The Scale- Enemy or Ally?

It isn’t at all unusual for clients that have been training with a trainer for a few weeks to come in and say, “I’ve been working out and haven’t lost a pound!”

Ideally, I’d like to respond with, “So does that mean you’re going to stop exercising and going back to your old, unhealthy lifestyle?” Instead I say, “Yes, but you’re trying to undo years of less than healthy habits and expecting all those years of bad habits to turn around in just a few weeks, it just doesn’t work that way.”

It is one of the reasons I’m so opposed to a scale, because in reality, it is only part of the healthy equation.  Look, you know if you’ve been eating well based on how you feel, how your clothes fit, etc. But time and time again, the scale ends up dictating stop/start. By that I mean the scale will foil weight loss attempts because the weight isn’t coming off fast enough OR it’s the reason to start yet another diet.

The truth is that the scale is not a good gauge other than for doctors and writing a prescription. The scale has taken someone from feeling great to turning their world upside down. Why? Because even when someone has had a really strong exercise and nutrition week, in the end it’s all about the feedback from the scale.

Do you know the number one reason people stop exercising and eating well? Because weight doesn’t fall off fast enough and it seems the work is too much for such little reward. The problem is the reward most are seeking isn’t realistic.

Let’s think about this for a minute, the REAL reason everyone should exercise and eat well is to be healthy. We don’t eat well and move more simply to lose weight and then stop, on the contrary. We ALL must eat better and move more to be healthy, to improve our quality of life, to be good to ourselves and treat our bodies with care. Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is simply a byproduct of taking care of yourself with sound nutrition and regular exercise.

Exercise and nutrition should never be viewed as a temporary effort, though every day many people start exercising and changing eating habits simply to lose weight, versus getting healthy.

If you can just focus on health, focus on the things that are really important such as healthy heart, healthy body and healthy mind, you will perhaps abandon temporary efforts and realize the value in lifelong healthy habits.

Forgo the restrictive diet, forgo the all or nothing, and simply focus on becoming healthy and strong. There is nothing more gratifying than enjoying a greater quality of life because you live a lifestyle that encourages that.



Nicki Anderson has owned and operated the award winning Reality Fitness, Inc. Personal Training studio since 1991. As a successful business owner and sought after speaker, Nicki’s enthusiasm and business prowess on subjects including customer service, marketing and deconditioned populations, makes Nicki a sought after international speaker. Nicki is the 2008/2009 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Finalist in 2006 and 2007 and 2006 IHRSA Top 25 Fresh Faces. She is the author of numerous books, her most recent, Nicki Anderson's Single Step Weight Loss and 101 Ways to Motivate Your Clients and Increase Retention (Healthy Learning, 2009). Nicki is the health and fitness columnist for Chicago Suburban Newspapers, IDEA Editoral Board and contributor to numerous magazines and websites including,, and, Real Simple, Prevention, Women’s Health and Womens’ Running, Men’s Health and Fitness. Nicki was recently named one of CHicagolands Top Personal Trainers. For more information about Nicki visit and

One thought on “The Scale- Enemy or Ally?

  • March 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

    It’s so easy to turn your power over to that damned scale…and then start questioning everything you’re doing and wondering whether or not it’s “worth the effort.” That’s a terrible mindset to fall into!
    Besides, I’ve found that the more you focus on what you can DO and how you can continue to challenge yourself, the more likely you are to get the results you’re after.
    Focusing on weight loss specifically is futile because you have no direct control over that (if you did, you could just wake up 20 lbs. lighter tomorrow!)
    You need to focus on the BEHAVIORS that will help you achieve your goals, and then weight loss will happen as a “side effect” of that. :)


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