Earlier, I showed you just how much your weight can fluctuate on a day-to-day basis with my little experiment. However, the scale isn’t completely useless; now that we are aware of the factors that can skew with your weight, we can do our best to reduce their effect.
This post is part of a 3-post series about weight fluctuations:
- Daily Weight Fluctuations Experiment
- What Causes Daily Weight Fluctuations?
- 12 Tips for a Better Weigh-In
Today I’ll give you 12 tips for a better weigh in. Let’s get going, shall we 🙂
As mentioned earlier, water is the big culprit when it comes weight fluctuations. The scale can’t measure how much your organs, muscle, water or fat stores each weighs – only the total. If you were trying to lose weight in an ideal world, you would be able to keep everything except the amount of fat you carry at a stable level. That way, the amount of weight lost would be the same as fat lost. If you were trying to gain weight, the same would apply to muscle mass. In this world, however, biology is not that simple, but the following tips can help you get closer to using the scale the right way.
1. SCHEDULE YOUR WEIGH INS
You shouldn’t weigh yourself more than once a week, less often is fine as well. If you have a treat/cheat day once a week, that day or the day before is the best day to pick. Otherwise, if you like me are more likely to go out with friends or family, and eat a bit less healthy or more than usual on weekends, Thursday or Friday is a good choice. Why? Both reason #1, #6 and #7 apply here.
2. WEIGH YOURSELF FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
Weigh yourself before you eat, drink or workout, and after you’ve gone to the toilet (and put on your glasses first – I look so silly when I squint at the number at my feet because I forgot).
3. BE NAKED (AW YEAH!)
Be naked. Or your underwear. Or a giant dino-onesie – it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re consistent with what you do.
4. DRINK WATER
Make sure you drink enough water to prevent additional water retention, as the less water you drink, the more your body will cling to what it has.
5. DON’T WEIGH YOURSELF THE DAY AFTER A KILLER WORKOUT
6. GRAPH YOUR WEIGHT
It doesn’t matter if your weight went a little the wrong way this week, if the overall trend tells you differently. Always look at the big picture. Use excel, an app or just a piece of paper to give some perspective.
7. DON’T WEIGH YOURSELF ON YOUR PERIOD
Or at least be aware of the fact that the hormones involved in your menstrual cycle can cause temporary water retention.
8. DON’T WEIGH YOURSELF THE DAY AFTER A BINGE
Again, it’s just water weight – but seeing the number on the scale might make you feel bad (even though you shouldn’t!!)
9. DON’T LET THE SCALE BE THE ONLY WAY YOU MEASURE PROGRESS
Change in clothing sizes, feeling better, getting stronger, feeling happier – all these, and so many others are signs of progress. Just throw away your scale entirely if it’s overshadowing all the good progress you’re making.
10. USE THE SAME SCALE EVERY TIME
Different scales can give different results – even if you use them right after each other. To be safe, try to use only one scale.
11. WEIGH YOURSELF ON ~ROUGHLY~THE SAME PLACE ON EARTH
Fun fact: The Earth isn’t a perfect sphere. Because your weight is just the force of gravity on you, and the force of gravity depends on your distance to the center of earth, you can weigh up to 0.5% more or less, depending on where you are on the earth (it’s also because the earth is spinning). To show this, scientists send a garden gnome called Kern around the world so he could be weighed – see metro.co.uk’s article about Kern here. I suppose this isn’t relevant for most of you, but it’s still interesting.
12. DON’T LET IT BECOME AN OBSESSION
This sentence applies to everything you do. Obsessions never bring any good. If you find yourself stepping up on the scale multiple times a day, or after you have eaten a bit too much, it’s just torture. Admitted, I did weigh myself multiple times a day – but that was for
science fun. Don’t let a number control how you feel. If you can’t step on the scale and see how much you weigh without it affecting your mood and self-esteem, don’t step up at all.
Oprah Winfrey has said she never uses a scale, because it sabotages her progress. If she sees her weight has gone up, she loses motivation and can’t bother to work hard. On the other hand, if her weight has gone down, she sees it as a sign that she can take it easy, and ends up eating too much. Therefore, she uses how her clothes fit as an indicator of her progress.
The scale is not always bad tool, but use it wisely – if weighing yourself doesn’t help you, but only makes you feel bad about yourself, then you’re better off without it.
What’s your weigh-in strategy? Let me know in the comments!