To Weigh or Not to Weigh?
Wednesday, January 04, 2017
There is a lot of controversy over how often a person should step on the scale, and I believe that there is a lot of truth to every opinion.
Option 1~ Don't use the scale. The actual weight is not as important as the fact that you are indeed losing. OK, sure, but how do you measure progress. Well, by your measurements. So, take good measurements when you start and check them once a month or so. This works really well for some people, especially if they have a lot of weight to lose. The heavier you are, the more your weight fluctuates from one day to the next, making daily weigh ins frustrating, So how your clothes fit is a very good way to measure. Also, as you start working out and building muscle, you are going to lose weight caused by fat, and gain weight caused my muscle, so you will probably lose inches even if you don't lose any lbs. Those new muscles will in turn burn more calories which will reduce the amount of fat that your body carries.
Option 2~ monthly or weekly weigh ins. So, your using the scale as a guide, but you know your daily body weight fluctuates, and even though you know that, it is still very discouraging when the dial goes up. So that occasional weigh in gives a more averaged result, and if you are weighing in monthly, and losing 1-2 lbs a week, you will have lost enough to cover a small daily increase, and still see a loss for the month. Weekly you may see a smaller loss or that you maintained, but if you are diligent, you shouldn't see an increase.
Option 3~ daily weigh ins. So, you should know that what you eat and drink today, may not show up on the scale for 2 or 3 days. However, some things like too much sodium have an immediate effect, because sodium causes your cells to hang on to water, causing water weight gain. A daily weigh in keeps me consistent. Its a daily habit, and I don't forget. (my husband doesn't want to weigh in everyday, and therefore, he forgets to ever weigh in). Having stepped on the scale nearly every day for the last 15 years means that I know how my body works, how much fluctuation is normal for me, and when to get nervous about an upward trend. My downward trend is so slow, that even a trend of a fraction of a pound is encouraging to me. I've been in my size 8 jeans for 2 months, and will probably be in them for 3-4 months longer, which means that using measurements or jeans size is a much too slow measurement guide for me.
Option 4~ multiple weigh ins a day. OK, no one recommends this. Its really not a good way to maintain momentum or motivation if the numbers on the scale drive you. Personally, I have been known to fluctuate up as much as 4 lbs at some parts of the day. That being said, there are some benefits to multiple weigh ins. One of those benefits is that it helps you realize how different things effect you. You had a really good BM and think you must have lost 2 lbs? Try jumping on the scale before and after. It's interesting. Did you know that a pint of water equals 1 lb? Drink a pint of water, wait 30-60 minutes, then weigh before and after you pee. Yup, you will lose about a lb. Weighing in before and after your workouts can be helpful as well. Any weight lost during a workout is water weight and it needs to be replace. So if you lose 2 lbs, you need to replace that quart of water. Getting ready to eat a big holiday meal, I dare you, weigh before and after....
OK, I'm sure you can tell from the way this is written what option I follow. I do know that what I do isn't the right thing for everyone, and I'm not trying to sell you on my way of doing things. I did however what to share some insight into how you can use the scale for more than just measuring weight loss or gain.
I took care of my Gramma in my home fore 18 months before she died. She had COPD and was on a low sodium diet which I was very careful with. She was on high levels of oxygen and got out of breath very easily. Occasionally, she would get someone to bring her an unauthorized treat. (how do you tell your 90 yo Gramma she can't have a slice of pizza?) but if she gained more than 1 lbs over night, I knew I had to watch her oxygen levels that day, because that water weight made it very hard for her heart to work.
Regardless of how you have decided to measure your success, you have to use a method that works for you. There really is no right or wrong way. It's really more about how your process the numbers emotionally. If it's working, keep on keeping on, if it isn't working, try something else.