The Pseudo Science Of Self-Weighing

When you’re trying to lose weight, how often should you weigh yourself?  It’s a timeless question that every dieting person wrestles with.  You want to track how you’re doing, but you view stepping on to the scales with a mixture of anticipation and dread.  Will you receive news of happy progress, or crushing disappointment?

IMG_3037The experts give no clear answer.  The two choices seem to be daily weighing and weekly weighing.  Some say you should weigh yourself every day and then, at the end of the week, average your daily weight and track your progress on a weekly basis; others say weekly weighing, on the same day and at the same time, is the best way to go.  Either way, the expert guidance is full of hedging comments, like noting that your weight naturally fluctuates during the day and observing that your weight might not be the best evidence of dietary success, because you could be replacing jiggling flab with weighty muscle.

Dieter, know thyself!  Discouragement seems to be the greatest enemy of a person who is trying to lose weight.  Dieting isn’t easy; you’re trying to change ingrained habits and not eating what you would like.  If you’ve stuck to your diet but didn’t see any weight loss on the scales yesterday or today, are you going to say what the hell and indulge in a hot fudge sundae? If you’re easily discouraged, why expose yourself to the daily possibility that you’ll be disappointed?

I suppose there are some overweight nerds who would love nothing more than to create spreadsheets with their daily weights and weekly averages, but for normally constituted people weekly weighing seems like the best idea.  Let the accumulated work and sacrifice of seven days show weight loss progress and provide the positive reinforcement that you need to keep going.

And while you’re at it, why not give yourself a break and pick a time when you’re most likely to get happy news from that bathroom scale?  When I started the low-carb approach I resolved to weigh myself once a week, after I played golf on Sunday morning.  Sure, the results reflected water weight loss from lugging my golf bag around on a hot summer day, but what the heck?  It made me feel like I was really making progress, and as long as I was consistent in when I weighed myself, what’s the harm?

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