Last year I decided to stop weighing myself every day. For decades, stepping on the scale was a standard part of existence. It is quite embarrassing to admit that my daily mood and sense of success was tied to the number on the scale. There was a range of about five pounds that made me feel warm and fuzzy. When I was within this range, I would have an extra pep in my step and felt like I could accomplish anything. When there was an undesirable reading, I immediately felt anxious and doubted my performance in all things. After stopping this repetitive behavior I have become more positive and have learned to focus on how I feel instead of letting a silly number influence my day.
Weight loss does not happen overnight and checking the scale this frequently can actually do more harm than good to your mental state. Weighing yourself once per week should be enough to help you stay accountable without becoming obsessed. Aim for weighing in on the same day of the week, around the same time, and wearing similar clothing.
Below are some additional mistakes you may be making when you weigh yourself that will give you inaccurate numbers and could likely have affect your mood or self-worth.
Weighing yourself after a long day: After a full day of eating and drinking, it is only natural for the scale to go up. If you absolutely must weight yourself, do it first thing in the morning after your food has had a full night to digest. Remember that clothes can surprisingly add an extra 1-2 pounds on the scale! If you are only available for afternoon or evening appointments for your weigh-ins with your coach, be easy on yourself and understand that you will likely weigh more than you did that morning.
Weighing in after a workout: After working out, it may appear like you have lost weight on your scale. Unfortunately, it’s not actual body fat, its water weight. You can lose up to 2.5 pounds of water after a hard workout; beware, it will come right back as soon as you rehydrate.
Using different scales: For the best results, stick with one scale to ensure you are always getting an adequate reading. By doing this way you will be more likely to stay motivated and know that the changes are a result of your hard work and dedication.
Listening to the scale instead of your body: Just because the numbers on the scale aren’t moving, or aren’t moving fast enough, does not mean your body isn’t changing. There are many reasons why the scale might not appear to be moving: your muscle mass could be increasing, changes in hormones, fluctuations in water weight or hydration, etc. Instead of obsessing over a number on a scale, pay attention to how your clothes feel or to your overall being.
Getting healthier should be more than numbers on a scale, because being healthy is not only about your weight. You should be determining your well-being by more important numbers like improvements to your blood pressure, cholesterol, and/or insulin. Other benefits may be having better sleep, higher energy levels, clearer skin, and feeling all around healthier!