I know that some of you avoid regularly stepping on the scale because the fluctuations bother you or you use other ways to measure your success such as how you clothes fit or how you look.
I firmly believe that each of us has to do what works for us in this weight loss journey because if you try to live outside your comfort zone you may find yourself getting frustrated or even worse – quitting completely.
The scale can be and almost must be a tool that you use in some way during your journey, rather you weigh daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
When examining how to use the scale to your advantage, I wanted to share some statistics with you. According to the National Weight Control Registry, long-term maintainers tend to weigh on a regular basis, with 75 percent of them weighing in at least weekly. Some research studies such as the literature review published in the The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that regular weighing likely helps with weight management.
Although I weigh daily, there are some things that I am aware of that help me avoid frustration with the scale and keep me from allowing the scale to hold sway over me. Here are several things to think about when you stand on the scale and do not see the number you want and/or expect.
Reasons for Scale Fluctuations
1. For women, your monthly cycle can have an impact on the scale. Both ovulation and menstruation can cause the scale to move up even when you know you haven’t eaten out of the ordinary.
2. Bowel irregularities can also cause unexpected gains or losses.
3. Calorie intake. (I had to say this one because if you eat more calories than you need you may see the scale tick up.)
4. Muscle weight. As you build muscle you may see the scale stop moving or inch upward.
5. Not enough calories. If you starve yourself the scale can stop moving because you are putting your body into “starvation” mode.
Now there are other reasons, but these are some of the most common ones that I found when doing some research and from real life experiences of people I know.
In order to use the scale to your advantage during this weight loss process you have to be aware of how your body reacts to excess calories, normal monthly cycles, too much sodium, extra exercise, or other events in your life that impact the scale. Once you know how your body reacts, you can view the scale as a tool to use (with whatever frequency you choose) and not as a sworn enemy.
Ways to Measure Progress When The Scale Doesn’t Cooperate
Even if you weigh every day or every other day, it is important to have other ways to measure your weight loss or weight maintenance progress. Personally, I use the scale as one tool and some of these other techniques as additional tools.
1. How your clothes fit. If your pants that usually fit perfectly suddenly feel tight, it may be an indication that you have put on some weight. Conversely, if they are getting looser than things are likely moving in the right direction.
2. Take pictures of yourself along the way. This is pretty self-explanatory but such a great measurement!
3. Notice how you fit in chairs, through doorways, etc. This was one of my favorite ways as I loved being able to see the edges of chairs or not have to slide into narrow doorways sideways.
4. Take your measurements regularly.
How are you on this subject? Do you use the scale as one of your tools and how else do you measure your progress? Diane
P.S. Jessica G. from the Ricki Lake show asked me to pass on this information to you. If you or someone you know has lost a substantial amount of weight on your own, kept it off for a decent period of time, but still feel fat, she would be interested in hearing your story. Her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org