How often do you weigh yourself? Is it a benchmark for your activity & lifestyle decisions? If you are trying to lose weight, no doubt very regularly, you weigh yourself. Looking down at that all important number, if it's high, your heart sinks and if it's low, you feel over the moon.
But, are we looking at the right number?
Many factors influence your weight, it's important to understand what else is going on and how this might affect your weight before we evaluate our performance on one lonely piece of data.
Don't weigh yourself everyday!
Weighing yourself everyday simply does not give you enough data, your weight can fluctuate throughout the day, from day to day depending on many things including hydration levels, menstruation, stress & illness. If you were measuring something important, you would not go on data from one day to the next, you would choose a larger time frame to collect more accurate data. The same is true with your body weight, looking at it from week to week, will give you a clearer more accurate result and your head won't be filled with the useless figures from everyday before hand.
Weigh yourself once a week, at the same time and stick to that, feel free to wear the same thing if you want to or nothing if possible. Just bear in mind if you weigh yourself with clothes on in another environment, such as the gym! you will be heavier!
Are you working out & putting on weight?
If you follow an exercise programme, have a personal trainer, go to the local gym or do anything exercise based, you are training and training affects your weight!
Why? Because resistance based exercise and to some degree also aerobic based exercises and activity act to increase muscle tone and definition leading to an increase in muscle fibres changing the size & shape of worked muscles. It's what "body builders" do, it's their main goal but it also happens to 'average Joe' training at the gym to a lesser degree.
The reason this matters is because muscle weighs twice as much as fat, a little tone and definition will therefore change your weight (yes it could make you heavier)
I always tell my clients not to expect any real difference in weight within the first 6 weeks due to the fat/muscle trade off, once this has settled down you will start to see a reduction in weight however if you have been monitoring body fat percentage or lean body mass also you will likely have seen the positive results of training before this point.
Scales that also take your body fat percentage will give you much more information than just your weight and help you understand why you might be heavier or lighter.
Worrying about that 'number' affects our habits
When you concentrate on your body weight, you subconsciously make decisions which more often than not adversely affect our weight and make the problem worse, which leads to more bad decisions and more weight gain.
If you see that you are heavier, it's likely you'll start to eat less, and less often or cut out a food group to make up for your gain next week! Every one of these things will make you put on weight. When you eat less your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down, the key is to keep it ticking over by eat good health food at regular intervals with healthy snacks.
When you see a good number on the scale, you are lighter you are filled with joy and you want to reward yourself! A cake, some chocolate you have been craving which again is a situation that will lead to weight gain.
This all sounds like a no win deal, it often is and people struggling with weight loss will be facing these problems. My best bit of advice is not to weigh yourself more than once per week and if possible get scales that also take body fat percentage and/or lean body mass.