Why I Gave my Scale the Boot

July 10, 2013

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I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while now, but this is the first chance I’ve gotten to really put thoughts down on paper with all the craziness of our summer schedules.

As a bit of a background, I grew up in a house where we never owned a scale. Once in a while when I was visiting friends, I would step on a scale at their house. But my mom was a big proponent of not owning a scale. My mom has always been fit, healthy and active. Without saying it out loud, she was sending me an important message: the number on the scale doesn’t matter, being healthy does.

Right after college, when I was losing the weight I gained in school and finding my way back to my healthy body, I decided to buy a scale for my apartment. I’ve weighed myself almost daily ever since. The scale, which was located in my bathroom, was the first thing I stepped on each morning after waking up. I knew the general number my body had settled at comfortably, 145, and would monitor ups and downs to keep myself in check. A few pounds up, a few pounds down: As long as I was in the range all was okay.

However, in the past six months or so, I started to notice that my once normal relationship with the scale was starting to edge into unhealthy territory. It’s not uncommon for my weight to fluctuate between 140 and 148 throughout the course of a week. Suddenly, instead of taking the fluctuations with a grain of salt, I was starting to let the number on the scale dictate my day. If the scale read 148 it threw my day into a tizzy with negative body talk and a distorted view of what I looked like. If it read 140, I was elated and felt great. Instead of paying attention to how I felt, what my body was telling me and how my clothes fit, I was allowing a number on a scale to speak the loudest in my mind.

So, one day, I decided it was time to just put the scale away. I moved it out of my bathroom and into the hall closet. Getting it out of sight also placed it out of mind and I found that I was much happier and more balanced without being faced with a number every day. I still get my scale out every two or three weeks instead of daily, which is a much healthier way of monitoring overall weight and health rather than obsessing over minute details like water weight and daily fluctuations.

The funny thing is, weighing myself vs. not weighing myself daily has had zero impact on my weight. The scale wasn’t really helping me stay on track, it was just a tool I used to obsess over something I shouldn’t have been obsessing about.

How do you feel about the scale? Love it or hate it?


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  • Reply Sara July 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    this is an important lesson that is so hard to do! how quickly we become too tied up in that number. i know it took strength to put it away in the closet and get comfortable weighing in less frequently. but your mom was right – the number shouldn’t matter, it is being happy and healthy. i am learning this myself…

  • Reply Katie Hall July 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    i love this! I think it’s pretty clear where I stand on the whole scale issue given the nature of my work, so I am so glad that you were able to recognize how those numbers can skew your perception so easily! It doesn’t mean at all that I have been immune to the negative body image stuff though, I purposely don’t own a scale anymore- it just isn’t a useful/helpful tool for me!

  • Reply Jin July 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    the scale is the worst!! your mom is a great example. i had the same experience with mine, and literally just left it behind in storage when i moved across the country. it was so hard to not buy myself another and i definitely had anxiety. 4 months later, i was back at home and weighed myself for the first time – i was convinced i had gained weight, but i actually weighed less! being healthy and active does more wonders for you than stepping on the scale every day ever will 🙂

  • Reply Katherine Kelly July 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Friend. I don’t use the scale either and it is so helpful. In any case — I respect you so much for what you share here. I’ve had issues commenting as of late so: Happy Anniversary yesterday! I love your outfit posts! And, thanks for sharing from TasteSeekers’ Blog! 🙂 Be encouraged today, you are one, drop-dead-gorgeous woman: inside AND out.


  • Reply Cindy Germann July 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Good for you!! The batteries died on our scale about 3 years ago and ever since then I only see my weight at the doctor’s office once a year. That number quite simply doesn’t matter to me anymore, but I know if I weighed myself regularly I would obsess about it. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply Katie July 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I completely agree with you and I’m still fighting this everyday. Everytime the number of the scale is lower than the previous day, it feels like it’s going to be the best day of my life. And vice versa. Hopefully I can toss it ASAP. :/ But good for you! It’s hard to do this.

  • Reply Kristin July 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    We don’t own one. My husband used to weigh himself a lot, but in my case it was more like, “I’d rather not know..I either feel good or I don’t.”
    Plus, all scales are different! I went to the doctor last month and they weighed me in kilograms. It was great. That number meant absolutely nothing to me ha ha.

  • Reply Erika July 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I stepped on the scale last weekend for the first time in about a year and a half (I always turn around at the doctors office; I knew I had gained weight and didn’t want to face reality). The number at home wasn’t as shocking as I had feared, so I decided I would weigh myself twice a week. When I got on this morning, I was up 3.6 pounds! So disappointing when I know I’ve been eating well and exercising regularly. I think I’ll only do it once a month from now on.

  • Reply christine July 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I also grew up without a scale. Somehow a scale ended up at our house around the time we got married, but we’re not really sure how. ( i think we borrowed it from someone to weigh some suitcases once?) Since then, I keep it underneath the trashcan under the bathroom sink. The only times I regularly weighed myself (which was about once per week at the most) were when I was pregnant and wanted to be careful about not gaining too much weight, and then postpartum for about 6months when I was trying to lose the weight. Once i get close to my goal weight number (within 10 pounds) I stop weighing myself because I hate obsessing about the numbers too.

  • Reply whitney July 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    i love this post! i banned the scale a while back and don’t miss it at all!

  • Reply Micah @ Unabashedly Me July 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I also stopped weighing myself earlier this summer. I used to weigh myself a few times a week and had several of the same reactions you described. I was putting too much emphasis on that number instead of how I feel or how my clothes fit. I am five pounds heavier than I was six months ago, but I know I am in a lot better shape (based on the workouts I’m able to complete now). I decided to stop putting my worth and measuring my fitness in numbers. I have only weighed myself twice since May … just out of curiosity.

  • Reply Natalie Lynn Borton July 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Great post, Madison! When we got married, Brian and I agreed to have a scale-free household. Both of us have obsessed over our physical appearance too much in the past and knew that it was only a tool for self-hatred and vanity.

    I love the scale-free life, and let how I feel, how nutritiously I’m eating, the quality of my exercise, as well as how my clothes fit determine my overall health status.

  • Reply Amy July 11, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Thanks for this post- I think you are sending such an important message! I battled an (undiagnosed) eating disorder for about 7 years on and off an would weigh myself multiple times a day. Over the past 5 years and I have become much healthier but still weighed myself daily and like you, let it dictate my whole day. When training for my first 1/2 marathon or when doing Insanity I would gain weight (presumably muscle) but in my mind it was still horrible! Now I am pregnant with my first child and let me tell you- the scale going up rapidly (sometimes 4lbs a week) is not easy but has been a challenge in not letting the number define me. I think I will stash the scale away after I give birth and let my body speak for itself! You have inspired me today-thanks!

  • Reply Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray July 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    THANK YOU for posting this. I don’t own a scale, and I don’t want to, for the same reasons your mom never had one — I want to remind myself that being healthy and fit is more important that what the number says. I know myself, and I know that the number would dictate my entire day and perspective of myself. Like one of the previous commenters, I turn around at the doctor’s office and tell them I’d prefer not to hear the read-off of the weight measurements they take. I’ve grown accustomed to how my body *feels* — when a workout is more taxing the usual, if my clothes fit differently, if I’m feeling more sluggish than normal. And using those signs to adjust my workouts or food choices is much more effective…and less mentally destructive. And to echo Katherine below — you are gorgeous, and you should always remember that. Screw the numbers.

  • Reply Erin July 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for posting this! The scale is such a fixture in our culture. After recovering from disordered eating, it brings me so much joy to see people fighting against the numbers!

  • Reply Lauren at Keep It Sweet July 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Such a great post, Madison! I go in phases with the scale but can definitely related to the emotional roller coaster it can put you on! I might wake up feeling great / thinking I look great, but if the number doesn’t match what I think I “should” be, it puts me in an off mood for the entire day. I really am better off checking my weight occasionally (when I don’t weigh myself at all, I have a habit of eating more and more…).

  • Reply Megan July 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with you! I don’t weigh myself at all. I get my yearly check-up and that is the only time I ever hear my weight. I don’t need a scale to tell me when I’m not eating healthy–I can feel it. So I make a change, and I feel the results. Weight is just a number. What matters is how we feel and being healthy! I honestly never understood why people care so much about their weight.

    Good for you, Madison! 🙂

    xo Megan, LushtoBlush.com

  • Reply Urban Wife July 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I’ve never owned a scale and don’t plan on it. I know myself too well and would probably obsess over the number more than I should. I know where I should be from my yearly checkup, my clothes shouldn’t be getting tighter and food choices should be healthy. That’s how I measure my weight, not by a number on the scale. Good for you on ditching the scale and yay for listening to our bodies and eating well!

    p.s. Apparently, Feedly reader isn’t putting through your posts at all. The last one I saw come through was the 2 year wedding anniversary one. I was like “why isn’t Madison posting lately?” Oops. 🙂 Looks like I’ll be sticking to Bloglovin’ from now on – they always update pretty quickly.

  • Reply TheBalancedLife July 25, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Such a great message. I weigh myself weekly…if that. And if I’m feeling particularly body obsessed, then I stop altogether. Since I’m currently attempting to lose baby weight, I check in about once ever 1-2 weeks. Just to make sure that things are going in the right direction 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and touching on such an important topic.

  • Reply Ash July 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    This sounds like me!! You’ve inspired me to put the scale away. Day one starts tomorrow. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply Paige Cunningham August 10, 2013 at 3:56 am

    I quit the scale quite a few months ago after deciding to truly commit to recovering from disordered eating. I knew it was something that I needed to do in order to get better and stop the cycle I was in. I had had the same feelings as you, elated if the number was low and allowing my day to be ruined if it was too high. At first it was REALLY hard and I was tempted to step on it “just one more time”. It wasn’t until recently that I walked past a scale and had absolutely no desire to jump on. I have finally changed my definition of overall health and it has nothing to do with a number 🙂

  • Reply This Life I Live October 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Okay, so I just stumbled on your blog…not sure how, but here I am! I have struggled with some really unhealthy habits bordering on an eating disorder for years. About 2 years ago God really began to pull away some of the core issues at the root of that. However, there were several healthy practical steps I had to take. The first one was getting rid of the scale completely! It was a huge game changer! There is absolutely no reason for me to look at that number, because it either brought a false sense of peace and accomplishment, or a huge sense of anxiety and stress. There were a lot of things that were hard for me in dealing with that struggle, but that was one of the most helpful steps I have taken! Okay….sorry for the book here! Nice to meet you!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry October 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you for your sweet comment and taking time to share you story! I really appreciate hearing the experiences of others. I found that for me, it wasn’t the scale that was the issue, it was the core issues in my heart and mind that needed to be fixed first. But cutting out the scale helped me to focus on the real issues. 🙂

  • Reply Claire March 20, 2014 at 3:02 am

    Thank you, thank you for this. I’ve been actually thinking about this recently. My mom is a scale “owner and user”, and I noticed how that affected me as a teenager (and her, for that matter). Now that I’m in college and don’t own a scale, I actually find more freedom… like you said too! I’m on Spring Break, and happened to step on my Mom’s scale, and had one of those “bad-feeling” moments, all because of a number. Honestly, it’s mostly irrelevant, because I feel great and am staying active and healthy, but it’s disheartening to see how that consumed my thoughts then. It’s encouraging to see that someone else is taking a stand for this too, and is surrendering numbers on a scale to the Lord.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.


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