Does the Scale Help or Hinder Weight Loss? How Often Should You Step on the Scale?

The weight on the scale can provide us with good information from one week to the next, but unfortunately it may not always be helpful.

OverweightThe scale is the one tool that we have easily available on a day-to-day basis that gives us information on how we are doing on achieving our weight loss goals. It was recently brought to my attention, however, the significance of that one step. One day my kids got excited about weighing themselves and wanted to see what their current weight was. It was interesting how even young children can have an opinion about the number that they see with that one step.

How do you feel when you step on the scale? If the number has gone down significantly you will probably feel happy, excited, or rewarded for your hard work. If the scale goes up you may feel sad, angry, worried or guilty. But how about if the scale goes down a little? Do you feel happy, excited and rewarded? Or do you feel disappointed or frustrated?

Your opinion may vary from day to day - based on what the number is, how happy you are feeling, how much sleep you got, or what you have eaten. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to how we feel about our weight. And there are also many reasons why weight may fluctuate. Weight gain when you may be expecting loss will, of course, be frustrating but consider some of the reasons that might happen.

Excess salt intake - may be caused by restaurant eating

Changes in hormones throughout the month
Water retention
When there is a weight change that is very surprising to you consider the reasons that may have occurred. A significant change in one week's time is not coming from an increase in body fat, but the result of a temporary shift.
When trying to lose weight it is important to pay attention to that number. But consider how you feel after you weigh yourself. Do you want to eat and skip your workout because you deserve it after great success? Or do you want to eat and skip your workout because all your efforts seem futile?

So, how often should you step on the scale?

I encourage my clients to weigh themselves about once/week, at the same time of day under similar circumstances. But consider how that one step affects your day. If you find that whatever the number that week you end up on an unhealthy spiral, then consider other ways to track your success.

-How your clothes fit


upper arm
-Habits you have improved
-Eating breakfast every day

-Planning meals for the week

-Exercising consistently

-Cooking instead of eating out

* Tips for taking Your Measurements: Always keep tape parallel to the floor, measure waist 1/2" above the belly button and exhale before measuring, measure the bust across the nipples and chest under the breasts/pecs, measure around the largest part of hips, thighs, calves, upper arm, forearm and neck.

If you are trying to lose weight and you haven't accounted for these other components of success, start today. It will make a difference in your success as well as your happiness.

Lynda Enright

Lynda Enright, MS, RD, CLT is certified as a Wellness Coach and LEAP Therapist who partners with women who want to look and feel amazing by helping them lose weight and reduce inflammation which can cause fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, congestion, brain fog or achy joints.

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