Declutter Your Training: Ditch Your Scale

Get rid of the scaleHave you heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing expert who recommends decluttering your home by asking yourself, object by object, what brings you joy? If it sparks joy, keep it. Throw out the rest.

Here at Salty Running, some of us have been applying similar philosophies to our training. Mango threw out her marathon time goal, choosing to focus on process goals in training instead. Salty and Ginger have ditched their GPS watches, running by feel instead.

I’ve been going through my mental clutter and I’m throwing out a bunch of pointless thoughts about my weight. Should I weigh less? Should I train harder? Should I buy a scale, record my weight daily and re-read Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight? Rigorously measure my nutrient intake while logging every bite in my food journal?

The funny thing is, I don’t even own a scale. 99.9% of the time I couldn’t tell you how much I weigh. It’s not because I mind knowing my weight, though I do have some residual anxiety about it. Weighing myself just isn’t a priority for me when there are so many other, more important ways to assess my health and fitness. (Admittedly, I am privileged in this regard, because I don’t have any health issues that would make my weight an issue. I can afford to ignore it.) Is my running going well? Am I eating a good diet with high-quality foods? Do my clothes fit? OK, then! Keep up the good work!

The other .1% is the rare time I get on a scale at the gym, or, most recently, at my parents’ house between Christmas and New Year’s. Logically, I weighed more at holiday time, after three months off from serious training, than I did in the midst of marathon training in the summer. That’s normal, and I knew it was going to be the case. Even elite runners gain weight in the off-season. It’s good for you, like extra insurance against illness and injury.

I know all that. I know I look and feel just fine – great, even! – but for some reason that holiday weigh-in deposited a bunch of clutter in my brain, starting with the urge to search for scales on Amazon. More useless chatter I must have read somewhere and stored for future useless reference that I should be paying attention to this stuff.

Yeah, no. What I need to think is this: I don’t have time for this shit. Every minute I spend worrying about my weight, which, of course, is code for a host of other issues around my acceptability as a woman in society, is a minute I’m not spending doing or creating or brainstorming ways to help people. It’s a minute I’m choosing to spend on something other than gratitude for my healthy body. If I take Marie Kondo’s advice and pick up these thoughts, hold them close to my heart, and ask myself does this spark joy? the answer is a resounding F no! Out with them!

Everyone’s different, of course, with different goals and motivations. Mine are such that worrying about my weight is a distraction from being my authentic self. And, really:

Where do you stand with weight? Does knowing it bring you joy?

I'm a 43-year-old living in Berlin, Germany and currently training for the 2020 Berlin Marathon.

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  1. I could not agree more with you. My doctors know not to tell me unless it’s a health issue. I eat healthy foods and I exercise far more than I need to simply to maintain my health. I don’t care about what my actual weight is as long as my clothes fit and I feel good. I often know I’ve gained a few pounds just by looking at myself, but again, as long as the practical things are in order it doesn’t even matter to me any more. I’m not a fitness model so it’s not my job to have cut abs and everyone loves me and the world continues to spin, so … so what? It’ll be gone in a few months probably, especially if I’m going to be training to race (so that takes care of the race weight) but even if not …

  2. 100% agree that the ability to kind of set this number aside, not worry about it- has helped me through training the last few years. Though, the number on the scale was never overly important to me-I think that is because I spent years telling myself it didn’t matter as long as I felt good. Easier said than done obviously, but I think it really helped. Like you, I really only checked in on my weight occasionally at the gym or at the doctors office. Maybe a little more if I was having an off week and wanted to see if something else was the culprit like water weight, or maybe I hadn’t been doing as well with my diet as I thought. Now that pregnancy is obviously affecting my weight (for a good reason!)- it’s only been easier to not care as much because it doesn’t matter- or bring me joy as I would look at it through the Kon Mari Method

    (Side note: I just did the Kon Mari method on my clothes…OMG!! Transformation and got rid of so much! Felt SOOOO good!)

      1. Haha I worried that too! But was surprised how well it worked…and the sight of all of my clothes in one place at the same time was person does not need that much!

        1. It’s so true! I wasn’t familiar with Kon Mari until that comment, but I’ve been getting rid of two things for each new thing for a long time and it’s cut me way back. My new thing? If a sock has a hole in it it’s GONE. NOW. No waiting, no hemming and hawing, GONE. It’s exciting, because I feel like I’m almost at the point where I could justify getting a new pair of socks and I LOVE a new pair of socks!

  3. The only time I ever get on the scale is at the doctor’s office. I don’t need another number to obsess over. I know I eat healthy most of the time and I exercise and drink plenty of water and all that stuff. All I care about is how my clothes fit. I can’t decide if I want to read Kondo’s book, I keep going back and forth. I do plan on watching the Minimalism documentary soon.

    1. As a numbers person, I agree- weight is one of those ones I don’t want to add to my obsession!

      I liked the book for what it’s worth. It’s an easy read- and definitely found myself nodding along in agreement and found she definitely made some points that make sense. Even if you don’t go full blown Kon Mari Method to your house (I’ve only done my clothes so far- but that was HUGE!), I think it definitely made me rethink how I do some cleaning/organizing and also helped some of my buying habits (do I really need this, or what can I get rid of if it’s more important for me to have this item instead). But like Caraway said- the method can be used in so many things like training too!

  4. I love the idea behind the Kon Marie method! Though I may have gotten in trouble for Kon Marie-ing our bills and other paperwork, lol. But I love how you connected it to the scale. I definitely feel “lighter” when I’m not thinking about the number on the scale, which is why I only weigh myself at the doctor or randomly at the gym every so often. Thanks for reminding me that it’s all tied to sexist bullsh-t (for me at least)!!

    1. Haha! Seriously what are you supposed to do with, like, old tax documents? And other things that spark no joy but must be kept around?

      There is definitely a lot of sexist bullshit tied up in the issue of weight.