Weighty Matters

By Adam Glasgow - 2/28/2016

To Weigh or Not to Weigh…. That is the Question

Rarely does a week go by when I don’t hear patients worry about how often they should weigh themselves. Sometimes that question sounds something like: “Is weighing myself every day okay? Will it help me lose weight?” And other times, the question is a bit more frantic, like: “I weighed myself this morning and I was a pound more than I was yesterday! I am so upset.”

The decision of how often to weight yourself is personal, and what works for some people may not work for others. First of all, it is important to understand, that there are natural, day to day fluctuations in weight for all of us. Something as simple as whether you ate food with a high salt content and retained water, might impact your weight. Whether you have a cold, or whether a woman has her period, may alter the number you see on the scale. Even the scale you use, and the time of day you use it, or what you are wearing when you weigh yourself might impact (or appear to impact) your weight. There are any number of reasons why our weight can change slightly on any given day.

So, that said, it is important to remember if you do choose to weigh yourself daily, do not panic if the number is slightly higher than you expected, or not as low as you had hoped. There may be any number of things impacting the number on the scale. But even under the most perfect of circumstances, remember that if you are aiming to lose 1-2 pounds a week, you typically cannot and will not see that change on a daily basis. What you are looking for is a trend towards weight loss OVER TIME. Sometimes it takes time (even more than a week) to see that number drop on the scale. So PATIENCE and PERSPECTIVE are key components in the process.

If your overall weight loss trend is headed in the right direction over time, keep doing what you’re doing (and maybe even kick it up a notch). If your weight is trending in the wrong direction, think about making change to stop that trend. Sometimes even starting with one small change (like giving up desserts or adding a walk to your daily routine), can stop the negative trend in its tracks and give you the motivation to reverse it. In either case, whether you are losing or gaining (or just holding steady), please know that I and my team are here to help support you in that process. You can’t do it alone and you shouldn’t have to.

So, back to the question we started with: How often should you weigh yourself? For some people weighing themselves daily is a great motivator. They feel it holds them accountable and motivates them either to be more careful if they see a higher number, or to continue what they were doing if they see a lower number. If weighing yourself daily is a strong motivator for you, and you are someone who can take the slight variations in stride, then go for it. Just remember to weigh yourself on the same scale at the same time of day to keep things as consistent as possible.

BUT if you are someone who is likely to worry obsessively about the fluctuation of a pound or two, you may be better off skipping the daily weigh in. Try weighing yourself at the end of each week or whatever time interval feels right to you, and look at how you are trending over time. Skipping the daily weigh-ins might take some pressure off you emotionally day to day. And of course you can always sneak a peek if the moment moves you.

Finally, always remember, the number on the scale is just that: A NUMBER. How you FEEL and your HEALTH are both much more important than how you much you weigh. Pay attention to the changes in your body, what you can do that you couldn’t do before, and how your health has improved. Those are the victories that you cannot see when you look down at the scale, and those are the victories that mean the most.

Winter is wrapping up and there are daffodils in the supermarkets. Stay positive, stay motivated. Let me know how you are doing!



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