How to have a healthy relationship with the scale.

Let’s face it, the numbers on the scale can make or break your day. If the number is lower since your last weigh-in, you’re thrilled. If the number hasn’t budged or, even worse, has increased, there could be a dark cloud over the rest of your day.

But the scale can be an effective tool for tracking your weight loss results, if you understand the following: a woman’s weight can fluctuate anywhere from two to five pounds on any given day. Hormones, water retention, carb and sodium intake are just a few of the culprits.

So with that caveat in mind, ultimately, it all comes down to a plan. Just like planning your meals and workouts in advance are two major contributors to weight loss success, the same approach can be applied to your weigh-ins.

First things first – decide on the frequency of your weigh-ins. Monthly, bi-monthly and weekly are all acceptable. Really, it’s whatever works with your routine. And contrary to what you may think, there’s nothing wrong with weighing yourself once a day. In fact, a recent study reported that participants who weighed themselves once a day during a six-month trial actually lost an average of 13 more pounds than those who weighed themselves less frequently.

Once you’ve decided your timeline, follow these tips, and you and the scale will become a perfect pair.

1. Time of day

If you want to weigh yourself as soon as you get out of bed, no problem. Or perhaps you prefer it to end your week, Sunday evening just before bed. Again, it’s all up to your schedule. Just don’t veer from the pattern.

2. Always use the same scale

Maybe you like the scale at the gym or the one at your mom’s house you’ve been using since high school. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s your one and only.

3. Wear the same outfit

Naked out of the shower, in your gym gear or in your business casual work attire – it doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as it’s the same each time.

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