Stepping on a scale to measure your progress can be counterproductive… This is what I have learned lately.


I haven’t owned a pair of scales since I lived in my childhood home. Every time I visit my parents I find myself stepping on the scales every day I am there. It’s like some sort of compulsion. I know my weight wouldn’t change in my 3-4 day visit, but I step on them before a shower regardless. I also weigh myself at friends houses if they own scales and I have recently been finding myself using the Gym’s scales a lot purely because they’re accessible. There is just something about stepping on scales to check in on yourself so addictive. But, does it really matter what the number say? Do you really need to validate yourself by seeing a number on a scale? What’s the point of stepping on when you know that it’s only going to determine your mood afterwards? We all generally feel kind of crappy afterwards if it’s not a number we want to see, don’t we?

I have been training really hard this past three months at Virgin Active on Pitt St (MidCity). I love it so much there. People have pointed out my progress, but I have been quick to shrug it off because the number on the scale hasn’t moved. In fact, I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life.


I got so angry the other day when I read the scale at the gym. How could I possibly be the heaviest I have ever been, when I am working out so much? I didn’t think I had increased my eating and I am eating healthy, nutritious food. I was quickly going through my calories in Vs my calories out in my head and from what I could tell, they were absolutely fine. If anything I would be burning more now that I was building more muscle.

I spoke to JD directly after and shared my concern with him. I was worried that maybe I was accidentally eating more without realising. Anyone knows that when you train hard your appetite increases, but because this style of training was new to me, maybe I just hadn’t realised I was hungrier? He was kind of shocked I felt this way because in his words “I was looking the fittest and most toned, I had ever looked in our 8 year relationship”. He explained that I had put on muscle and lost fat. Which lead me to think, maybe the scale isn’t the best indicator of change.

I was disappointed that I had let a pair of scales determine how I felt about my personal success and self-worth. All of this could NOT be measured by a scale. To some of you this all may sound really crazy, but to many of you it may sound exactly like something you’re going through right now. At that moment I decided to shift my focus to strength goals versus weight loss goals.

I have promised myself not to step on a scale and worry about how heavy I am. I am going to start focusing on how strong I am feeling and how much fitter I feel instead of what number is on the scale. This may be hard because of the scale in my gym – I walk past every day I train. It does everything – it tells you your BMI, Body fat % and I am pretty sure it will make you dinner if you ask.

I am going to focus more on the happiness I feel after a workout instead of how I look and measure my success by my accomplishments at the gym. I would love to be able to do 10 unassisted pull-ups and 20 burpees with good form. Burpees are my least favourite exercise, thus my form isn’t that great. I find them so awkward.


Today I want you to realise that your personality, your character, your morals define you, and not the stupid scales. Today, go out and be you. Don’t let the scale define your success. You should be proud of the fact that you’re working out or going to the gym, taking care of yourself and moving towards a healthier you. I want you to think about things that actually matter – things that make you feel great about yourself.

  • How are your energy levels? Have you increased them?
  • Did your work out have you feeling good about yourself and has going to the gym been improving your self confidence?
  • Have you noticed that you have improved your health?
  • Are you finding that your clothes now fit better?
  • Do you have more strength and stamina?
  • Are you happier?
  • Have you been able to improve your personal times to complete an exercise routine?
  • Have you reached a goal you’ve always wanted to reach

Once you give up the control and say #effthescales, you will feel so much more free and you’ll start to pay attention to the things that really matter.


Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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