On Weight Loss - Why The Number on the Scale REALLY Should NOT Matter


As someone who aims to (and usually does) work out at least 5 days a week, fitness really is something I'm passionate about, so it hurts me when I see other women, and younger girls, and even men worry so much about something that really does not measure them accurately and leads to insecurity and doubt in themselves. I'll just say it right in the beginning, THE NUMBER YOU SEE ON THE SCALE DOES NOT MATTER, AND IS NOT A MEASURE OF YOUR PERSONAL WORTH OR WORTH TO A PARTNER.

On Weightloss - Why The Number on the Scale REALLY Should NOT Matter

I constantly see questions on here (mostly female) who ask about whether or not they're fat or if their size is okay, and the only thing they provide is height and weight, or they go off BMI. Or others asking how to "lose weight quickly" with only a set body weight number in mind as a goal. Let me say also, BMI IS A TERRIBLE AND INACCURATE WAY OF MEASURING YOUR BODY/HEALTH/FITNESS. I'm 5'5 and 160, or 1.65 meters and 72.5 kilos. My BMI puts me in the "overweight" group. Admittedly I am not slim by any means of the word, but nor would ANYONE call me fat or chubby in any way. I lift, I kickbox and practice MMA, and if you catch a kick to the ribs you best believe you'll be on the ground.

So ladies and gentlemen, please do not start working on your fitness with a body weight goal in mind. Muscle is more dense than fat, which is why you'll notice that as much as you work out, you might actually be staying at the same weight. But what you need to notice is how your body composition has changed. You will start looking slimmer, but still weigh the same. Measure body fat percentage if you absolutely have to keep track of something. Moving that number on the scale should be an added bonus and a side effect of your workout and fitness journey, but not the goal. My kickboxing gym actually doesn't even have a scale because they don't want people to focus on the numbers, but rather the overall transformation and fitness level of their members.

Also, body SHAPE make a huge difference when it comes to how your physical appearance is perceived. Everyone carries their weight in different places and what 160 might look like on me is going to look different on another 5'5 girl who (probably) has bigger boobs than me. Even when you work out, there are three main body types which govern how your workout will affect your overall appearance so watching what someone else does in the gym isn't always going to be a great indication of what you'll end up like.

On Weight Loss - Why The Number on the Scale REALLY Should NOT Matter

And on top of everything I've already mentioned, most scales you'd find in gyms or homes are likely slightly off if not totally inaccurate. Like any machine, the more you use it the more worn down it is and eventually it gets a little off. And if you're someone who freaks out about 1-2 pounds, that's not going to help you at all. One day I tried 3 different scales in my lifting gym, and I got 3 different numbers, with the highest and lowest, at an eight pound difference. EIGHT. I was 155, or maybe 163.

Then on TOP OF THAT, you will weigh differently throughout the day. I (and most people) will be lighter in the morning if you eat normally as your body would have been working on processing your dinner and breaking it down throughout the night, and you wouldn't have eaten breakfast yet. Weighing yourself after the shower at night after 3 meals if not more, possibly not pooping, a bunch of water, and whatever else you've done throughout the day will likely make you another 2-3 if not even 5 pounds heavier. The scale doesn’t reveal fat loss. One day you could get super excited about a loss of several pounds, but that weight loss may not even be from fat; it could be from water.

On Weight Loss - Why The Number on the Scale REALLY Should NOT Matter

Body weight fluctuates throughout the day or week, and in the end unless you're doing something specific that requires you to hit an exact weight (competition, fight, match, etc.) please stop worrying about the exact number. Focus on you, focus on feeling good, feeling healthy, running, swimming farther, faster, lifting heavier weights.. endurance, speed, strength. Body composition. Not weight. Train for a look, not a number.

For the rest of my fitfam out there, I know this is common sense to all of you, but still important to keep in mind in case you ever forget, because I know sometimes I do.


On Weight Loss - Why The Number on the Scale REALLY Should NOT Matter
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14Girl Opinion
20Guy Opinion

Most Helpful Guy

  • 666threesixes666
    indeed. 5 pounds lost means what? 5 pounds of muscle lost? oh boy the fat's going to start slowly recurringly coming in. i put on 40 pounds and lost like 6 pants sizes. i need to put on more weight, at 245 im looking pretty scary, i need to get back to my 305. im training to fight hulk hogan when i sweep his daughter off her feet. =)
    Like 1 Person
    Is this still revelant?
    • jesshkah

      haha nice! would love to see that fight :P make sure you take a vid

Most Helpful Girl

  • Anonymous
    True. I wouldn't rely so much on the number on the scale to determine your ideal weight. But your waistline is a better predictor of good health than BMI is. Also, your bloodwork helps to determine how well your body is doing.
    Is this still revelant?
    • jesshkah

      Also true! For some not too easy to get their blood assessed, but great if you can get that done every once in a while.

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What Girls & Guys Said

    good thing i never invested in one
    i've always been of the opinion that shape is far more important than weight
    LikeDisagree 3 People
  • rachel1112
    This is exactly what people need to hear. We shouldn't be worry about our weight. You can loose 5 pounds of fat, gain 5 pounds of muscles and the number on the Scale would be the same. The only thing that we should expected to change is our body and the way it looks, because sometimes the numbers doesn't prove anything.
    Good job right there ;)
    Like 1 Person
    • Josht13

      you need a scale to know that you've done that though.

    • jesshkah

      Thank you so much, glad you agree! :)

    • jesshkah

      @Josht13 I'm not telling anyone to throw the scale out the window. I'm just saying it's not a perfect indication of health and fitness level, so people need to stop stressing about it when there are some fluctuations, as there always will be.

    • Show All
  • redeyemindtricks
    Sing it sistaaaa!

    I'm actually (among other things) a professional figure competitor, and even so, I *might* step on the scale once a week or so.
    ... That often only because the scale is right there, and in frequent use (we have 3 kids who are all about charting their growth... lol, I guess that's inevitable when Mom is my height).
    Otherwise, I'd probably weigh myself monthly, if even then.


    This is an excellent take, but, the one thing I think it's missing is an adequate substitute for the scale.
    I'm all about "training for a look" -- as you wrote -- but I noticed that you followed up that comment with a bunch of examples that are functional, rather than aesthetic.

    Functional standards are good, too, of course -- and for a serious performance athlete they're all that matters -- but, for those of us who are more aesthetically inclined, I'd suggest body measurements.

    At a bare minimum:
    • Measuring tape around natural waist (= narrowest part of yr torso)
    • Measuring tape around hips (= widest part of yr bootay)
    Yep, I wrote "bootay"... lol.

    Boys can use these measurements, too.
    Depending on the specificity of the training, you can add in any of a whole ton of other measurements, too -- but those two, by themselves, give a surprising amount of valuable information. (In fact, the natural waist measurement all by itself is pretty darn meaningful, since most people's waist/hip ratios tend not to change much.)


    It's also important to note that those functional metrics can fluctuate, too -- a LOT.
    If I try to hit the gym too soon after waking up, especially too soon after dumping a carb-heavy meal into my body, my lifts might be as much as 20% worse!
    In other words, my 5- and 10-rep weights might be as much as 20% off where they'd be if I worked out after being awake for longer and without flooding my body with insulin. (If I looked at # reps at same weight, that'd be even worse... I might knock out 3 reps at a weight I could toss up for 10-12 reps under better circumstances.)

    That doesn't mean that these are bad metrics to use -- obviously they're more meaningful than bodyweight -- but, if fluctuation is the issue, it's important to note that functional metrics fluctuate WAY MORE than bodyweight does. (You'll never wake up and weigh 20% less... well, except after giving birth, hahah.)


    Overall, VERY well done!

    -- Yr girl who needed 3 childbirths to break the plane of "normal weight" (and who still falls back "underweight" with a good poop ahah)
    • jesshkah

      Thank you!! As always, appreciate your input and valuable advice :) you're right, it would have been helpful to have a substitute for the scale or an alternate way to measure progress, but more specifically this take was just to try and encourage people to not judge their worth by that number on the scale.

    • <3 xx

      I think the internet may be exaggerating this tendency a bit, too, because ht/wt are the two metrics that absolutely EVERYONE thinks they understand. So, basically, there are now more opportunities -- for better or for worse -- to *report* bodyweight (and basically spam it all over various parts of the internet) than ever before.

      This difference is especially obvious to me, because I was very conspicuously skinny as a teenager, and yet almost no one *ever* actually asked me about my bodyweight. I feel like more people would try to stick a number on it today, thanks to the influence of the internet.

      I mean, it's the same thing with boys and dick size. I grew up with 4 pretty raunchy and bawdy brothers, and I've been with my share of guys myself, and literally NONE of these people has EVER mentioned dicks in terms of inches. But now apparently that's a thing that gets brought up (whether jokingly or otherwise)... again, blame the internet.

  • vonasaurus
    i agree with this~ i'm not skinny by any stretch (i'm almost 5'8 and, around 200 lbs), but i look at weight loss in terms of health.

    i used to be super-active~ i danced competitively, did gymnastics, taught aerobics, and rode my bike to and from work every day for years... but age and various injuries have taken their toll on my body over the years (it happens when you're old like me lol) and i have more limitations than i did when i was in my prime.

    furthermore, i was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in February; there's no cure, though it can be managed with medication. i have to watch what i eat more than the average person and go for regular bloodwork, but i still do what i can~ i eat tons of fruits and veggies; i take walks every day; i've scaled back on sugar and other unhealthy stuff, to the tune of 25 pounds lost since my birthday. i recently bought size 12 jeans instead of 14, and i plan to start using the campus gym once school starts in September. i don't obsess over my weight, but i do want to live a long and healthy life.

    there is a scale in my house (not mine, it's been there longer than i have lol). but i might use it once a day, just to be sure that the medication is working. at my most recent checkup, my doc told me that everything looks to be normal, so long may it last!

    great take, and very well said!
  • Paris13
    Thank you for the Input and the Info, @@jesshkah, Beautifully Done, hun.
    Good luck and Great Going. xx
    Like 1 Person
    • jesshkah

      thanks so much @Paris13 :) appreciate the read and the kind words!

    • Paris13

      @jesshkah Oh, so welcome, hun, I just saw it this morning and wanted to Thank You.
      Thank you too for the Kind Like. xxoo

  • NatashaBeauty
    I don't understand y women are so weird about their weight. Just be like me I'm perfect just the way I am. I'm not overweight or underweight. I'm 100% happy with my perfect body
    Like 1 Person
    • jesshkah

      Pressure from society, it happens to a lot of women and men as well unfortunately. It's great that you feel that way! I honestly wish more people did :(

  • Azgeda
    Get a bodyfat caliper. A must have for anyone serious about fitness.
    LikeDisagree 2 People
  • mikemx55
    Good take,

    I just wanted to say that BMI works good for most of the people, because it is aimed at average people. And let's face it, the average Joe doesn't hit the gym 5 days a week, and practices multiple sports. It works as an indicator for the general population.

    Keep it up!
    • jesshkah

      thanks! that's a totally fair point, i just have an issue with how the ranges just bucket people into body types, with what I consider very limited information.

  • Spiorad_Aisce
    Great take - Yeah, using number on scale as the primary guide is not good - It is how you look and feel that is important - If you are engaging in a weight loss exercise, it is nice to use the lbs dropping as an incentive but once you get to shape and a fitness level you like, use your self image as a guide for maintenance.
    • jesshkah

      Definitely agreed. It can be a good incentive but shouldn't end up being a fixed goal that leads to obsession.

    • Quite true

  • lisa16
    I love this!!! I remember last year training for a marathon and i ended up gaining 2 lbs during the 3 months leading up to the run. It drove me nuts for a while until other people noticed and kept asking if i lost weight and that i looked great. I step on the scale about once a month just to see but i will never go back to weighing myself daily agian. Great job on the article :)
    • jesshkah

      Thanks so much! Glad to hear that you've had personal experience showing this. Also congrats on running the marathon! I know you said it was last year, but an accomplishment nonetheless :)

    • lisa16

      You're welcome! and thank you!!! I'll be doing it again this November!

  • KittieCat
    This has so much truth in it I think the internet might explode.
    Nice take!
    Like 1 Person
  • Cosytoasty
    Good take <3

    Clothing fit is a much better indicator compared to scale weight. Actually if you wear fitted clothes well (which follow an ideal body shape for you respective gender) you're pretty much there. Like two guys wearing a medium shirt, one who fills out a classic cut shirt all the way down his torso is probably quite fat, another guy who wears a tailored cut shirt will have a nice taper to his body - is probably in superb shape.

    • jesshkah

      thanks boobear <3

      ya true that. clothing honestly makes a huge difference in how you look as well.

  • coolbreeze
    Great take. You raised very great points. The number is not important. But the results of how you take care of your body matters a whole lot more. True we all come in different shapes and sizes so that plays a huge role to.
    • jesshkah

      Thank you! And thank you so much for reading :)

    • coolbreeze

      Your very welcome. You write good mytakes.😀Keep up the good and great work.😀

  • 19MK34
    Most of this take is good because you are right that weight and BMI are not very useful in measuring health and fitness. Then you ruined it by saying "Train for a look, not a number", since the way you look has even less to do with health and fitness than your weight does and if you train to look a certain way you are almost certain to be disappointed.
    • jesshkah

      That's fair, I see what you're saying. I meant it more from the perspective of someone who has an idea of what would make sense for their body. I know what kind of look I could carry on my body and I'm going for that rather than the number.

    • 19MK34

      Most people who are new to working out have zero idea what sort of look is realistically achievable. In fact the 'fitness' industry is built on people thinking they can get completely unrealistic results. That's why they use steroid users who claim to be natural to advertise products like supplements and workout programs.

      It makes zero sense to judge your progress on the way you look, at least weight is actually measurable, rather than being based on how you feel or your interpretation of your own appearance.

    • jesshkah

      Agree with your first paragraph, disagree with the second.. I train not by the number on the scale, but for example a "look" like the muscle definition in my legs and arms. Not so much an arbitrary glance in the mirror like "I look good today!"

    • Show All
  • JohnDoe3000
    Lol, BMI is not a terrible indicator at all. It works fine for the vast majority of people, and the few exceptions who have lots of muscles know this about themselves.

    In my experience the fringe inaccuracies of BMI are just an excuse overweight people hide behind.
    • Josht13

      pretty much I mean the only people where it doesn't matter are already jacked and know they are healthy and don't need to complain about their BMI. I mean a massive ripped dude won't get into a hissy fit about being overweight according to BMI. It's a good excuse for the chubby which I bet OP is tbh.

    • jesshkah

      Agree to disagree. The "healthy" range of BMI ranges over 6 points which is quite significant.

    • jesshkah

      @Josht13 I'm honestly insulted that you'd go to the lengths of assuming I'm chubby because of how I've written a MyTake lol.

    • Show All
  • Xfitchick
    Completely agree. I am 1.65m and 61 kg and don't look fat either :-) As long as my muscle/fat ratio is OK and I still have female curves, I am very satisfied.
    • jesshkah

      Sameeee. Looks like we have about the same built lol

  • wolfie12
    Weight is inacurate, but is still good way to measure in long term (like comparing month to month). In short term it's terrible. After my lifting days my weight can be offset by whole kilo to 2 compared to the time when I weigh myself after cardio days.
    • jesshkah

      exactly. yea not saying that it shouldn't be counted at all, but it shouldn't be obsessed about, with those people who weigh themselves practically every day looking for some change.

  • YourFutureEx
    No matter how many times you tell, ignorant people will still use weight scale.
    • jesshkah

      Yea unfortunately you're right. It's hard to get that out of people's minds :/

    • I stopped telling people this thing. My friend advised me to not to. He says I'm just wasting my own time. And I agree with him.

      Let's see if this take really helps someone.

  • PT1911
    I'm just too fat.

    Gonna start swimming again. I've been doing martial arts for a long time, and while it's a good workout, swimming always seemed to shocky body more
    • jesshkah

      Yea swimming is definitely a great exercise, amazing cardio, not tough on your joints, and some level of resistance. Have fun!

  • Puppylove94
    It matters to an extent lol you can't just ignore it. I did that and gained weight, even though it is mostly muscle, it's not where I want to be. I wish I would have continued weighing myself
    • jesshkah

      I get that it's the easiest way to measure progress, and I'm not saying completely ignore it, but it shouldn't have as much of an impact as a lot of people give it, is more what I'm trying to get at. What exactly do you mean you're not where you want to be? What are you aiming for? Just trying to understand!

    • It's cool haha right now I'm at 150. It's consider a healthy BMI but I still want to be around 130. I feel more confident around that weight.

    • jesshkah

      Okay right, so that's what I'm trying to say though, what about that specific number makes it such an ideal for you? Because if you LOOK better, then that number doesn't matter as much does it?

    • Show All
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