Athletics removes weight scale from Carleton gym

Carleton Athletics has decided to remove the scale from the gym.

A sign where the scale used to be stated it was removed to encourage people to focus on other ways of measuring their health beyond just their weight.

The sign stated the decision to remove the scale is “in keeping with current fitness and social trends.”

Bruce Marshall, manager of health and wellness at Athletics, said focusing only on weight can have a negative impact.

We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive effect on your health and well-being,” Marshall said in an email. “The body is an amazing machine and even when we are dieting and training it will often find a homeostasis at a certain weight.”

Marshall added it can take a long time to see a change in weight.

It takes weeks, even months to make a permanent change in your weight. So why obsess about it?” he said. “Why not look at other indicators?”

According to Marshall, other indicators to look at include girth measurements, which can change “dramatically,” without much of a weight change. This involves measuring the circumference of areas such as the torso, legs, and arms to record progress.

He added people can also set goals in terms of cardiovascular fitness and overall strength, instead of only focusing on the number on the scale.

But not all students were on board with the idea. A post on one of the Carleton social groups on Facebook saw a lot of students questioning why the scale was removed.

Samar El Faki, a first-year student in the enriched support program, said in a Facebook message that she was appalled at some of the comments.

El Faki said she believes removing the scale is a valid request to accommodate people with eating disorders.

“Scales are very triggering,” she said. “I think people are being insensitive because they simply don’t understand. They think eating disorders are a choice when they are actually a serious illness.”

But, Marko Miljusevic, a second-year computer science student, said in a Facebook message that he disagrees.

“We shouldn’t remove something because some people abuse it,” he said. “If they can’t handle the number that shows up on the scale then don’t step on it.”
Miljusevic added that weight is an important part of health, as being under or overweight is a big concern.
“People that dislike how they look will dislike how they look regardless of a number being attached to it,” Miljusevic said.

Marshall said if people still want to check their weight, it’s best to be consistent with it.

“If you must weigh yourself, pick a consistent day and time, but we suggest to avoid doing it daily as natural fluctuations will occur,” Marshall said. “Try not to measure your success by just that one number. Our health and fitness is multi-faceted and one measurement does not tell the whole story. The best indicator is how well you feel in your body.”

The Charlatan asked students to respond to the removal of the scale. Here’s what they had to say.

– Photo by Angela Tilley