As a trainer with over 16 years' experience working with clients, I'm not adverse to the scales and can certainly understand weighing in as an accountability check on your quest to lose weight. However, if you start getting caught up in the numbers it may be time to ask yourself . . . "Is this helping me or holding me back?"
If we fixate and become obsessed we can find ourselves jumping on the scales every day or worse, multiple times per day. When this fixation with our weight begins to take us over, it can determine our mood and our motivation. If we're not careful, what started as a healthy pursuit can soon become an unhealthy obsession.
It can be completely normal for our weight to fluctuate 0.5-2kg per day (crazy, I know!) due to differences in sodium and carbohydrate intake, fluid retention, training, dehydration and so on. We also know that when you weigh in you are looking for an immediate loss, instant gratification or confirmation that the workout you did 30 minutes ago has already worked (wouldn't that be nice?!).
With so many variables affecting the result, you are not giving your brain accurate information. This incorrect information can confuse you, deflate you and affect future behaviour when you could actually have been doing the right thing and be heading in the right direction.
The scales can indeed be reflective of your training and nutrition though, as well as help you to stay on track if used wisely. Here are my top tips to ensure this is the case:
- Do not weigh in more than once every 14 days. In fact, if you can push it out to every 28 days that would be ideal.
- Always weigh yourself at the same time of day. First thing in the morning before you've had anything to eat or drink is best.
- Always use the same set of scales.
- Always weigh yourself before you train, not after.
- Wear the same clothes and keep your shoes off.
- Weigh in on a Sunday night or Monday morning to keep you accountable on the weekends (this way you can't hide from that bottle of wine or late night Macca's run!).
But remember — weighing in is not for everyone. If you simply cannot have a healthy relationship with the scales and it affects the love you have for your body, ditch it! Focus instead on how you feel, how your clothes fit and embrace the process one day at a time.