How often should I weigh myself?
This is a question I not only get asked from others, but it was a question I frequently asked myself when I was trying to lose weight.
Many of us have a love/hate relationship with our scale. We usually have a number in our head of what we want to see when we step on the scale. Often, based on the number that we see, we tend to define our happiness. If our weight is going in the direction we want, we feel good. If it’s not, we become angry with ourselves and the negative self-talk beings.
Hey, I totally get it. My magic number for as long as I can remember was 155. Depending on which side of the number I’d find myself would determine how I’d speak to myself & feel that day. Even though that number has changed over the years, I still sometimes catch myself doing this. I’ll hesitantly reach for the scale and wonder, “should I or shouldn’t I?”
Today, let’s look at this and decide how often you should be reaching for the scale!
Have you ever noticed how you will weigh one number at home, another one at the gym, and yet a different one at the doctor’s office? Many times scales are not calibrated correctly, resulting in inaccurate numbers. So my advice is to pick one scale and use that one consistently.
Here are some reasons the numbers on the scale can change in a day:
Building muscle: If you have started a new fitness program or have increased the weight you are lifting, you will begin to build muscle. This process often starts to occur before you’ve burned off fat. As a result, you may see an increase on the scale, but in reality, your body is making some amazing changes. These changes will result in a tighter, thinner body.
Our body processes: Depending on what we’ve had to eat a day or two before, our scale may not be exactly telling us the truth. Did you eat something with a high sodium content? Are you constipated? Did you eat gluten? Women, where are you in your menstrual cycle? All of these will result in transient increases in the scale but don’t represent a true picture of our body weight. Personally, depending on the time of the month, my weight can go up five pounds in just one day!
The time of day: Huh…seriously? Yes, seriously. Weighing yourself after a strenuous workout will result in a different number than first thing in the am or last thing at night after you’ve eaten all day.
To truly document your progress over time, here are 3 secrets that WILL give you accurate data to rely on: pictures, a tape measure, & clothing.
1. Change into a workout outfit, or bathing suit and take the dreaded “before” pictures. I know, no one ever likes it but the pictures tell the truth. Then continue to take pictures every 30 days in the same outfit. Compare side by side to see the changes. I WISH I had done this when I started my weight loss journey so I could look back and see the changes!
2. Measure yourself weekly. Even though you are building muscle and may not be seeing changes in the scale, the tape measure will show you your progress. Write down your measurements each week to keep track of the changes.
3. Find a pair of jeans or a dress in your closet that is one size smaller than your current size. Try that garment on bi-monthly to feel the changes.
Remember, one person can weigh 140 lbs. and be a size 10 and another person can weigh the same 140 lbs. yet be a size 4. It has to do with the ratio of muscle to fat.
Basically feel free to throw your scale in the garbage or smash it with a hammer! Well, okay, maybe not…instead consider your scale a tool…one of many that you have. Weigh yourself occasionally, not daily…not twice a day, and remember that it’s just a number giving you information. Most importantly, remember that it’s not determining whether or not you are a good person or worthy of love. It’s already been determined that you are.