By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
What kind of relationship do you have with the scale? Is it a trusted friend who helps you stay on track? Do you avoid it at all costs because the reading can make or break your mood…and your motivation? Or do you fall somewhere in between?
There has been some debate over the value of regular weigh-ins when it comes to weight loss. Some research suggests that regularly stepping on the scale—weekly, or even daily—can help you stay on track. That’s because it can be motivating to watch the numbers drop, and it’s easier to catch small gains and prevent them from becoming bigger gains when you’re tracking your weight on a consistent basis.
However, there is a downside to the scale. For some people, those numbers tend to have too much power. A bad reading often translates to a bad mood: If you don’t lose as much as you expected to, or worse, you put on a pound or two, you may feel defeated and be tempted to go off track.
The truth is weight loss is rarely consistent or linear. A good week of eating and exercising doesn’t guarantee weight loss. Not to mention, our weight normally fluctuates daily. Diet, medications or your menstrual cycle can affect the reading on the scale, which you may have never even noticed had you not been stepping on the scale so often.
I recommend avoiding the scale when you first start a weight loss program, for at least a month or so, to give your body time to adjust to your new routine. (You’ll know it’s working if your pants start to feel a little roomier.) After that, it’s fine to check in on your weight from time to time, as long as you’re aware that the scale is just one way to gauge success. Other important health numbers, like blood pressure and cholesterol, and other non-numerical measures of success beyond the scale, including energy level, mood and sleep, can also help you measure your progress.
If you are going to be weighing in regularly, be sure to use the same scale and weigh on the same day and time so you get a consistent reading. Click here for more smart scale strategies.