Many people have a love-hate relationship with the scale. Sometimes the scale shows us something that we don’t want to see, at other times it gives us moments of joy as we see the needle pointing to a lower number than it used to. The scale can either give you motivation or it can take it away. It may also prove to be an inaccurate tool that gives you a false picture.
In this post I want to talk about the best way to weigh yourself, whether you should weigh yourself every day and if not, how often you need to do so. I will talk about how to use the scale in the right way to help you stick to your diet plan and achieve your weight loss goals.
Making Sure Your Scale Is Accurate
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your scale is accurate. You can test it with something that you know the weight of. For instance, a lot of food products have the weight printed on the cover, and the same goes for many other products. It’s important to choose a product which weighs 8 pounds or more (or simply use a number of products) as your scale was made for the weight of a person so it may not work for small objects.
Once you know that your scale is working as it should, it’s time to consider the ultimate question: how often should you use it?
How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?
There are a number of possible answers and each has merit. Let me just say one thing: how often you weigh yourself is not the most important thing. What matters is what you do with this information. If you let any bad scale-reading get you down or break your spirit, you will face hard moments during your quest to lose weight. If you accept that this is a process with ups and downs, you should be fine.
That being said, it’s hard to not let the scale influence your motivation. If you see that you’ve lost weight you will naturally feel better than if you see that you failed to do so. This is why some advocate using the scale infrequently, once a week at most.
The reason is that you need to give your current weight loss method time to work in order to provide you with tangible results. If you weigh yourself too often, say every day, you may find that the scale shows that you failed to lose weight since the last time or even gained a bit.
The reason why this happens is that weight fluctuates and it depends on many factors: your previous meal or drink and the last time you visited the toilet. Your weight changes throughout the day so you may find yourself heavier in the evening than in the morning. Because weight fluctuates, frequent weight-ins may give an inaccurate picture.
The problem is that you may lose motivation because your body hasn’t had enough time to drop the pounds. This is why weekly or even bi-weekly weigh-ins are recommended by many.
However, there are those that claim that if weight fluctuates, there is a chance that you will fall on a “heavy time” during your weekly weigh-in. In this case, it would have been better to see this particular incident in the light of your other frequent and more positive weigh-ins.
I believe that you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day. I find that it’s a waste of time. I believe that weighing yourself once every two weeks or even a month is quite sufficient. It gives you a good enough picture of how you’re progressing.
How and When To Weigh Yourself
As you use the scale to measure progress, you need to use it at the same time of day with similar conditions as when you previously weighed yourself. I believe that the best time to weigh yourself is in the morning, right after you’ve woken up and after you’ve used the bathroom. Your body is naturally lighter and relatively empty of food.
To make sure you’re giving yourself a fair reading, avoid weighing yourself on days following a big meal. You will just be heavier from all the food that you’ve eaten.
The Scale Is Not Everything
There is one more thing that you should know and that is that the scale may not be the best tool to measure your fat loss progress. The scale measures weight, not body fat percentage.
It’s a well known fact that bodybuilders weigh a lot even though they have very little body fat. If you compare them pound to pound with other people you will mistakenly think of them as fat. The reason why bodybuilders and athletes are often heavier is that they have a lot more muscle mass than most people. Muscle is a dense and heavy tissue.
I recommend using a body fat caliper or a measuring tape to get a real picture of how trim you are. Measure your waist, hips, and shoulders’ circumference periodically with a tape to see how your body composition is changing and use a caliper to know your body fat percentage.
An unscientific way to see how you’re progressing is to do the ol’ jeans test. Simply feel how you fit into your jeans. Is it easier than it used to be? Can you use a smaller size? If so, you’re on the right track.
I don’t even own a weight scale at the moment. I just don’t feel the need for it. I rely on the mirror and how my clothes feel on me. I believe that you shouldn’t become dependent on what the scale shows. As long as you choose a healthy diet plan and remain active I am sure that you will lose weight. So, weigh yourself once every two weeks or more. This is more than enough to know whether your current method is working for you.