The All-Important Weigh-In. How often should we do it? Weekly? Daily?

Allowing your week to revolve around one event generally isn’t a good idea. If that one event turns sour, so does your week. When you are on a diet, your weigh-in can become that one event. If your diet is important to you, then your weigh-in will also be very important to you. A weigh-in will give you “thumbs up,” “thumbs down” or “hanging on”; it is your weekly progress report.

People feel elated when they get a “thumbs up,” and dejected when they get a “thumbs down.” Sometimes those feelings last until the next weigh-in, which would either confirm the feeling or change it. Please don’t make it this way for you. The weigh-in gives you feedback, and feedback is extremely important. Treat it as information but stay off the emotional roller coaster.

How should you prepare yourself mentally just before you step on the scale? You need to put the number you see on the scale into perspective. It is a momentary measurement of your body weight, and not a commentary on your character or self-worth. The weight reflects your current body composition, which we decompose into lean body mass (muscles and bones), fat mass, and water. When we experience a large weight change from day to day the most likely reason is a change in the amount of water in your body. Most people do know that their fat and fat-free mass can’t change dramatically from day to day (or morning to night) and understand that rapid change on the scale is due to losing or gaining water weight, and yet when they get on the scale and they see the number change, all the logic is out the window, and the reaction is emotional. They are elated when the weight goes down and crushed when it goes up… In anticipation of this judgement (“Success” vs. “Failure”), people feel a lot of stress before getting on the scale. The scale “is not my friend,” they say. Part of the process of achieving better long-term weight control is finding a way to improve the “relationship” with the scale.

In the past, there may have been times when you knew you would have a “great” weigh-in. The night before weighing yourself, you lay in bed, wanting to fall asleep as fast as possible so that the next day would arrive sooner. You couldn’t wait to get on that scale, much like a child who knows he’s going to get a good report card in school. You happily marked down that weight loss and glowed with pride. Your confidence rose on such days.

 

The process of getting on the scale can, in of itself, be a complicated ritual. Some try to get on the scale as lightly as possible rather than jumping on. Others do it delicately with both hands pushing off slowly raising their right foot onto the scale while the hands are still responsible for cheating the scale reading by 30 pounds.

If they gain a pound, they usually weigh themselves again, even if they always get the same result. If they lost some weight, they do not usually weigh themselves again. The thinking being that the second weighing might be higher. Why not leave a good thing alone?

Many times, before the weigh-in, people starve themselves for a few hours or a day wanting to achieve the best weigh-in result. But then what happens after the weigh-in?  They might just go and celebrate their success or sooth their disappointment with too much food. They may figure that they can do this since they don’t have to weigh-in for another seven days.

At Zero Excuse GO, we encourage our patients to weigh themselves on a daily basis during the period of weight loss. Of course, we are aware that daily fluctuations (water shifts, discussed earlier) are likely. We know how stressful getting on the scale can be. We realize that our patients would like to avoid the scale as much as possible. It is for all of these reasons that we ask them to face the dragon, in order to bring it down to size. We want them to reach the point that the daily weigh-in is just another part of their routine, merely a source of information and a reminder to stay conscious today. Losing a substantial amount of weight, like 60 or 100 pounds, is a rather long journey. The ultimate success depends on the sum of all the little steps that our patients take on a daily basis to change their lifestyle.

We, at Zero Excuse GO, take a realistic and pragmatic approach. We encourage our patients to know where they stand each and every day of their journey. Getting on the scale every morning is a reminder of their engagement and commitment towards themselves. It is a moment to reflect on what they need to do that day. It is also a reality check that allows them to become more conscious of the consequences of their “sub-optimal” decisions, when they eat too much at a restaurant or party, for example.

By stepping on that scale patients become accountable to themselves and to their professional team supporting them at Zero Excuse GO.

So, if you have a substantial amount of weight to lose, consider ditching the weekly weigh-in and start weighing yourself daily while you are following a weight loss program. Once you have reached your target weight, you can progressively space out your weigh-ins to eventually weigh yourself only once a week as long as you are able to maintain your target weight.

Zero Excuse GO is a comprehensive approach to weight control that can help you understand the causes of your weight struggle and to develop effective strategies to achieve your health and lifestyle goals. Our program combines an expert multidisciplinary team with innovative technology that keeps us connected daily, so we can help you be your best self. Monitoring your weight as well as your activities on a daily basis is a key part of the program. If you’re looking for the optimal help and support throughout your weight loss journey, do not hesitate to contact us at Zero Excuse GO.

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