The #1 tool most people use when they are trying to lose weight is the scale. While it’s important to keep track of your progress, using a scale regularly to weight yourself as a means of determining your success can be very damaging to your progress, overall health, and self-esteem. While the scale is useful for certain situations, like someone training for a body competition, it is not something that’s healthy for the every day person to use.
First of all, the scale is not an accurate way to determine your weight loss on a regular basis. There are so many contributing factors to the number that pops up on the scale any given day. There are a lot of reasons you can see a number higher than you expected to see. If you ate a lot of salt recently, your body could be holding on to water weight. If you’ve done an intense workout recently, that is likely to make the scale go up temporarily as your muscles are inflamed. This does NOT mean you’ve “gained weight.” And I’m sure, if you’re a girl, you’ve noticed that there’s a certain time of the month when you weigh more. When Aunt Flo comes to town, she inevitably brings extra pounds with her. Not to mention that the same weight will look different on different bodies. And that’s not even different bodies at different heights. We all carry weight differently so two people at about the same height can look very different at about the same weight. So how can you even determine which weight is correct for your body to get down to? The best you’ll get is a broad range from a health professional.
Secondly, weighing yourself causes a lot of added stress because you are constantly worried about hitting a certain number. You’re thinking about how every tiny little thing you eat and do will affect that number on the scale and it can get to be very overwhelming. You can become so obsessed that you end up weighing yourself every single day. What you probably don’t realize, though, is that stress makes our bodies gain weight because it raises our cortisol levels, which in turn makes us heavier. So stressing out over the scale is counter-productive to the goal you are trying to achieve.
Thirdly, not only can weighing yourself regularly cause stress, but it can also lead to low self-esteem. When you don’t hit the number you want to see on the scale, it’s likely to make you feel bad about yourself and like the hard work you put in wasn’t enough. You end up either taking more drastic measure that end up not being healthy or you end up giving up on your weight loss journey all together because you don’t have the self-confidence to achieve your goals.
Lastly – and most importantly – weighing yourself regularly takes the focus away from your health and puts it on a number. That number is not representative of your overall health and so it is not a good factor to go by. Focusing on a number ends up creating unhealthy habits, like working out too much, taking diet pills, crash dieting, and even developing serious eating disorders.
You can lose weight and keep track of your progress without weighing yourself regularly. Focus on creating healthy habits and living a healthy lifestyle instead of focusing on your weight. Your body will transform just by eating healthy foods, being active, and eliminating stress. If you do want to keep some focus on your size, you can take measurements of your body with a flexible tape measurer and pay attention to how your clothes are fitting you. If you do feel the need the need to weigh yourself, do it once a month at the same time in your menstrual cycle so it eliminates that major factor from your varying weight. 4 weeks is also a good amount of time to see progress because it’s long enough to see some good progress but short enough that you can adjust your plan if things aren’t going as you hoped.
Remember, if you focus on being healthy both mentally and physically, the weight you want to lose is bound to come off! Scale not included.