How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?
How often Should You Weigh Yourself?
Every Publix supermarket in the area has a freight scale in the lobby.
I’ve never seen a man get on it before but every visit I will witness some woman on her way out immediately abandon her cart of groceries right there in the door way and hop on the scale with alacrity and then moments later cringe in fear as the giant needle swings and hovers over a number as she stands there petrified waiting for the needle to stop.
What happens next is always the same for every woman.
When the needle hovers motionless over a number she will still continue to stand there for 2 seconds.
Prayerfully waiting for the needle to somehow magically move in the opposite direction. And like every woman before her, her prayer is never answered.
Wanna guess what else is always the same?
If you said the groceries in her cart then you win a gallon of chocolate mint ice cream and a jumbo bag of Doritos.
It’s kind of like a love-hate thing.
They know they aren’t going to like the results yet time and again they flock back to it with such devotion.
Now the next question someone has to immediately ask is:
Why would this woman be so compelled to hop on the scale if she always hates the results so much?
I’ll tell you why.
But before you understand the “why”, you first have to understand the “when”.
When do you think she’s going to want to weigh herself? After a full day of sticking to her assigned meals or after a gut buster binge?
If you guessed a jail break binge then you just won a dozen boxes of Keebler Cookies!
That’s right, her anticipation is like a kid on Christmas morning eagerly awaiting the aftermath from her previous night’s slop fest.
You see, chronic binge eaters are more compelled to weigh themselves after a horrible binge meal than after a full week of compliant eating.
So the timing of when they want to square up to the scale is the most inopportune time possible.
So now that we’ve identified the “why” and the “when” you don’t exactly need a crystal ball to figure out what’s going to happen next.
Her weight is going to go up.
I had a woman I trained circa 2005 and she was a furious emotional eater and chronic binge eater.
Although she held an executive level position at her job she was single and unfulfilled in life she relied on food for her pleasures.
Not just any food mind you but fatty, sugary, fried garbage washed down with liquor.
And a lot of it.
Every morning she drug herself to the gym for a training session she would say,
Feel free to punish me for my diet over the weekend.
Kick my ass today for eating anything and everything over the holiday.
Then like a masochist she would gladly take her super-sets, and metabolic beat down gasping for air and grimacing in pain as the lactic acid build up reached new heights she gladly accepted her punishment as retribution for the mountain of empty calories she stockpiled away over the weekend.
The scale in the gym was located in a massage room that adjoined to the weight room floor and every day after our training session she would sneak in the room and the result was always the same.
A minute later she would emerge barefoot carrying her shoes & socks and hanging her head in shame like a dog caught going through trash.
She picked the worst possible time to weigh herself and knew good and well what the result would be every time, then beat herself up about it until that day at work when she would grab a handful of caramelized mixed nuts in the break room and the process repeated its self all over again.
Wash rinse repeat.
The weird, but true thing about this behavior is that,
the more she weighed herself, the more she would weigh.
Which brings us to my Law of Leanness #2;
The more you weigh yourself, the more you will weigh.
There’s one thing that owns the mind of chronic dieters and hungry housewives.
It’s the scale.
And the key to surviving the scale is knowing how and when you use it.
Rule #1: Never weigh daily or weekly.
Rule #2: Only weigh yourself monthly before you fill out your progress chart.
Reason #1: Because when you weigh daily or weekly you take the monthly progress out of the equation.
Had an antsy newbie who couldn’t keep her twinkle toes off the scale for more than a couple days at a time. After her first week she was down 10 lbs. (let it be noted she weighed over 250)
Week 2 & 3 she lost 0 on the scale and week 4 she lost 1/2 pound.
After eating more nutritious whole food than she’d eaten her entire life over the last month dropping ten and a help pounds was a stunning victory.
Especially since the scale hadn’t budged in almost a year.
Instead of overflowing with joy after her remarkable success the first month she had a much different reaction.
I feel like such a loser!
I only lost half a pound in 3 weeks! I’ll never lose all this weight.
I guess she bumped her head on her cupboard and caught a case of amnesia because that first week seemed to slip her mind.
Instead of focusing on a victorious 10.5 lbs, of weight loss in the first month; like most dieters all she focused on was the time frame when the least amount of weight was lost.
This is why when you weigh weekly it can be an emotional death blow to your confidence.
By doing so you’ve just taken the MONTHLY progress totally out of the equation in your own mind.
In the fat loss game, in order to gauge progress accurately and ensure long term success you must only weigh yourself monthly.
It is not profitable in any way, shape or form to weigh yourself weekly and based on the experiences above can play pernicious mind games with your self-confidence.
Because the first sign of plateau and your feeble confidence level is going to want to throw a pity party with a cupcake.
Reason #2: One week isn’t enough time to facilitate healthy, consistent fat loss.
Now combine this with the fact that your first 8 days on your eating program are going to produce the most profound results; then add the fact that a newbie on a new diet has the patience of a 5th grader with attention deficit disorder, it doesn’t take a shrink to see how the unrealistic expectations can compound, square & cube when they lose a fist full of pounds in their first week.
“I don’t get it, why would someone lose so much their first week but not the rest of the month?”
Well, like anything else in life, when you finally do something correctly that you’ve been doing pitifully wrong ever since you were in pampers your body is going have an immediate positive reaction.
Most of the time.
But the dirty little twist to that reality is that your body will soon hit a plateau.
Maybe next week.
Maybe next month.
But it will definitely happen and you can take that to the bank…
or should I say the fridge.
Now when a foppish foodie sees such profound results early-on, she’s going to expect it every single time that she steps on the scale.
So the weekly weigh-in will soon turn into every other day weigh-ins, then every day and then double-day weigh-ins and then multiple day weigh-ins.
In some cases even before and after each meal.
And what do you think will happen when the scale bounces up a pound?
I’ll tell you what will happen.
Instead of focusing on her food which led to her initial success, she abandons ship and shifts all her focus to the scale.
And an all-out tug-of-war will ensue.
It starts out weighing after every meal, every bathroom visit, every workout, every glass of water, before bed, when she wakes up.
You're up, you're down and back up again.
Your entire success hinges on what the scale says.
It owns you.
This is why you must always...
Focus on Food, Not the Scale.
There’s also another common scenario that can unfold after early success on your program.
In fact it’s probably the most common scenario of all.
Had a working woman from a big city sign up last year and at the two week mark she caved in and jumped on the scale and to her delight she was down six pounds!
Eating more food than ever, gone were the hunger pangs and hour long cardio sessions so you can imagine her delight when she dropped a quick six without all the fruitless pain & suffering that usually comes with the territory.
Now what do you think her response was?
Was it to buckle down and pack all her upcoming meals with a renewed zest?
She immediately decided a little victory party was in order to celebrate with her cronies at a girls night out full of cocktails and dinner.
She didn’t bother to pack all her meals the next day and opted to grab a handful of nuts and yogurt cup in lieu of her 2nd and 3rd meals.
After all if I can lose six pounds in my first 2 weeks how hard can it be to lose six more just by hopping back on the program?
And just like the millions of naive women before her she fell victim to the most important rule of all when it comes to program compliance.
It’s not the physical part of getting back on your program after you fall off track, it’s the mental and emotional part that makes it so tough.
Remember a minute ago when I explained how it’s just a matter of time until your body hits a stubborn plateau?
Well you just did!
Now combine that with the mental aspect of trying to get back on track after a cheat meal,
and your stubborn plateau of fat loss resistance that just ambushed you,
and you can kiss your progress good bye.
Your fat burning process was humming along smoothly while you’re primitive fat hoarding genetics were reeling just looking for any opportunity to bring your adipose incineration to a screeching halt.
And you just gave it the only chance it needed.
Bu bu but I don't understand?
Look, the human body is an extremely adaptive organism.
And it doesn’t want to let go of its precious stores of body fat.
You had your boot to the throat, so to speak, ready to put the pedal to the metal and accelerate your results into the next month.
Can you get back on track and reignite your fat burning success?
Sure you can.
But what you failed to realize is that your results are going to be much slower this time around.
But that’s not the biggest challenge
Your mental aspect is.
Wanna know why?
Because cheating on your program is progressive.
It’s very easy for one little mistake to lead to another.
In other words,
once you let go of the wheel it’s very difficult to re-gain control.
This is why you’ve always got to have the attitude, especially early on, that no matter what happened the last meal, you can always eat the next meal like it’s the most important meal of your life.
Not only does this take physical discipline but you guessed it, mental & emotional discipline as well.
And it all starts by knowing when to step on the scale.
Or else the scale will step all over you.