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

Brands

Health

Should You Ever Use A Scale?

Should you keep your scale or get rid of it?

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

shutterstock_260856011

Short answer: Only if you want to. Sometimes it’s helpful to use an objective measurement if your goal is to get fitter. Instead of the scale, try tools that will calculate your body-fat percentage (a much better predictor of your health). This can be measured by a fitness professional using calipers or with a bioimpedance machine.

You can also try underwater weighing, but this is sometimes not realistic to get regular measurements done. At home, you can use a pair of pants as a measurement. Grab a pair that doesn’t fit, and as you are making progress, try them on every 2 to 3 weeks to track your progress.

For some people, throwing any sort of number away is healthier mentally and emotionally. Concentrate on feeling healthy. Do you feel rested at night and alert during the day? Are you setting goals and meeting them? Are you making good choices? Are you happy? Asking yourself these questions is more powerful than any string of digits.

PERCENTAGE MATTERS
A healthy body will decrease your risk of disease and lengthen your life. Here’s a guideline of what a target body-fat percentage should be:
Elite Athletes: 14–20%
Fit and Healthy: 21–24%
Average: 25–31%

If shifting your attention away from the scale and toward overall body health is difficult or impossible to do alone, consult a counselor or nutritionist for more specific tips that will work for you.