There are a lot of different opinions about weighing yourself while working toward weight loss. Some sources recommend avoiding the scale altogether, while other experts recommend weighing in daily. Statistically, people who weigh themselves daily achieve greater success with permanent weight loss. However, many popular weight loss plans, such as Weight Watchers, do not recommend daily weigh-ins. Instead, they recommend a weekly weigh-in, if not even less frequently.
The truth is stepping on the scale can be a negative experience, especially if you’ve been working hard to lose weight but aren’t seeing the results you desire. I hear this repeatedly with my weight loss clients when they are less than enthusiastic about the concept of daily weigh-ins. I understand completely. No pounds lost, or worse, a weight gain, when you’ve been dedicated and doing all the right things is enough to send anyone off their diet and back to an unhealthy lifestyle. I mean, what’s the point of depriving yourself if you’re not going to lose weight anyhow??
However often a person decides to weigh in, if at all, it is important that they have a basic understanding of body mechanics. Regardless of what someone may be doing “right” or “wrong,” weight fluctuations are common because a person’s weight on any given day is determined by a multitude of factors. For example, your weight can be affected by how hydrated you are, what you recently ate (such as salty food that may make you retain water), your bathroom habits, environmental factors and whether or not you exercised or got a good night sleep the day before your weigh-in.
While researching this issue, I read a lot of material advocating against daily weigh-ins because of “scale drama” that may result if the person attempting to lose weight does not see the result they desire on the scale. Famous health gurus included.
I respectfully disagree.
The number on the scale is just that…a number. And a number is completely neutral until the person stepping on the scale thinks a negative (or a positive) thought about the number. If you weigh in at 150, but you started at 200, you’re going to be pretty excited about that 150. If you have been stuck at 150 for three weeks and your goal is 120, you may have a completely different thought and feeling about that 150. Your thoughts and feelings will determine what action you take, as well as the result you ultimately get. Would you rather be frustrated by the number you see, or excited about what you might learn from the number? How do you experience your weight loss journey if you are excited versus frustrated? The choice is yours.
The fact is research shows that people who weigh themselves daily are more successful at losing weight, and more successful at keeping it off. If statistics support daily weigh-ins, why would anyone advocating for your weight loss advise against it?
The key is to understand the mechanics of the body, how and why weight fluctuates on a daily basis, and to re-program your brain to have a different thought about the number on the scale. Instead of the number meaning you are doomed for failure, the weighing in process is merely information gathering, the knowledge of which will be valuable to your ultimate success at reaching your desired goal. In conjunction with daily journaling about exercise, diet and stress management, your daily number tells a valuable story about your weight loss journey and what should come next to meet your desired goal.
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