Weighing In On Weigh-In Frequency: What Pop Culture Says And What I Say.
Over the years I’ve read my fair share of weight loss articles and exercise magazines. Contrary to popular belief MANY overweight people think about dieting and working out often, if not all the time. But one of the big topics is how frequent you should weigh yourself. I’ve read statements ranging from same time every day, once every other day, once a week to extremes like once a month.
One of the most popular concepts is to weigh yourself once a week. Otherwise hide that scale under the sink and do NOT even think about taking a passing glance at it until next week’s weigh-in!
Now go for a run! Just kidding, this focus is for people who might get discouraged easily by a small weight gain or only a small amount of weight lost. It focuses on keeping people positive about their weight loss goals and allows them to see the full 2lbs lost a week instead of .3 over a day or so. Personally I get excited over .1lbs lost because that is .1lbs I don’t have anymore. This once a week thought, is to help people keep in sight that you are only supposed to lose 2-3lbs of weight the healthy way per week and ultimately keep them from giving up and staying on track.(Hopefully!)
Most articles also often suggest weighing yourself at the same time every weigh-in, no matter what the frequency.The reasoning is by keeping a consistent weigh-in time it helps combat the fact that your body’s weight shifts throughout the day due to things such as stress, eating, sweating, and water weight .If you weigh yourself at 10am every morning the idea is that your weight -if your diet is pretty consistent- should be roughly the same giving you the same starting and stopping point. Allowing you to have a more realistic idea of your weight loss.
One last big tip magazines suggest is if you have a “cheater day”(We all have them and you SHOULD enjoy them! There isn’t anything peanut butter-chocolate in this world that I don’t enjoy) The thought it to wait a few days to weigh-in. Let your body readjust from your cheater day and give you time to make up for it with exercise and a correction in diet later.
Personally, I am an outlier in all this.Shocker! The fat girl not fitting in with what beauty magazines say. There’s an ironic headliner. I keep my scale in the bathroom and when I first started I thought, I will avoid a scale like the bubonic plague except for once a week to help me keep positive. However, that was just too hard for me. I don’t know about you, but I was too curious about where I was sitting and how I reacted to eating better. I accidentally/luckily purchased a scale to the tenth place (0.1) which allows me to see small changes in my weight.(I highly suggest it) So I decided that I was allowed to weigh myself but only if I was in the bathroom anyway(More intensive to drink water anyone???) and that unless if was a full week later, I was not allowed to get upset about any real changes in my weight.Notice, however, I was allowed to be excited =P
This fact alone I think is why I am being so successful this time. That and the whole actually-working-out thing. But seriously, when I weigh myself and see a small loss I get so excited that I want to continue. It gives me the boost I need to keep making healthy choices through the day. If I see a slight gain after a night I splurged and ate 5 cheese sticks(and no, I do not feel guilty) instead of the originally planned 2, it allows me to take a step back and think, “Hey, I didn’t do the best, but now I have to work out just a bit longer and eat better today”. Instead of being upset about the gain I just try to combat it and mentally rev myself up for earning those 3 extra cheese sticks and possibly another later.(In addition to peanut butter I love cheese too)
My point is that what works for magazines or the “average person” might not be what works best for you. Note what all 3 of these ideas given earlier have in common; they are assuming if a massive weight loss doesn’t happen, or god forbid a
gain the person in question will become negative and give up. It’s true that sometimes what the scale reads is disappointing. If you’re truly starting your weight loss/maintenance journey you NEED to change your attitude from I can’t do this, it is too hard, to GOODBYE .1lbs! Whoohoo! Its going to be a long hard road, but who said you can’t make the choice to be excited about getting healthy? When did the expectation become that we must hate working out and results should be instantaneous? Why can’t I be happy that I now can run 3 miles if I havent lost weight? Is any of this making sense?
Ultimately it is up to what works best for you, try different things out. Your perspective is everything, and if only seeing .2lbs of loss is going to turn you off from achieving your goals, then by all means don’t weigh yourself often. But if seeing the small changes encourages you, weight yourself more! Remember, it’s not just all about the numbers. Happy weight loss everybody!
Peak Weight: 235lbs
Start Weight: 225lbs
Weight loss so far: 26.6lbs
The following is just my thoughts on when to weigh yourself. I am in no way shape or form a medical doctor, certified dietitian, or personal trainer. Not that weighing yourself really has to do with that. But just protecting myself.