Most of us have tried to lose weight and I’m sure many of us have failed to reach our ultimate weight loss goals. Unfortunately, losing weight is rarely simple or straightforward, regardless of what “gurus” try to tell us. But there is one issue we can all agree on – the scale.

Take a moment to imagine this scenario. You ate all the right things. You drank the perfect amount of water. You worked out and you’re so excited for your weekly weigh-in because you are confident that you will have lost weight. You step on the scale, look down and see that you weigh exactly the same as you did the week before (or worse – you’ve gained a couple of pounds!)  Suddenly, all that effort feels like a waste of time and, before you know it, you’re on the couch with a bag of chips.

What if you did something completely radical?  What if you threw away your scale?  It just might help, and here are three reasons why:

It Doesn’t Measure Happiness

Think of a time when you were proud of how healthy you were living, how well your clothes fit, and how happy you were to step on the scale. When those good feelings disappear because you didn’t lose as much as you’d hoped, it’s time to ditch the scale.

Be Motivated by More Than Numbers

Consider what you really want to accomplish. It is to reach that arbitrary weight or is it to feel good about yourself?  Do you want to be able to walk (or run!) a 5k or 10k race?  Are you looking forward to making it up the stairs without getting out of breath? Do you want to fit into that smaller pair of jeans?  Think about all of the little things you will gain by being healthier and your focus will be on your actual progress instead of your weight.

It May Not Be Accurate

The scale can lie. Weight can fluctuate several pounds in a matter of hours. Summer heat can cause a bit of dehydration and water retention. There are so many factors at play that it is impossible to recreate those exact conditions for every weigh-in.  For that reason, it may be better to consider other ways to track your progress. Use a tape measure, calculate your body fat percentage, have your cholesterol levels checked and pay attention to your mood and level of activity.

We live in a society that has become obsessed with weight but we shouldn’t allow that to define our self-worth.  A healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle will lead to longer lasting happiness.