Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Why We Shouldn’t Focus So Much On Weight

Blogger Jenn Wilson explains why runners should stop focusing so much on the number they see when they step on a scale.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Scaling Back

The scale tends to be our worst enemy, especially this time of year. You work hard all week, step on and hope for the best…only to have your emotions dictated by the number it displays. As runners, we often hear that, the lower your weight, the more efficient you will be while racing. Women in particular often feel an overwhelming obligation to weigh a certain amount in order to be accepted in society. The piece that is missing from all of this is that we can do anything at any weight.

I fall into this trap constantly. How much the scale says I weigh will either be a victory or a personal attack, which leads to the amount of effort and work I put into my workout for that day. If the scale says I lost a pound, I cheer and then continue with my scheduled workouts as planned, knowing that they are working just fine. But if the scale reflects a gain, I instantly start to criticize my efforts for the week and head into my workout determined to push myself to my limits, regardless of whether I’d planned to take it easy or reach a high effort level during that day’s planned workout.

This cycle is vicious. I often have to stop myself in the middle of this thought process and remind myself that my weight has nothing to do with how I preform. I have learned a lot about physical strength over the last year, realizing that the amount of muscle I have on my body will help determine how fast and efficient I am able to run. My weight has nothing to do with it.

Individuals can run regardless of whether they weight 200 pounds or 150. One runner at each weight might even be able to run at the same pace. The amount of weight they carry does not correlate directly to their speed or ability, and for that I am grateful. If my weight correlated with my ability and speed, I would be a slow runner. My ability is far beyond my weight and so is my strength and speed. If anything, I need to start focusing on the physics of my body, knowing that a lower mass helps with ease in running, not speed.

Are you someone who lets the number on the scale dictate your life? Know that you are not alone. We all have times when we would like to drop a few pounds. Sometimes this will happen easily, while other times we fight and see nothing happen. You have to remember that you are more than a number. The only thing the scale does is show your gravitational pull to the earth. That. Is. It. Nothing more, nothing less. It does not tell you that you are beautiful, strong and capable, and it does not dictate what you set your mind to.

In all honesty, this is something that is hard to work on. It has been engraved in our minds that our weight represents everything about us. But the reality is, your ability to keep going and to push through the challenges in life is what represents you. Keep pushing forward, knowing that you are working toward being your best self–not the person the world wants you to be.


How I Learned To Love My Scale

This Is Why You Need To Throw Away Your Scale

One Fitness Competitor Has People Talking About The Scale