OK – so you decided you want to lose a little bit of weight – congratulations! We at Herbsea believe that losing the weight is only the first part of the journey – the real deal is keeping it off, maintaining your best weight range. First of all – let’s say you and your BFF are both the same height. But she may be at her best, feeling and looking, 10 pounds more than you. It’s just how your body is. Your doctor can help determine what’s your best range.
But this isn’t a diet or healthful eating blog piece – this is about that dang scale. The thing we love to hate at times, our forever frenemy. It just sits there where you put it but what it says can make or break your day.
So the questions are – how often do you use it, and, how to ensure you’re doing it as effectively as possible to show your true weight (and thus gains or losses).
New Jersey fitness trainer and nutrition expert Adam Eckart MS CSCS, co-founder of
Critical MASS (Shrewsbury, NJ), describes pros and cons of weighing yourself every day, never, or once per week. If you want to weigh yourself daily, he says, do so at the same time (say, 7:30 am), and wear as little as possible (no bulky robes). A good reason to weigh daily, he points out, is a published study (Journal of Obesity, 2015) discussing the success of people who recorded their weight daily for two years; they were able to sustain their lowered weight better than those who skipped weigh days.
There are natural factors that can cause weight to fluctuate daily, such as water retention. This is fine if you are someone who understands this and is not bothered by it; but unfortunately, some people can become fixated on that number and if it is higher, this may cause the person to give up.
Some people prefer to skip the scale entirely and just judge on two factors – how they look in the mirror (is that tummy bulge a bit flatter?) and how their clothes fit. Success is often judged by clothes that are looser. The great thing about this method is that you don’t obsess over The Number, and feel totally liberated from the scale. The bad side is that it is very easy to simply forget to judge how clothes are fitting, and weight can creep on gradually.
Weighing yourself once a week may be a good option – just ensure you do it on the same day and time each week (Monday, 6:30 am). Eckhart describes this as “the compass method: frequent enough to notice when you begin to drift off track, but infrequent enough to not intrude on your life in a negative way. It’s frequent enough to bring gradual weight gain to your attention before it gets too far out of hand.” However, if you are not careful with your diet, he cautions, remember that weight gained in a week will also take about a week or so to lose – when you follow a healthy lifestyle.
“The truth is that there’s no universal right way to monitor your fat loss progress in order to stay on track,” Eckhart says. “The method that you choose should be the one that positively supports you towards your goals.”
You may also want to take a good long look at your scale to see if it is something you can rely on. Modern scales can give you more than just your weight; some will show what percentage of yoru weight is fat, and others calculate your BMI (body mass index). Further, if you are really tech-y – you can buy scales that allow you to upload your weight/BMI/fat percentage to your computer and smartphone. You can buy analog or digital scales, and scales that are battery powered or solar powered. Many scales go up to 330 pounds and some go up to 400.
The good news is that a quality scale is affordable, and it is an investment you will appreciate.