For people who want to lose weight, the actual amount someone weighs is a loaded issue. People who are not taking consistent action toward their weight loss desires may be doing everything in their power to avoid knowing exactly how much they weigh. Others who are losing weight may be doing so with only the fit of their clothes as their gauge. Some weigh once a week, nothing more, nothing less.
I’m one of the people who believes in regular weigh-ins. I actually weigh myself every morning, after a trip to the bathroom, and before my shower. Here’s why:
A daily weigh-in gives me clues to get back on track faster. I’m the kind of person who likes to have as much information as possible to make a decision in any area of my life, so it’s natural for me to want to know what’s going on with my body. Yes, I understand that, as any long-term Weight Watchers member will tell you, the weight of our bodies fluctuates regularly for many reasons, from high sodium consumption and water retention, to repair time the body is taking after working out and menstrual cycle fluctuations. But I notice patterns and adjust accordingly if the number starts to look like it’s in a gradual upswing or if it jumps several pounds in a short time. (I would also go back and take a look at my log of what I’ve been eating, because it my weight is going up, and I’m absolutely astounded by that, I must be underreporting or somehow miscalculating how much eating I’m really doing.)
A daily weigh-in is good motivation for me to keep losing. Again, the number can (and will) fluctuate, but if I see my weight decline during the week, it helps me to bolster my resolve and keep doing what I’m doing in that week. (Similarly, in the September/October issue of Weight Watchers magazine, an article on keeping weight off says that “participants who weighed in daily were 82 percent less likely to regain lost weight than those who did not weigh themselves every day.”) I like to think that it’s because knowing that you’re monitoring the number builds in a sense of accountability.
A daily weigh-in gives me a glimpse of the future. When I gaze at the number on the scale, I get daily and weekly motivation, as mentioned above, but I also get longer-term motivation as well.
For example, maybe about six months ago, I saw the scale dip down to 178 lbs., the lowest number I’ve seen since I’ve been trying to lose weight. I didn’t sustain this number, and in fact I ultimately retreated away from by 10 lbs. But I never forgot that I saw that number, and I’ve told myself for the past half a year that if I could get there once, I can get there again. I’m once again closing in on that number which, incidentally, would put me at 49 lbs. down. It’s definitely a number I’m motivated to chase and reclaim.
That’s the long and short of why I’m weighing myself on a regular basis. Here are some dos and don’ts I have for daily weighing:
- Don’t weigh yourself daily if there’s any chance that you will obsess about the number in a way that goes beyond simple information gathering. I think of the number as a personal health statistic, like cholesterol level or blood pressure; I don’t use it as the be-all, end-all measure of my success or setbacks.
- Do weigh yourself at the same time every day, as weight fluctuates during the day, and a consistent weighing time may give you a more consistent number.
- Do place the scale in the same location every time.
- Don’t forget that accuracy can be skewed as the batteries die. Be sure to keep in mind when it’s time to get fresh batteries.
Do you weigh yourself regularly, or have you thrown your scale out the window ages ago? What are your reasons? What are your rules for weighing yourself? Talk to me in the comments!