Talk Yourself Onto the Scale

Putting this strategy into practice may feel ridiculous. But here’s the thing: It works.  

It’s amazing how many reasons there are not to step on your scale. Bloated? Already dressed? Afraid to find out you gained? Maybe you should postpone your weigh-in until tomorrow.

You probably feel bad when you catch yourself making excuses like these, but you shouldn’t. Because at the center of every excuse is a nugget of truth. If you’re bloated or wearing heavy clothes, your weight will indeed be inaccurate. And watching that number go up really can trigger negative emotions. These are real, in-the-moment obstacles.

Recognizing our excuses as genuine obstacles can actually help us achieve our goals. An excuse is a vague, fleeting thought that distracts you long enough to avoid taking action. An obstacle, on the other hand, is something solid that you can find your way around.

How do you talk yourself out of excuse mode? Put these two strategies to work:

1) Avoid the word “I.” Studies have found that when you talk to yourself in the third person (“Jane, you can do this!” instead of “I can do this!”), it creates helpful distance between you and your situation — distance that helps you see a situation more rationally and zoom in on what you can control.

2) Talk to yourself out loud. Ok, this is the really silly part. Research suggests that there’s something about talking through your excuses/obstacles out loud that motivates you take action. Psychologists believe it may block out distractions and keep you on task.

Check out some examples of these strategies in action:

The excuse: “I don’t have to weigh in every day. I know when I’m losing/gaining weight.”

What to say out loud: “Jane, it’s true that you don’t have to weigh in every day to recognize that you’re body is changing. But you committed to doing it, and it’s proven to boost weight loss, so weigh in anyway.”


The excuse: “I don’t want my coach to see my weight.”

What to say out loud: “Jane, you may not want your coach to see your weight, but it’s their job to see it. They are here to help, not judge.”


The excuse: “I’m bloated/already dressed, so this weight reading will be off.”

What to say out loud: “Yep, Jane, you’re right — this reading will be a bit high, and that’s fine. Weigh in to maintain the habit.”


The excuse: “Weighing in now will be depressing. I’ll weigh in after I make some healthy changes to my diet.”

What to say out loud: “Jane, weight gain is depressing, but the best way to track your progress is by weighing in every day.”


The excuse: “It’s too late in the day. I’ll wait until tomorrow morning.”

What to say out loud: “Jane, the morning is the best time to weigh in, and it’s too late for that. But you’re working on building a habit, so weighing in any time of day is better than skipping it altogether.”


Before you head off to step on your scale, remember why it’s worth going through this trouble in the first place: Weighing in every day is proven to lead to greater weight loss than weighing in occasionally or even on most days.