I’ve seen this advice many times: Do not weigh yourself daily! It will drive you crazy.
I hate to break it to you, but it’s not the scale that’s making you crazy, it’s you.
Disclaimer: I do not think it’s necessary to weigh yourself daily, or ever! Different strokes for different folks, but I do think that it is possible to develop a healthy relationship with your weight fluctuations and not to take that number on the scale so seriously. That’s what I have done. But if you simply can’t or don’t want to do it- don’t! There’s no reason to do something that doesn’t help you in your life.
What can the scale tell us? One thing only: our weight at that moment, and maybe your body fat percentage if you have a fancy one (but keep in mind those are generally pretty unreliable). The scale cannot tell you if you are a good person, if you are trying hard enough, if you’re a winner or a loser, or any other judgment of your character.
All it can tell you is what you weigh in pounds or kg. If you’re human, and especially if you’re female, the number will not remain constant, it will fluctuate. It will go up when you are dehydrated and down when you are hydrated. It will likely go up when you menstruate or ovulate. It will go up the day after a heavy meal (because there is more food matter inside your stomach) and it will go down after you use the bathroom. These are the things that affect our weight on a day to day basis and for this reason, the scale is pretty stupid when it comes to short term data.
So day to day, week to week, it can’t really tell us much about what’s going on with our bodies in terms of fat loss or gain. Those changes happen very slowly. If you see a 1 or more pound drop or gain in 1 day, unless you’ve been utterly gorging yourself on every food in sight – and perhaps even then, it is still meaningless and a fluctuation.
Getting on the scale daily is simple and quick. It’s my ritual check in with myself before I start the day. Yes, I am paying attention. Yes, I am engaged with what’s going on with my body. Yes, I am making good choices. It’s like a daily reminder that I am not going to disengage in this process and end up back where I was.
When I was heavy, I did not want to know my weight. I did my best not think about it. I dreaded the doctors office because they would weigh me. In fact, I barely looked at myself in the mirror, or if I did what I saw did not really register. Then I would see a photograph of myself and think “Goodness, am I really that large?”
When I first started to decide to lose weight, I weighed myself at the gym the first day we went. 287 lb. Well, at least it wasn’t 300- that’s what I thought. Later that night, I proceeded to tell my boyfriend what I weighed. I wanted to get it out there, get it off my chest, demystify it. And he did not seem surprised. Something clicked for me then- I was giving this number a lot of power, but whatever it was I was still me and not knowing the number did not make me any different. I still looked 287 lb whether I knew or not.
So I made it one of my goals to be able to know and state my weight without shame. It’s only a number. I’m a smart girl and I’m stubborn. I’ll be damned if some silly little number is going to hold any power over me!
It didn’t happen overnight. But I started weighing myself every day I went to the gym. Sometimes it elated me and sometimes it pissed me off. Sometimes it made me throw a temper tantrum. But I kept reminding myself and it finally sunk in: no matter what the scale said, I knew if I was doing a good job eating and exercising. It was my actions I should celebrate, not that number.
It’s been more than three years since that day I told my boyfriend my weight and I weigh 120 lb less than then, give or take a few pounds on any given day. Weighing myself daily gives me one data point, not a judgment of my character. I’ve become accustomed to my weight fluctuations and they do not drive me crazy or any other such thing.
Because I decided not to let them.