How often should we weigh ourselves? Is it sometimes better not to?
I came across many opinions about how, when, and why to weigh or not weigh yourself. You should do it monthly, you should do it weekly, or you shouldn’t do it at all because it is just a stupid number and it doesn’t say anything about your worth. Soo… what is it? The answer to that question is once again not universal and I think it depends on the relationship one has with the little tiny number on the weighing scale.
When is it better to not weigh yourself?
If we look at it generally, yes, it is only a number. Usually, it doesn’t say anything about our health, it never determines our worth as a person or how much muscle or fat is actually on your body (even with the smart weighing scales, it is just a very rough estimate). But if you have your emotions connected to how much you weigh, that means that if you are upset, sad, and cry and your day is ruined if you weigh more that day, maybe it is not the best idea to use your weighing scale at all. Your weight will change constantly and even if you are on a weight loss journey, you just won’t simply weigh less every time you step on the scale. That is not how our bodies work, our weight fluctuates.
And also, if you are recovering from some form of restrictive eating disorder, where weighing yourself was one of your controlling everyday rituals and your behavior was determined by the number that day, it is seriously important to dump the scale. At least for the time being. Once you are recovered and are sure that the number won’t cause your spiral back into the disorder, you may consider introducing it again.
How to disconnect emotions from the number on the scale?
If you have a problem with emotional reactions to how much you weigh, disconnecting from that is always easier said than done. But it doesn’t mean that it is not possible. In the past, I was also angry and sad when I stepped on the scale and it showed a higher number than the previous day. But since then I’ve learned a lot about my body. It took me quite a lot of time, but once I got into that journey of getting new knowledge, it was suddenly easier and easier not to connect my self-worth and my mood with the number on the scale.
Now I know that it is impossible to weigh the same every day or weigh less and less day by day if I was trying to lose weight. Now when I step on the scale and I see that I am two pounds heavier than the day before, I just note it down and get on with my day. It is only information for me, nothing more. It is not a sign that I failed the day before or that I am a terrible human being. Or that I look worse or anything like that! It is nothing but a signifier of how much my muscles, water, fat, bones and organs weigh. I am watching these data because I like to know my body and how it reacts to everyday changes and experiences. But it is just one piece of a jigsaw.
If you want to follow your progress, the number on the scale won’t cut it. Your weight is not the only area where you can see progress. What are your measurements? Did you do more reps than last time? How much weight did lifted? How do you feel overall? Can you run faster than the last time? Is your technique better and more stable? Can you talk with yourself with more respect? These and many more similar questions are more often than not wayyy more important than just one number. Why should we observe and judge our progress and wellbeing only by one factor when we have another fifteen of those on the table?!
So, how often to weigh yourself then?
It is up to you, really. Many “professionals” will say that you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily because there are those fluctuations and weighing in weekly or monthly is enough. I personally think that it is better to weigh yourself every day at the same time exactly BECAUSE there are those fluctuations. If you observe how your body works, it is then that much easier to say what is happening with it, you can find the pattern of the fluctuation and later not be surprised if your weight spikes up or falls down.
It is about collecting data. And it is the same as during researches – the more data you have, the more exact the results are going to be. It is not about comparing the numbers day to day, not at all. If you are going to weigh yourself every day, you can actually compare the same days in the month – so the first November with first December, etc. The other points in between will only reveal how your weight fluctuates and that it is normal and no big deal.
If you want to weigh yourself daily and your goal is to lose weight, it is better to start with the collection of data but no judgment. The first month you can weigh yourself and just write it down, without any internal thinking whatsoever. And from that, you can actually build a foundation from which you will later start your comparisons. In the first month, nothing is bad and nothing is good. Because you will see some more significant changes further down the road anyway, so don’t get discouraged and just go with it at least the first month without any evaluations.
It is just a number…
All in all, it is always just a number. I am not saying that you need to know it or keep an eye on it to be able to evaluate your progress. Not at all. But if you don’t have emotional responses connected to your weight, it is a good signifier of your body’s reactions to every day but even long-term changes. And sometimes it can be a good first sign when something is not alright. Even though your weight fluctuates from day to day, if the numbers jump up and down like on the trampoline by six, seven, eight, or more pounds, it is possible that there is some other problem in your body and it can lead to more serious health complications.
Seeing your weight going up and down can help you prevent those problems sooner. So, weighing yourself is not always a bad thing, but it is entirely up to you if it is something that will help you or hurt you, in which case it is better to toss it away.