Product Review: The Zero Scale

June 4th, 2011  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  11 Comments

A scale that doesn’t show your weight.

Is this some kind of Zen joke?

How much do you weigh?

I don’t know.

Think about that Q&A for a second.

Imagine how freeing — how liberating — it would be to never know your weight.

To navigate the world in your skin, judging what to do with your body based on how you feel. How you look when you view yourself through unflinchingly honest yet lovingly compassionate eyes. How well you move. How well your body works. Your energy and physical exuberance. Whether your clothing makes you feel foxy or strangled.


A female acquaintance recently said to me, with a worried face, I never weigh myself. My doctor weighs me once a year. Everyone around me knows their weight — and they’re all trying to lose it. I just like how I feel. Am I doing something wrong?

I wanted to hug her right there.

No. You are absolutely right. Keep being awesome. Everyone else is screwed up.

She smiled, relieved. And went on her merry, weightless way.

Worrying about weight adds weight to you, in the sense that it adds one more burden of responsibility that you cannot really control.

Stress comes from low control and high demands. Weight is like a cat — it comes and goes when it pleases, in a way that is only loosely connected to your inputs and outputs. The high demand of maintaining a particular weight combined with the low control you have over your body’s homeostasis is the perfect setup for a freakout.

But let’s say weight is one part of the larger picture.

It isn’t completely irrelevant, of course. A 300 lb person looks different than a 100 lb person. Losing 50 lb is losing 50 lb. You will get smaller, regardless.

Weight is one indicator of changes in body composition. It isn’t a great one compared to things like skinfold calipers, but it’s not a bad proxy for significant long-term body composition changes.

I believe in daily weight observation as a useful gauge of progress. Wait — bear with me here.

If you can do it sanely and not use it for evil, it’s helpful to weigh yourself daily. You can see daily changes in hydration, menstrual cycle, sodium levels, etc. You can track weight changes and correlate them with behaviours.¬†Informed daily weigh-ins, where you remember the big picture and look for naturally occurring patterns, can help you learn about your own body and what is “normal” for you.

However, daily weigh-ins, where you focus on small details like the actual number, freak out over small deviations, and get hung up on what you should weigh, are not good.

Enter the Zero Scale.

Yep, it’s a scale that doesn’t show your weight. It only shows changes in your weight. So, you will know if you’re gaining, losing, or staying the same, but not the exact number.

You can also track changes over time, so you can see how your weight’s changed from day one.

The scale is calibrated for four different users.

To test this, I set myself up as User 1, then had my husband step on the scale. Presto — 75 lb gained! Woah, shouldn’ta had that extra donut!! Hoohah!


The scale is exquisitely sensitive, and it measures in tenths of a pound. For measurement nerds like myself, this is nirvana.

I had a coffee and got on. 1 lb. Grabbed my SLR camera to snap a photo. Gained 2.2 lbs. Neato!! (That’s one gravid lens.)

I spent the rest of the day eating and going to the bathroom, seeing if I could confuse the scale.

Zero remained calm and collected, cooly reporting change like a BBC newscaster whose prim facade never cracks even when s/he’s reporting that an asteroid has hit the Earth and we’re all going to die in a ball of flames.

It’s easy to use the Zero Scale. If someone else screws it up — say, if your partner or child or heck, your dog gets on the scale without setting it to their own user profile — you can easily re-calibrate it back to yourself.

The great thing about the Zero Scale is that it keeps you informed but subtly shifts your focus. You end up less preoccupied with any given number, and more oriented towards where you’re going. You can keep adding up little mini-victories and high-fiving yourself for heading in the right direction over the long haul.

Because, after all, isn’t that the point?

Whether it’s losing, gaining, or just keepin’ ‘er steady as she goes, you are more than any one number.

Life is change, and so is physiology. Focus on what really matters!

For more about the Zero Scale see


  1. T. AKA Ricky Raw says:

    June 4th, 2011at 7:05 am(#)

    That’s a brilliant idea. My scale recently broke and I’ve been in no rush to fix it. Now I just keep exercising and eating right but using the mirror as a guide. Way less stressful. If I do get a scale again however, I’ll definitely try this zero scale.

  2. Gnat! says:

    June 4th, 2011at 9:40 am(#)

    Hah, cool! I tried mentally tricking myself in the past by setting my digital scale to Kilograms. Problem was that I didn’t track, so it just became a jumble of numbers to me with no sense of progress.

  3. ThursdayNext says:

    June 4th, 2011at 3:51 pm(#)

    This put a HUGE smile on my face.

  4. SquatLikeALady says:

    June 5th, 2011at 8:31 am(#)

    I LOVE this idea! This is great. Maybe not for everyone — you know, the people who don’t get all hung up and silly about numbers — but for me? Ideal. Perfect.

  5. Peter says:

    June 6th, 2011at 2:56 am(#)

    Interesting idea. Anyway, like Ricky Raw above, and like the female acquaintance you’re talking about, I never use a scale, and it’s been a while! I must still have one somewhere in the basement but I’d have trouble finding it, and the battery must have been dead for years.

    Maybe tracking your weight is much more a “woman thing”, or a “once-overweight thing” (scared of gaining back what they lost). As a guy, I used the scale a lotin my twenties, not because I wanted to lose weight, but because I wanted to get bigger! Went up to 92 kg, peaked at 95, then realised there was a lot of fat around all those muscles and with my relatively light frame I was starting to get joints problems, and leaned down back to something like 76. Then I forgot the scale entirely and instead of tracking my own weight I focused on tracking my progress in any physical activities (strength, flexibility, number of reps for BW exercises, etc.). Much more interesting!
    And I find it quite easy to assess if I have gained a bit of fat: a look in the mirror (abs and vascularity) is enough, and even without a mirror, a quick palpation of my love handles is a good indicator. :-) Probably much better than my weight.

  6. Janna says:

    June 6th, 2011at 6:51 am(#)

    I don’t really understand the big bad deal about using a scale. My formula for weight gain is simple: stop weighing myself. It’s much easier for me to maintain when I weigh myself to hold myself accountable. As a formerly obese person, it’s much easier to lie to myself until my pants are too tight than it is to simply weigh myself a few times a week. I’m really good at “forgetting” what I eat but the scale doesn’t lie. It’s not a happy place but if it means the difference between maintaining a gaining, I’ll take the reality of the scale. People have tried to make me feel foolish for using my scale but I’m resigned to it. It’s the only thing I know that works.

  7. Dana says:

    June 7th, 2011at 8:32 am(#)

    What a great idea! I’ve been tracking weight to make sure I make my weight class at a meet next week, but I’d like to stop worrying about those daily fluctuations.

  8. Linds says:

    June 8th, 2011at 10:43 am(#)

    I LOVE this idea!

    I actually went 4 years or more without stepping on a scale. Whenever I would go to the doctor for a check up I would close my eyes when they would weigh me. I had no desire to focus on a number to associate with myself.

    When i started to train for muscle building I did use a scale on a regular basis but made sure that I always used the same scale so that I know the numbers i was getting were accurate. And I ONLY did this to see how much weight I was able to put on. This scale would ahve been a godsent at that point in time.

    At the moment I am back on the no-scale bandwagon. I own one and the only time I step on it is when i need to weight my camping pack (we fly a small plane so we need to know how much stuff weighs for weights and balances).

    It is very liberating to not weigh ones self. I just focus on how my clothing feels on me, how i feel i look and how i feel in general.

  9. daisy buchanan says:

    June 10th, 2011at 1:02 pm(#)

    This is SUCH A BRILLIANT IDEA. Thank you so much for sharing this great find, it’s going on my wish list :)

  10. Kerry says:

    August 5th, 2011at 10:10 am(#)

    Ok, I just bought one a week ago. No scale, no tracking of my order and their customer service number is a recording – out of order.
    What gives? Apparently my $70+.

  11. Disappointed says:

    August 5th, 2011at 3:15 pm(#)

    Accidentally ordered 6 but only wanted 1. I notified them immediately and they said not to worry, they would send 1 scale and refund the balance. It’s been 3 months and haven’t received the refund check or a response. Forget about scales, if your jeans fit, that’s good enough.

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