, it makes your connection to your body so important. Are you fueling your body with the correct food? Are you challenging yourself in your workouts? Do you feel as if you’re stronger, faster, or more energized? Are you giving yourself time to mentally support you and your body? What does it need to get where you want it to be? Only you can answer these questions and no number can quantify what it truly means to be healthy and fit.