Topic Tuesday: No Weigh!

Posted: March 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Awhile ago, I heard about this new contraption - The Quantum Scale.

It's a scale that doesn't show your weight. Hmm, how in the world does that work? Well, you set your base weight with the scale (shows up as 0.0 not your weight) and then, when you go to weigh-in, the scale will simply read out the amount gained or lost from your base weight. I was very intrigued by this concept and got to thinking about it more and more.

As women, I find that we will often compare ourselves to others. One of the ways we do this is by comparing our numbers - weight, pants size, , measurements, and more. What if there was a way to eliminate one of these "oh-so-important" numbers? Could it really increase our self worth? Could it make a difference in our confidence? Or is it just a hoax that is really going to end up being the same song, just a different tune?

For the record, I have not stepped on a scale in at least three months. Well, I take that back. I did step on one at my doctor's office when I was sick BUT....I did not look. I have no clue how much I weigh. And I feel extremely liberated. I don't have something to compare myself to others, or even to compare myself to previous weights I have been, which is the hardest comparison for me when it comes to my body image. I now focus on working out and eating healthy because I enjoy it and know it is beneficial to my health, not to be a certain weight. I use my clothing and the mirror as a reference and it is by far enough for me to know I am maintaining a healthy body. So would this Quantum scale have any benefit to me now? Or would it just cause stress about weight in a gain/loss realm and wanting to keep my number at 0.0 instead of X lbs, reverting me back to still an obsession with weight, just in a different way?

On the other hand, I think the scale can be useful as one of many variables when tracking progress - whether it be to gain weight for health after an ED or to lose weight for health or after a baby for instance. ;) When I gave up the scale, my main goal was to maintain and keep myself at a healthy size. So clothing and the mirror worked for me. But when working towards a specific goal dealing with our body's makeup, sometimes the scale shows progress when other things aren't quite there yet. For example, you can usually see a drop in the scale before measurements or pants size. A scale should, in my opinion, never be the sole tool to track - measurements, progress pictures, and clothing are WAY more reliable and are what show up in real life - but it still can serve a purpose.

But then there is the aspect of when using the scale to track it can drive you insane. I  used to get on the scale at least once a week. And with as much as weight fluctuates naturally, I would always have days that my confidence would drop if the number went up. Back in the day, whenever I was working to lose weight or more recently when working towards the competition, I would unquestionably have a moment where I would hop on the scale and the number would not match what I expected from all my effort. Which would then ensue the "Is it even worth it?" dialogue in my head and in fact, lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy of my hard work falling apart, along with my sanity.

As you can see, there is a never ending list of pros or cons and rebuttals to each on whether a scale is an evil invention that decreases our own self worth or a useful tool in our quests for healthy living, and then where this Quantum Scale fits into it. I've compiled a list of some pros and cons I can think of related to this scale.

PRO - No worries about a scale weight and it not being your "ideal" weight. Yet, still able to track gains/losses/maintenance. I think the tracking can be especially beneficial so you have information to help adjust your plans if progress is not being made. We all know about plateaus and sometimes information is necessary to help change your plan of attack in order to bust through plateaus and reach your goals.

CON - Still having something extrinsic affect your self worth if it doesn't spit out the number you hope to see. There is no difference between expecting to see a 2lb loss show up as -2.0 on the Quantum Scale or as an actual weight 2 lbs less than your previous weight. Both circumstances could lead you questioning your weight loss efforts.

PRO - Beneficial to those with an ED working on gaining weight. Don't have to see a new scale weight, but can instead focus on the gradual progress of gaining? *I'm not extremely familiar with ED treatment, so please forgive me if this is out of touch with the needs of those in recovery.

CON - Seeing a scale go down could become an obsessive habit. Even if you reached a healthy weight that would normally be your "goal weight" it is possible you wouldn't realize it with the Quantum Scale and instead be obsessed with losing, leading to an unhealthy body, eating disorder, and focus on losing as much as possible.

In general, I believe a scale is completely unnecessary while just trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I always say we don't wear signs that show our weight or pants size, but our body does show signs of health, strength, vitality, and fitness. So we should put our focus on what matters and focus on health instead of trivial numbers. However, health journeys that have weight as a factor are a part of life, along with plateaus and the need to have tools to track progress. So, at times I feel a scale can be useful. After my next pregnancy, when working towards losing baby weight and wanting all the information that can help me do so available, a scale might make it's appearance in my bathroom again. Although it is also possible clothing,  a tape measure, and progress pictures would provide all I needed for reaching my goals anyways. We'll see when that time comes. But one thing I can tell you, however, IF a scale does make its way back into my bathroom....it would probably be this one. So I can see progress but not have a number to compare myself to attached to it.

What are your thoughts? Do you use a scale regularly? Does it affect your body image? Do you ever compare your weight - to others or previous weights of your own? Have you ever tried living without a scale? What has it done for you? Or do you think a scale is useful? Share away! I would love to know what you think!

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22 Comments to “Topic Tuesday: No Weigh!”
  1. I weigh myself every morning and I need to stop! I get discouraged if its .5lbs more than yesterday, but I know our bodies fluctuate (cant spell that word) a few lbs daily. I am just trying to use my clothes as a measuring tool now..

  2. Danielle says:

    This new scale is an interesting concept but I agree with what you said – “Still having something extrinsic affect your self worth if it doesn’t spit out the number you hope to see”

    I just did a post on this so I’m sure you know my opinion ;)

  3. Mellissa says:

    I very rarely weigh myself, I check out my clothes are fitting and how I feel. That method really works for me.

    The scale at my gym is right near the area women get ready in the morning and it is so sad to watch them walk up, look at the number and see their smile disappear. That sets a bad tone for their day!

  4. Lindsey says:

    I weigh myself often. I guess it’s a habit I’ve had since college when I gained 8lbs in a semester! (holy beer and late night eats!)…so since then I’ve weighed myself at least once a week to check in with myself.

    I know my body pretty well and probably don’t need a scale at all at this point…but I honestly, I’m not ready at this point to ditch it completely.

  5. I use to step on the scale every day and every day that I stepped on it, it determined if I felt good or bad about myself. I have tossed my scale aside. This new scale is interesting, I think it would still make me feel bad if I saw a +pounds. I think I’ll keep my scale-or any scale- in the closet for now!

  6. lisaou11 says:

    wow thats a very intrestign scale! I can see how it could be extremely useful or still a little detrimental. It all depends on the user.

    I usually weigh every 2 weeks or once a month!

  7. I do not own a scale. The only time I ever know my exact weight is when I go to the doctor. I think that if I owned a scale, I’d be obsessed by the numbers.

  8. Great topic!

    I have mixed feelings about the scale. The thing I like about it is that it keeps me in check. For a long time I didn’t think I could lose weight since I thought I was doing everything right and it wasn’t moving. Then I started revisiting my diet and I saw it move. It was a huge validation! But I think its important not to let the scale determine how you feel that day or let it tell you if you are “good” or “bad”.

  9. Melissa says:

    I weigh myself too often. Probably several times a week. One of my leftover disordered behaviors.

    I think I like the basic concept of this scale. Especially for me because I just want to maintain my body the way it is right NOW. I don’t want to gain or lose and that scale would let me know if I’m succeeding…without getting actual numbers in my head.

  10. I hop on the scale every now and then…but it’s never been a big issue with me. My weight hasn’t fluctuated more than 4-5 lbs. since I got married 3 years ago. I like to go by how my clothes fit too and also of course, the mirror doesn’t lie! ;> I do sometimes worry that when pregnancy does come, will I freak out over weight gain? Will I go insane trying to get back to normal after it’s over? Time will tell! But I have a feeling I’ll be just fine.

    • Tina says:

      Pregnancy actually made me a lot less obsessed with weight and gave me a much healthier approach to weight loss. I bet it could easily be the same way with you :)

  11. Amanda Estes says:

    Of course I love the scale when I’m eating well and know I’m losing weight but then their are those days/weeks when I know I haven’t eaten well and I look at the scale in horror. I don’t know if it has helped me having the scale. I did become obsessed with knowing if I’d lost weight or not so that wasn’t healthy at all. I know I’m not a skinny mini and never will be. I just want to feel good and eat healthier which I know I have…I just need to not get in ruts and go back to eating really bad like I was. It’s a lifestyle change!

    Great Blog! :)

  12. lindsayruns says:

    I occasionally measure (tape) myself too often and worry if the inches aren’t what I think they should be, but the scale isn’t something that bothers me. I went to the Dr. last week and so I know my number, and if I’m thinking about and it’s been a while I’ll step on the gym scale for a check. But otherwise, it’s no big deal.

  13. Cindy says:

    Funny you should post this….I was actually going to email you about your weight “gain” post-comp. (I put it in quotes because I realize it doesn’t really count!!!) I used to weigh myself daily; it actually really helped ME to monitor myself once I was at my goal weight. Otherwise, I would avoid the scale when I had a “bad” week, and that would sometimes snowball. Weighing daily (again, only once I was at my post-pregnancy goal) helped me to be accountable to myself 100% of the time.

    Now that I am pregnant again, I weigh maybe every other week to keep myself in check somewhat, although I do not stress about it near as much as I did with my first pregnancy. I realize that I CAN and WILL lose the weight eventually, and it is healthy to gain during this time. What I find interesting is I am not gaining weight as rapidly as I did last time, now that I have accepted it.

    But I am looking forward to getting my body back postpartum, which is what made me think of you and the “rebound effect”……

  14. I think no scale is the way to go!

  15. Marcia says:

    Great questions Tina…
    I was a twice a week weigher myself! I had no real reason to weigh myself either. I’m just a nosey person! ;)
    My sclae has been broken for over 2 months now. I knew this to be true when my 5 year old somehow gained almost 7 lbs. in a week!
    I was in “fat loss” mode at the time and make the mistake of stepping on the scale and was MAD at what it told me…even though I knew it was way off!
    I have not bought a new scale and might not for a while. I have no idea what I weigh and frankly I don’t care! My “tight” jeans still fit, so yea…whateva! :)

  16. i hate scales. they drive me crazy. even if i had no clue what the number was it would still drive me nuts. I think the world is better off without them!

  17. I’m really torn about this. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but it still puts an emphasis on a number…

    I still weigh myself about once a week, which is really silly since the number hasn’t gone down a lot even though my clothes are fitting much better lately. I just need to throw it out!

  18. Ameena says:

    I weigh myself every day! It is a terrible habit but I feel like if I stop and I gain a pound or two or three, there is no end in sight and I won’t know that I need to step away from the chocolate unless I have the scale telling me so.

    I wish I could be as liberated as you are. I am working on it. It’s a long road to stop putting an emphasis on a number.

  19. Therese says:

    I haven’t weighed myself since the beginning of December which is probably the longest time since high school. I never got caught up in comparing my weight with others it was always compared to myself….my “skinnier” self.

    Not constantly stepping on the scale has really allowed me to focus on gaining muscle (which can be hard if you see the numbers go up on the scale) and low and behold…my clothes are starting to fit better!

    Doesn’t mean I’m not still a bit curious…old habits die hard I guess!

  20. Jill says:

    GREAT post! I have such a love/hate relationship with the scale. It can elicit such a wide range of emotions in me. Pure joy to self loathing! I am so glad that I found your blog. I feel less alone. You have given me hope! Thank you!

  21. [...] of times.  One of the ones I’ve read more than once, and couldn’t agree with more, is her take on scales.  I actually recently posted on this issue and thought of her blog.  Just go to her site [...]

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