How often are you currently stepping on the scale? What is your motive for doing so?
At times, people tend to develop this sense of attachment to the scale weight number. Whether it’s because the number provides a measure for self-value, or maybe because seeing progress is limited by this one and only measure. So here’s a little insight on how often you might want to step on the scale.
Use your scale weight as one simple, objective measure of your body’s force against gravity. Typically our doctors, or trainers may use this measure to help make recommendations on health. For example, doctors may use “BMI” or body mass index in order to assess the proportion of your height-to-weight ratio, and whether it is considered “healthy”. However, BMI does not account for body composition variance such as what weight is considered lean body mass, fat mass, or water mass.
Tracking your weight 1-2 times per week can demonstrate patterns within your body, but typically not drastic changes. Seeing the scale weight fluctuate is a normal reaction to your body’s reaction to its day to day activities. From sleeping, eating, exercising, or simply fulfilling daily tasks, or reacting to stress–all of these can cause fluctuations to your weight within the same day, or over the course of a few days. For example, lack of sleep may cause a temporary weight gain, or dehydration can cause temporary weight loss.
Tracking your weight over the course of a few months can demonstrate more significant changes. After tracking 1-2 scale weight measures each week for 12+ weeks, you may be able to determine if there has been notable weight maintenance, loss or gain. Typically this would happen if there have been consistent habit changes such as way of eating, level of physical activity, stress management or other habits.
Taking a break from stepping on your scale can be useful. There’s no reason to have to be obligated to stepping on the scale every single day, or even every week if your healthy habits have been established, and you are feeling healthy, strong and other physiological responses in your body are able to give you a reading on your well-being as well. For example, if you are eating mainly whole foods regularly, getting quality sleep each night and are getting physical exercise in at least a few times a week at a healthy weight can give us a little bit of space and time away from the scale weight.
If you’re not an athlete in a sport that incorporates weight classes in competition, or if you’re currently in a healthy range for your height and age, you may want to consider other ways to measure your health and fitness aside from just the scale weight. Consider taking progress pictures, tape measurements, evaluating how you feel when you wear your clothes, your ability to fulfill daily tasks such as walking from the car to the door. You will be surprised as to how much you learn about your overall health when you start incorporating other measures than just the number on the scale!