Do you weigh yourself?
Yearly? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? Multiple times a day?
If you have a body, access to a scale, and/or a desire to take control of your relationship with your body… then this article is for you.
Pros of Weighing Yourself
The scale provides a data point people can use to monitor trends. Are you trying to gain weight, maintain weight, or lose weight? Do your energy levels change with weight change? How is your lean body mass and fat mass changing? (This would require something like a BodPod or InBody measurement instead of a typical scale.) We are able to extract patterns over periods of times with scales and (hopefully) put that data to good use by taking healthy action steps to trend in the direction that best serves the individual and their needs.
Cons of Weighing Yourself
One of the biggest cons of frequent weighing is inconsistent measurements. The human body fluctuates constantly. It can be more beneficial to look at long-term trends in weight change than daily trends. Various factors affect weight fluctuation such as sodium intake, food weight, carb sources, medications, supplements, inflammation, bowel movements, menstruation, exercise, and alcohol.
The scale does not have the answers. It is only a tool meant to help you reflect on one data point. There are other data points to consider when trying to monitor weight. Energy levels, lean body mass, function, goals, body composition, libido, hunger, sleep quality, schedule consistency, and stress all can be useful health indicators if interpreted and understood correctly.
So when should you weigh yourself?
Honest answer: it depends.
What is your function? What are you goals? A professional wrestler cutting weight to be able to compete in a specific weight class has a much different function than a Monday/Wednesday/Friday gym goer who enjoys looking good and feeling like a rockstar. If you’re trying to be mentally acute, live to be 100 years old, and be able to do some cool stuff every now and then (hike with friends, pick up your grandchild, do lawn work without having to take a break every 30 minute),then you may not need to weigh yourself at all. Instead, focus on what foods you’re eating, how you’re feeling, and how you’re sleeping. If you’re a bodybuilder leaning out for a show or a horse jockey who need to be as light as possible for an upcoming race, that’s a little different. Those particular athletes may need to weigh themselves a little more frequently.
The following are real excuses I’ve heard from clients:
EXCUSE: “I weigh myself daily as a way to hold myself accountable to my goals.”
COMEBACK: Make this motivation internal, not external. What factors can you CONTROL that will hold you accountable? Make an accountability sheet for yourself that you can check off at the end of each day. How much water did you drink? How many servings of vegetables did you have? Were you able to spend 5-10 minutes relaxing, clearing your mind, and just breathing? Whatever your goals are, focus on the things you can control - like effort and action - instead of the things outside of your control (like the number on a scale).
EXCUSE: “I need to know my weight to make sure I’m on the right track.”
COMEBACK: This is situational. The general public should have a rough idea of what their weight is, but to measure it constantly may not be the way to stay on track. In fact, learning to listen to your own intuition can be a valuable tool. Cutting down on calories because a scale provided an arbitrary number may not work for your body. Focusing on variety of high quality, whole plant-based foods on the other hand, can be advisable. Are you hungry? Are you full? Are you tired? What foods leave you feeling energetic after a meal and which have you feeling bogged down? You know more about you than anyone or anything (read: scale) will ever know. Learn to listen to YOU!
EXCUSE: “It only takes a couple of seconds and I don’t ‘obsess’ over it…”
COMEBACK: Doing something daily is a habit. Every single thing we do is a habit whether we realize it or not. Each time you decide to ignore taking out the trash and let it pile up, that’s a habit. Every time you pour a cup of coffee in the morning, that is a habit. Weighing yourself is no different. Weighing yourself daily may not seem like an obsession if you believe you have a healthy relationship with your body, but I challenge you to take a little time and self-reflect to see if this habit brings you more joy and change than it does negative emotion. Or, if you have no emotion tied in to the habit of weighing yourself daily, I challenge you to break that habit as it may not be harming OR serving you.
Every day take the 30 seconds it takes to weigh yourself and instead stand, close your eyes, take 1 massive deep breath, hold it while visualizing what you want/ deserve/ have/ are/ become/ whatever, and then let it out (exhale ALL air in your lungs) x 3-5 cycles.
What we put out into the universe is what we get back. The universe doesn't know the difference between humor, self-doubt, lies, confidence, or truth. It only knows the truth we give it. This sounds a little hippy-dippy, but stick with me on it. Even if you aren't telling the world every day "I currently weight X, I have weighed X for this amount of time, and I will probably weight around X tomorrow," the universe still knows.
Your thoughts when you go to weigh yourself are telling you a story whether or not you realize it. The anticipation of what the number will say, the confirmation in your own mind if you were right, the "oh shit" moment if something was different, you get the idea. Break this pattern by cutting back on weighing and instead visualizing and telling yourself a new story.
Example Stories (a.k.a. “Affirmations”)
Repeat these, make up your own, and start writing your own goddamn story.
"I hold on to only what I need and let go of what doesn't serve me."
"I decide how I look and feel."
"My body is perfect for performing every function I need it to."
"I am grateful I have all of the tools and drive to have the body of my dreams."
"I am so thankful I am getting closer to my dream body every day."
"I FREAKING LOVE MY BODY!"
"My body loves me!"
"My body works FOR me."
"I control me."
"I look as powerful as I feel."
"I am one unstoppable, sexy, bad-ass!"
Reminder: The human body is incredible. The human mind is incredible. YOU are incredible.