That is the question.
I weigh myself daily. Some will tell you it’s the best thing in the world. Others will tell you to never weigh yourself. It really is individual. But the best advice about the scale came from my nutritionist. “It doesn’t become a problem until the number on the scale dictates your day.”
All too often it does. Not just when it goes up; after all, if you weigh yourself daily you have to be ready for the 1-2 pound fluctuations. When I gain a pound (or two) in one day I generally shrug it off as water weight. Think about it. You have to eat 3500 calories to gain (or don’t eat them to lose) ONE pound. I know I didn’t eat 7000 calories the day before. When I lose a pound I get so pumped! Finally! Yay! I get frustrated when, day after day, I eat right, get an hour or more of good exercise in and the scale doesn’t do anything at all.
While I always rant about being more than the number on the scale, I was also born in the late 60’s. I lived in the peak of the aerobics and 1200 calorie generation. Being on a diet was constant, no matter how thin you were. You hair could be big but your hips couldn’t! While I’ve hidden it, admonished it, even thrown it away only to buy a new one weeks later, the scale and I have always had a love-hate relationship. It’s part of me; that nasty habit I hate to admit. But there are upsides.
For example: by weighing yourself every day you can see the cycle your body goes through. We all have heavy days, light days and everything in between. Our weight loss goes in cycles and anyone doing this long term knows that it can be hell as we wait for that next pound to go. For me, my average weight loss last year was one pound A MONTH. yup. And that was the average, not the actual. There were months I didn’t lose an ounce. Others I would drop a pound one week and nothing for three. All the while eating well and exercising 5-6 days a week. This year, I haven’t dropped a single pound from January despite kicking up my exercise to running and keeping track of everything I eat. Something is wrong. Or maybe it’s where I’m meant to be? Click here for that blog 🙂 Despite the idea of being at the natural sticking point, I still want to see movement on the scale. Please note, YES, I measure myself on a monthly basis. No real movement there either.
Back to the scale…one thing I’ve noticed is that if the scale does move down, I have a tendency to be a little more lax with my eating habits. It’s the opposite of what you’d think, but that’s the mental reaction to losing a pound. When I gain, or remain the same, I am more apt to skip that bagel at work. But not always…some days when it’s been stagnant for weeks, months, I just give up and eat what I want for a few days. Why not? It’s not like anything I do seems to matter…or does it? At least I’m not gaining. Think of where I’d be if I just gave up. I’d been back where I was a year ago and 12 pounds heavier!
So, long and tall of it is this: do what feels right. If you weigh yourself every day, just don’t let it dictate how you look at yourself in the mirror. You really didn’t gain a pound in one day unless you ate a few cheeseburgers, a sixpack of beer and maybe even some pizza. If you want to keep a daily reading to see what your cycle is, that’s fine, but only count one “official” reading each week (on the same day, time, situation each week…not just the best number you had!)
Here are some links if you want to look into it further. Is it any wonder people are confused? There are as many opinions on this as there are black flies right now. Make up your OWN mind and what’s best for you!
Here are both Pros and Cons: