Throw Away Your Scale

by Susan Critelli


OK, this isn’t me. But  this picture helped me realize I had been measuring my success all wrong. Photo credit:

There is a Bible verse that says something to the effect of “do not despise the day of small things.” I have been trying to remember that as I have struggled the last month to see some results.

Any results. Talk about “small things!”

You know what I’m talking about. The measly pound you lose here and there. The quarter inch off your waist. Instead of rejoicing, you get all bent out of shape and declare that diet and exercise just don’t work.

Well, they don’t work when you have the wrong mindset.

In the last installment of my fitness journey, I said that “Healthy habits that promote weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle begin in your mind.” But when you focus your mind on the wrong target, you get the wrong result every time. I realized I wasn’t seeing results because I was looking for them in the wrong place: The Scale.  (Cue “Dragnet” music.)

I think I may have lost about 12 pounds since I started writing these articles.  Seriously? That works out to around three pounds per month. But the difference in my mobility, flexibility, and all around sense of well-being has skyrocketed.  I have stopped napping during the day. Some of my clothes are actually loose.  It only takes a half hour to walk about a mile and three quarters. I push my plate away while there is still food on it.

These are huge changes, and yet I have not noticed them until now because my mind has been focused on those numbers on the scale that just haven’t moved enough to suit me. This is the same thing that has happened every time I have tried to lose weight in the past. I have allowed those numbers on the scale to dictate not only my results, but my continued effort.

Two things happened recently that helped me to refocus on my real goal. First, I found a great article directed at “scale addicts” that turned my fitness paradigm upside down. The author posted the photo above, saying “I spent my entire career waiting patiently for the right situation that would produce the picture below.” If I wanted undeniable proof that the numbers don’t matter, there it was.  Second, I cut my toenails.

Wait, what?

I actually put my foot on the side of the bathtub and leaned “over my knee” to cut my toenails. That probably sounds like a small thing to you until you hear that it has been at least a year since I could put my foot up on the bathtub, and two or three years since I could lean over my knee for any reason. I was so busy whining about the numbers on the scale that I didn’t notice I had dropped a couple more inches off my waist!

No more daily – or even weekly – weigh-ins for me. When I was thin I never thought about it, and I am not going to think about it now. Instead, I am going to listen and watch for the other signs of progress that are obvious now that I have taken my eye off the scale.

It is said that you become like the five people you spend the most time with. I should begin to see even more progress when I surround myself with people who are encouraging me and pursuing their own fitness instead of people who have been using my struggles and excuses as validation for their own sedentary lifestyles.

If you are about to give up your fitness journey because you are obsessively measuring your progress by the numbers on the scale – STOP. Don’t give up – throw away your scale instead!

It is one thing for me to say I won’t care about the numbers, and quite another to actually do it. How do you keep from obsessing over every ounce gained or lost? I would love to hear from you – I welcome any suggestions for Fit After Fifty in the comments below.

 Susan Critelli
Susan Critelli
Social Media Strategist
“Internet junkie, social media maven and Mom to two amazing young adults.”


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Jas Seyfert May 23, 2013 - 6:34 am

Great comments and ideas, it is so easy to jump on a scale and measure your results but as you say..that is not what its all about. Thanks for the good thoughts and reason to stop weighing and just keep going.

mithuhassan2013 May 23, 2013 - 9:07 am

Sound looks great !! You can do it nicely, Susan!

bellydancer May 23, 2013 - 9:18 am

I admire you for being so determined. I’m having problem with self discipline. I always want to get into shape but I know its never easy. Kudos to you

Eco Preservation Society May 23, 2013 - 9:19 am

Wow, way to go. Very impressive.

philrosenberg May 23, 2013 - 10:30 am

Sounds like you’re doing a great job. Measure progress by how much easier (and faster) it is to run or walk a mile, by how your clothes fit, by how you feel.

Christopher Dziak May 23, 2013 - 10:56 am

Looks like you’re doing a great job, keep up the great work!

notgwenevere May 23, 2013 - 10:58 am

Its difficult to remember that small tangible measurable results over time create a solid foundation upon which success is stacked. I think you look great, full of energy, healthy glowing skin, toned muscles. Who cares what the scales says!?!?!?!

malarmalex May 24, 2013 - 4:31 am

It’t the little things that help motivate you – like how you said you could lean over and trim your toe nails. For me it has taken over a year to loose 15 lbs. I started doing the “Insanity” work outs but I couldn’t keep it up. They literally were insane.

Mustafa Darwish May 24, 2013 - 5:00 am

When some people follow a diet with the exercises, they get nervous and depressed. I think it because of the sugar, when its percentage in the blood goes down the adrenaline goes up. Have you been through this?

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