How often should we weigh ourselves and is it necessarily the best indicator of how healthy we are?
Having worked with many hundreds of weight loss clients I have witnessed the full range of human emotions at the weighing scales.
Do any of these resonate with you?
“Wow, I’ve lost more than I thought – all that hard work has paid off and I deserve a reward. I’ll have that chocolate bar I’ve been resisting all week”
“What? Is that all? I’ve worked so hard I can’t believe I’ve only lost that! What’s the point in carrying on? I’ve denied myself all week and for what? I might as well have that chocolate bar I’ve been resisting all week – in fact I’ll have two”
“How can the scales have stayed the same? I’ve been really good this week, honestly. There must be something wrong with the diet/scales. If I haven’t lost anything next week I’m giving up”
A recent study published by The Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behaviour has shown that while weighing can be a useful tool to help adults manage their weight it can have negative psychological outcomes for adolescents and young adults. The study found that increases in weighing can be significantly related to increases in weight concern and depression and decreases in body satisfaction and self esteem.
You can read the full article here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-11/ehs-smb110315.php
I think we’ve been conditioned to believe that a number on the scales or the label on an item of clothing is all that we need to make us happy. Is this true? Ask yourself how you have felt when a size in one store fits perfectly but is too small in another store? The difference may be as much as 2 sizes. All that tells us is that manufacturers have different standards but the impact on our psychological well being can be very negative indeed.
So, what is the answer?
Look for other ways to measure how we are. Our clothes are the best indicator of all. If you find that your clothes are getting tight, do you need the scales to confirm what you already know?
I have met clients who believe that the only thing keeping them on track is weighing themselves every day. If it works then I am happy for them but if I’m honest, it feels like a prison sentence to me. My most successful weight management happens when I don’t weigh myself.
How about you?