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Hammer Fitness Blog

Why You Should Ditch Weighing Yourself Daily

bathroom scale

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Nothing will halt your fitness efforts faster than a toxic relationship with the bathroom scale.  This is why you should ditch weighing yourself daily.

 If your morning routine includes a daily weigh-in, the results of stepping on the scale should have no effect on your psyche!  This negative relationship between you and the scale was likely forged long before you could make the connection between your measurement of weight as either good or bad.

Knowing your weight at birth was important because it is was a benchmark, something to compare at your monthly/yearly wellness visits.  The doctor weighed you and then gave mom or dad a thumbs up or down depending upon where you were in relation to other babies and children your age.   Parents routinely like to brag that little Johnny is in the 95% percentile, meaning that out of 100 kids, only 5 would weigh more.

How many adults do you know are weighing themselves and proudly reporting their weight and percentile, especially if they do happen to be in the 95%?  And so sets the stage for a relationship that creates confusion, anxiety and pride every time you step on that scale.

Why the Scale is Not Accurate

The habit of weighing yourself daily is not unhealthy per se.  In fact, people who have successfully lost large amounts of weight say that the habit of daily weighing helps to keep them accountable for keeping the excess pounds off.  So when does this habit become harmful?

It’s time to break up with daily weighing if you are looking for accuracy and/or the results create and contribute to anxiety.

Women report feeling bad about themselves if after weighing themselves the number they see is not what they were expecting.   Trainers and fitness-advisors further cement this toxic relationship by making judgements on what they see.  Men are high-fived for seeing that digital number roll higher, where most women are told they may have to work harder or eat less.

Your weight is the amount or quantity of your mass.  Your mass is the sum of your bones, organs, blood, water, fat (essential and non-essential), and muscle.  Enter BMI as a better alternative, but is it?

Body Mass Index – which was first introduced in 1830 by a Belgian mathematician, not a physician, named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet.  This easy formula gave the government a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the population which then allowed the government to allocate the appropriate resources.

The problem with BMI is that it doesn’t take into consideration your body composition.  Knowledgeable Fitness Coaches long adopted using body composition as a better measurement of how “healthy” a person is.  The reason being, BMI may have you in an unhealthy category if you have large amounts of muscle but not a lot of height.  Conversely, you could have a “normal” weight for your height and therefore your BMI is considered healthy.

But we know this to be untrue as well.  Think of people you know that are TOFI – thin on the outside but fat on the inside.  This is where body composition would give a clearer and more accurate picture.

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?

It’s perfectly fine to weigh yourself if you are tracking your progress towards a goal but even then we have some suggestions to minimize any anxiety or confusion that the number may cause.

Only weigh yourself no more than once a week.  You don’t even have to do that often.  If you go for regular physicals, then you can weigh yourself at your healthcare provider.  Based on the results of that number, you will know if you need to make an adjustment to your current lifestyle.

When Should You Weigh Yourself?

If you are tracking keep it to the same time of the day regardless of the frequency.  We suggest first thing in the morning, preferably after your first visit to the washroom and before you have had anything to eat or drink.

If you don’t own a scale and you usually do it at the gym, then aim for the same time of day each time.

Consistency is Key

Weigh yourself the same way every time.  This means if you are naked and shoeless the first time, all subsequent weigh-ins should be done the exact same way.

If you are committed to your progress, then ensure you are consistent with the same time of day (weight can fluctuate 3 to 7 lbs over the course of a day), naked or clothed, pre or post washroom break.  If your option is to only weigh yourself at the gym, it is best to weigh yourself before your workout.  Drinking water or excessive sweating will further reduce the accuracy of your weight.

Sometimes progress is realizing that your weight on the scale is irrelevant to your goals. Take a break if you find the results demotivating or having a negative effect on your mental health.

Your scale breaks and not sure if you should replace it?  Perhaps we can save you some money and get you to finally ditch the scale for good!

You’re Losing Inches But Not Weight

It’s possible to become thinner without losing weight or very much.  This is why body composition is so important.  If you are engaging in an effective resistance training program, it is possible to gain muscle while losing body fat.  Going up a pound in muscle and down a pound in body fat will show a zero +/- on the scale.  People like to argue this point but it’s true.  Knowing the difference between losing body fat and losing weight is important not only for your progress but for your motivation to keep pushing.

5 to Track Progress Without the Scale

  • Take measurements around your chest, waist, hips, thighs, and arms if these are the areas that you want to see progress. Ensure you measure accurately and in the exact same spot every time and then record the numbers.  Not one for numbers and tracking?  If losing body fat is your goal or fitting back into your clothes, dig deep into the back of your closet and pull out those favourite jeans that have not graced your hips in months!

 

  • Pay attention to your daily bio-feedback.  When first beginning an exercise program, results can be sporadic.  However, most people report intangible benefits fairly quickly such as more energy, better sleeps and happier moods.

 

  • Pay attention to your strength, endurance and heart rate recovery.  Remember when you were out of breath just walking up two flights of stairs?  Now you are routinely taking two at a time and do not need a minute to catch your breath!  Have you increased your weights or reps or sets?  When doing cardio or higher intensity circuits have you been able to reduce your rest time in between sets or intervals?  These are excellent markers that your current routine is working!

 

  • Has your health improved?  You are eating healthier and no longer crave fatty foods. Perhaps you notice you aren’t feeling as stressed as before, blood pressure has lowered or maybe your resting heart rate has decreased.  A scale will not show these improvements but these are essential to overall optimum health.

 

  • Your overall well-being has improved.  You may not be finished with your changes to your body but you are reporting feeling more confident and generally experiencing better self-esteem.