Do you know what the so-called ‘conventional wisdom’ tells you about how often to weigh yourself?
The experts in this area are all over the place. Some tell us that weighing ourselves daily is vital to establishing a healthy regimen. Others are advising us to throw out our scales and to stop obsessing over that silly little (or annoyingly huge) number in front of us.
There was a time when I was in the category of obsessing over that annoying number. During that period, I weighed myself constantly: before meals, after meals, morning, evening, and midday whenever plausible. Any change to the number was cause for either premature celebration or irrational anxiety. This was clearly not a sustainable practice.
So, what do we do?
There are a few takeaways that I’ve amalgamated from the plethora of do’s, don’ts, wisdom and just plain-old common sense.
My personal view is that weighing yourself daily is entirely too frequent, and possibly self-defeating. Our weight changes throughout the day – a lot. If we’ve eaten that wonderful pasta dish the night before and have not yet…eh, hem…gone potty, we should not expect the scale to show weight loss. Similarly, if we’ve gone heavy on the sodium intake, water retention will conspire against the best weight-loss diet.
On the other hand, you can’t – or shouldn’t – live in a state of blissful ignorance. If you’ve not been on the scale in two years, that’s probably too long to wait for what could be an importance assessment of your health.
I believe that a healthy medium is to weigh yourself somewhere between every 2-4 weeks.
As important, is the consistency with which you apply to weighing yourself. Two obvious examples: be sure to wear similar clothing each time and, for heaven’s sake, use the same scale!
Most of us talk energetically about weight loss when what we really want is fat loss—right ladies? We want that fat gone from our midsections, hips and thighs—or wherever else it tends to hunker down. That’s very different from weight loss, which can include loss of water and/or muscle. Understanding your goal is the first step in researching the right diet plan or daily regimen.
Finally, don’t allow the act of weighing yourself to be an exercise in psychological torture. Just as with other life or work challenges, if you’re not happy with what you see, create a plan to change it. Measure the results every few weeks to stay focused on your efforts as opposed to clinging to an imaginary date on the calendar. Set realistic goals and celebrate each milestone (minus the cake). If you’re making progress more slowly than you’d like, that could actually indicate that you’re achieving far more sustainable results.