How To Weigh Yourself Without a Scale

If for whatever reasons, you are wondering how to weigh yourself without a scale, there are actually a few scientific yet archaic methods that you could try. However, you should be informed that they are not exactly simple and without slight complications. Not only that they involve the use of various objects or even simple mechanisms but also some basic mathematics.


how to weigh yourself without a scale

Actually, it is bemusing that someone in this day and age would bother to go to great lengths just to determine his or her own weight. After all, almost everything today can be learned and accomplished digitally and in an instant.

Besides, a portable weighing scale is not that expensive now. And even if you can’t afford it or don’t know anyone that will lend you one, there are some places like drugstores or community clinics that would graciously allow you to step on their weighing scales.

Anyway, maybe you find experimenting enjoyable and doesn’t mind grabbing or moving a few things to test and experience centuries-old methods and principles in accomplishing something. Or perhaps, you find thrill in doing things in ways already considered unconventional nowadays.

how to weigh yourself without a scale

For whatever reasons you may have, even if it is just plain curiosity, this article will definitely pique your interest. You will take pleasure in knowing that there are olden ways, ancient even, in measuring weight with an incredibly great degree of accuracy if done correctly.

Here are some ways to weigh yourself without a scale:

#1. Water Displacement Method

Otherwise known as “Archimedes Principle”, after the Greek mathematician, physicist, astronomer, engineer, and inventor who devised said method for calculating volumes of irregularly-shaped objects in the latter part of his lifetime (c. 287 - c. 212 BC).

It is a popular belief that the realization came to Archimedes (c. 287 - c. 212 BC) when he observed how the water level rose after submerging himself in his bathtub. At the time, he was tasked to calculate the amount of gold used in forging the king’s crown, without melting or dismantling it.

The Archimedes Principle states that when an object is partially or completely immersed in a fluid, it experiences a buoyant force whose magnitude is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the immersed part of the object.

And since water is incompressible and has a constant weight, its volume can be converted to weight using the following equation:

1 cubic centimeter of water = 1 gram

how to weigh yourself without a scale

Via: Designboom

  • You would need a tape measure, a calculator (I’m sure you have one in your smartphone), a non-permanent marker, and a leak-proof water container wherein you can completely submerge yourself. For the latter, the measurement will be more accurate if you can find a rectangular receptacle with vertically straight sides. You can use a bathtub like Archimedes did, but you have to leave a small margin for inaccuracy if the inside walls of your tub are tapered from top to bottom.
  • Fill the tub with clean water until you reach the level wherein you can submerge every part of your body. When the water is fully settled, mark one side of the tub at exactly the same level as the fluid’s surface.
  • Remove your clothes and get into the water until you are completely submerged. Make another mark on top of the first marker line and right about the surface line of the risen water level.
  • Get out of the water and please cover yourself with a towel or something. Get the tape measure and determine the length and width of the tub in centimeters at the same level as one of the marked lines or slightly above the water surface. Next, measure the distance between the two marker lines in centimeters.
  • Compute the total water volume displacement using this formula: length X width X depth (the distance between the 2 marker lines). Let’s say for example that the inside length of the tub is 150 cm, the width is 65 cm, and the distance between the two markers is 6 cm, then 150 X 65 X 6 = 58,500 (total cubic centimeter or displaced water). Based then on the given data that 1 cubic centimeter of water is equal to 1 gram, then your total weight is about 58,500 grams. By the way, this is based on the assumption that the walls of the portion of the tub where the two marker lies are vertically upright.
  • To get your weight in kilos, divide your total weight in grams by 1000 and voila! Or as Archimedes would exclaim: Eureka! You have your weight in kilos! If we will take the example given above, the figure will be 58.5 kilos. To get the weight in pounds, just multiply the weight in kilos by 2.2. For example, 58.5 kilos x 2.2 = 128.7 lbs.

#2. Lever and Fulcrum Method

It is almost impossible now to determine who actually invented this simple contraption for moving and weighing objects, as it is believed to be used as early as in the stone ages. It is also an accepted premise that it was employed in the construction of the great Egyptian pyramids.

However, the earliest scientific writing about Lever and Fulcrum be ascribed to no other than to the great Archimedes also. He is really one smart cookie, isn’t he?

One of Archimedes’ postulations about said mechanism states that “Weights that balance at equal distances are equal”. Based then on this principle, you can determine your weight by using a lever and fulcrum device and an object or set of objects that will constitute the same weight as your entire body.

Again, let me reiterate that it is really not that simple and uncomplicated doing it. We are just exploring this method for the sake of discussion, and perhaps for amusement.

how to weigh yourself without a scale

How to do it:

  • Of course, you would need a lever and fulcrum device. The most readily accessible for you probably is a seesaw set from a nearby children’s playground. Next, you need to find objects with predetermined weight as counter balance such as gallons of water or paint cans. For accuracy, you should also have smaller packages such as half-gallons, quarts, and pints. You would also require an assistance from a friend or another person. In fact, if said person is about the same body mass as you and knows for a fact his or her own weight it will be more convenient.
  • Sit on one end of the seesaw and ask your friend to begin stacking paint cans on the other end until the plank is perfectly horizontal. Once you achieved a perfect balance between yourself and the objects on the opposite end, then you know that Archimedes’ principle on lever and fulcrum stated above is in effect. Again, if your friend is about the same weight as you and knows exactly how he or she weighs, you can simplify the process by letting him or her sit on the other end and see if you can achieve a perfect balance.
  • To compute your weight, get the sum of the weight of all objects used as a counterbalance. It is said that the total weight of a gallon of paint is about 8.33 pounds or 4.26 kilos. From this data, you can get an exact figure of how much you weigh.

Final Words

It can be presumed that the cited methods here are more for information and amusement rather than for practical use. It will only become really essential if some freak-of-nature happening made all weighing scales in the world rendered unusable. However, you can always try them just for fun.

It can also be surmised that your desire to know your actual weight (though you don’t have a weighing scale on hand) is motivated by your inclination to assess the state and proportion of your body. If this is the case, then there are other things that you should consider doing other than determining your actual weight such as:

how to weigh yourself without a scale

1. Discovering your body’s ratio of muscles to fat. You can ask a fitness professional to measure your body fat using a skinfold caliper. You can also learn how to compute your own Body Mass Index (BMI), although this one involves accurately measuring your actual weight and height to come up with the actual figure.

2. You can assess your physical stamina by observing how your body reacts to everyday activities such as climbing flights of stairs or walking briskly around a city block. Do you find yourself gasping for breath or exhilarated after the activity?

3. Try performing bodyweight exercises such as chin-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, dips, etc. and try to assess how you manage to carry your own weight. Try to rate your own difficulty level when performing these workouts.

4. Watch out if your clothes start feeling tighter on you. For sure they are not shrinking, instead, your body girth is expanding. So it’s time to start exercising and having a healthier diet.

5. Stand in front of the mirror and be honest with yourself about what you see. You should know if you need to get into a better shape.

Thanks for reading!

Chester Peterson

I'm Chester, the father of two children. I workout every day and I really want to share with you my knowledge and experience about my passion on this blog. It would be great if you dropped by, read what I wrote and left some comments.

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