This is a question I hear often – should I weigh myself? Or How often should I weigh myself? The answer really depends on your personality and what your goals are.
Too often, I believe people become fixated on a number and will go to great lengths to reach that number or maintain that number. Some times these efforts can become unhealthy. Our bodies can change over time. As we gain more muscles, we may actually gain a little weight on the scale while losing circumference around our waist! In this scenario fixating on a number may cause you to reduce calories and become less healthy.
Here are my recommendations on when to let the scale be your judge.
If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, 25 or more pounds, the scale is a good way to check and see if you are making progress towards your goal. Weigh yourself once a week as a check in. Is the needle moving down, stuck in one place or moving up? Use the scale simply to reaffirm that you are doing enough and not too much! It is not healthy to expect to lose 8- 15 lbs in one week! (I recently read a behind the scenes interview with a former Biggest Loser Contestant who explained “one week” on the BL Ranch was sometimes 15 days between weigh- ins!! Don’t be fooled by extreme weight loss on Television) Losing 1-2lbs a week is healthy and safe.
If you are trying to maintain a certain weight or figure – the scale can be your accountability partner. I say can be because some personalities can get a bit obsessive with this sort of thing. Our body weight is going to fluctuate some due to water weight, menstrual cycles, illness and more. In this scenario the scale is there to alert you if you see a bigger swing – say 5 lbs. up or down. That should be your signal – Ok I need to focus on my diet or get back to working out. If the scale goes up 1 or 2 lbs one day and down the next – this is normal.
I know some folks who can weigh themselves everyday without becoming obsessive about it. That daily weigh in helps them make decisions for the day such as should I get a venti or grande drink at Starbucks or should I walk for 30 or 45 minutes today. If you can use the scale in this manner – that’s great. HOWEVER, if you are one who weighs yourself everyday and then freaks out or exercises to extremes or drastically cuts calories based on the number – the scale is not for you!
I know other gals who never step on a scale. They let the fit of their clothes be the determination if they are doing well with exercise and diet. At the end of the day that is really what we all should want to maintain a healthy body not achieve a good number!
For others looking to maintain, a weekly or monthly weigh in does the trick. That’s just enough to double check their status and make modifications as needed.
So – that’s a long way of saying – if the scale keeps you on track and provides the accountability you need – Use it! If the scale creates stress or leads to unhealthy habits for you – skip it and find other ways to measure your success.