Do You Think Gyms Should Start Banning Scales?

People who have experienced eating disorders believe that “scales are triggering”.

gyms banning scalesphoto credit: shutterstock

Forget what you weigh, especially if you are a Carleton University student. The Ottawa school recently opted to remove scales from their athletic facility. And here’s the reason why:

“Our health and fitness is multi-faceted,” Bruce Marshall, the manager of wellness programs, told the Ottawa Citizen. “The best indicator [of a your health] is how well you feel in your body.

Students who have experience with eating disorders applauded the school’s decision because scales are “triggering,” reports Carleton’s campus newspaper, The Charlatan.

But should the school go as far as insisting that scales don’t belong in the gym? After all, if this a student wants to weigh themselves as part of their fitness routine, should the school intervene?

Where the scales used to sit, there’s a sign that justifies the school’s reasoning, claiming they’re removing scales “in keeping with current fitness and social trends.”

The value of non-scale victories

Non-scale victories (NSVs, like better sleep, higher levels of energy, improved attention span and being more fit) have been highly popularized recently, mainly by The Whole 30 “dietary reset.” This diet eliminates alcohol, sugar, dairy, grains and legumes, yet it discourages participants from weighing themselves throughout the 30-day program. And it mainly encourages individuals to look for NSVs.

And we agree that these NSVs are worth noting and cheering about. But if a scale doesn’t belong in the gym and being weighed continues to be part of a regular physical at your doctor’s office – is Carleton University making a mistake? Knowing your weight is a big indicator for health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, thyroid issues, eating disorders and others. Some sports like wrestling require athletes to maintain a certain weight range, which makes Carleton University’s scale removal unfair for these students.

It’s also important to point out that there’s a reason why the Freshman 15 is as notorious as it is. Anyone who’s been to college knows that the stress, busy schedules and many lifestyle changes during post-secondary makes it so easy to put on extra weight.

And without a student’s ability to weigh themselves, which is a requirement for other general measures of health like BMI, Carleton University’s decision to remove the scales may be doing more harm than good.