Thursday, January 26, 2012
Weighing yourself seems like a simple task, yet so many people seem to get it wrong. They weigh in too often, or not often enough, or find some other little way to stress over something that shouldn't be more than a bookmark for where they're currently at. Hopefully this quick little article will help you to realize that the scale is an extremely helpful dieting tool, but ONLY when used correctly and with the correct mindset.
Weigh yourself in the morning- First thing when you wake up, make sure to jump on that scale before putting anything in your belly. This will make sure that the weight you're seeing is as close to possible to your actual body weight. Surprisingly, if you were to weigh yourself before bed, then as soon as you wake up, you'd see about a 2-3 lb difference (I've seen as much as 5 lbs) due to water evaporation. Water is heavy, and can really add a few pounds to that figure you see on the scale face.
Weigh in at the same time each day- This one seems like a no-brainer, but I've had people ask me how they gained 3 lbs in one day, and after getting over my initial bafflement and finally asking when they weighed themselves each day I learned that once was before breakfast and the other time was after dinner. Of course you're going to weigh more! FOOD WEIGHS SOMETHING! Make it only in the morning, and save yourself some worry.
Weigh in naked- OK, this one's truly up to you, but if your scale is in the bathroom it shouldn't be too big a deal. This will provide consistency to your figure that might be taken away by clothes that are different weight. Before you hop in the shower, just hop on the scale real quick. Easy enough right?
Weigh in after your business is done- Hopefully I don't have to go into too much detail here. Wake up, empty yourself, then jump on the scale. Hey, that stuff weighs something, right? Do you want it counted in your figure?
Don't weigh in Every Day- This will drive you nuts. If you weigh yourself every day, you're not going to see any real trend due to the natural fluctuations in your body. This could include things like how much water you're retaining that particular day, or how much food's in your belly (although if you followed my advice prior then that shouldn't be an issue). Things don't stay the same, especially in your body, and trends take a while to show. I would suggest once or twice a week, and if you're really looking to track what you hope will be fast progress, then every other day is as often as I'd go for.
Weigh in only once a day- Again, this one doesn't seem too hard to remember, but some people just can't keep away from the scale. Once a day only please, or else you WILL become neurotic about the scale and freak out about any little weight fluctuation. Like I said, your body composition changes on an hourly basis. Weigh in when you wake up, figure out how your diet is working, and go about your business. Don't burn that number into your head.
Weigh yourself on a hard, even surface- Don't set the scale on the carpet, it's as simple as that. This will skew the results up to and sometimes greater than 4%. To give you an idea, that'd be like seeing the scale say 173 lbs when actually you weigh 180 lbs. Not a surprise you want to figure out later, right?
Weigh in on the same scale- Different scales, while all pretty accurate these days, do have their own characteristics. If you're hopping from scale to scale, you might see differences that aren't really there, and start to stress. Keep the benchmark consistent and try to use the same scale every day.
DON'T STRESS!!! I can't say this enough. The scale, while a great tool to view your progress, can also be a really stressful thing. Some people avoid it, some people weigh in 4 times a day in obsession. Listen, while your weight is important, it's not the most critical thing in your life. There are many factors a scale doesn't take into account, one of them being muscle mass (you can gain muscle, lose a pant size, and GAIN weight all at once), the other is overall health. If you eat healthy, not only will you tend to weigh less, but you'll be much healthier than a "skinnyfat" person who only weighs 138 but eats burgers, Doritos, and cookies for every meal. Concern yourself more with health than with weight. The scale is your friend, don't stress out about it.
Keep recording, keep smiling, and as always, GOOD LUCK!