Motivation Articles

4 Signs It's Time to Step Off the Scale

Does Weight Weigh Heavily on Your Mind?

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It cannot talk yet it speaks to you. Some days it makes you giddy with delight. Other days it puts you into a deep depression. It judges you on a superficial level. The thought of it is enough to worry even the most optimistic person. What am I talking about? The notorious bathroom scale.

What is with this obsession we have with the scale? For most people, the scale can be an adversary or an ally, depending on the day. We often hate what it says or argue with it, but we still feel the desire to use it. When used properly and taken for what it is, it can actually be a very useful tool for weight management. But for many, the scale does more than measure the total weight of all your various parts. It somehow defines who you are as a person. And sadly, it can determine your own self-worth. We read way too much into this single-purposed tool.

Here are four signs that you might put too much weight on weighing in:

1. You constantly worry about weighing in.
When you're trying to lose weight, it's normal to experience some hesitation when it's time for your weekly weigh in. After all, you want to see the numbers go down as confirmation that all of your hard work has paid off. We all want to be rewarded for our efforts, and it can be discouraging when you have done everything right and things still don’t pan out. However, if you find yourself preoccupied with worrisome thoughts of what the scale is going to say tomorrow or the next day, then you might be a little too obsessed with the scale.

2. You weigh in more than once per day.
SparkPeople recommends weighing in once a week (or even less). Ever wonder why it's not a good idea to do it more often? Your body weight can and will fluctuate from day to day, and change throughout a single day, too. There is no sense in putting yourself on that roller coaster of ups and downs. In the war on weight, if you become so concerned that you weigh yourself daily or several times a day, you are fighting a losing battle and you will be discouraged. If you feel like you can't control yourself or stop yourself from weighing in each day, then you could be headed for trouble.

3. You can recite your weight to the nearest fraction at all times.
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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • BOBG01
    It is because of the fluctuations that I weigh myself every day. I used to only weigh myself first thing Monday moring. Then one Sunday I went to a picnic and lost control. I binged and drank a bunch of beers. On Monday morning I weighed myself and the scale said I gained four pounds. Well the device has yet to be invented that could measure the amount of self loathing I felt at that instant. I am a grown man and I wanted to break down and cry. I worked very hard all week, even keeping my calories at the bottom of my range for most of the week. I exceeded my exercise goals. I even ate before the picnic so as not to binge, and yet I binged, and now six days of hard work were down the drain with a four pound weight loss.

    I tried to do damage control and estimate to the best of my ability how many calories I had consumed on Sunday. To my best estimate, I went over my calories for the day by a whopping 2600 calories. I also reminded myself that I ate at the bottom of my range on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Worst case scenario, I should have gained a pound at most, but more likely, not lost anything. To have gained four pounds I would have needed to eat 14,000 calories over my range. So I tried not to let it bother me. When Tuesday morning came around I weighed myself again and I was back to where I had been the previous Monday. No loss is certainly better than a gain, and it was as I expected, I hadn't gained four pounds it was impossible. Also, I hadn't lost four pounds in a single day, that's impossible too. So when Wednesday came around I weighed myself again. I was thrilled to see that I was now a pound less than the previous week. Imagine if I had only weighed myself on Monday? Sure I would be thrilled to following Monday to see that I lost five pounds, but I would have spent an entire week of agonizing, putting myself down, and generally feeling depressed-OVER ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. On Sunday I overate salty foods and washed it down with six beers. That extra weight was all that stuff inside my body, NOT fat.... - 8/27/2014 3:08:36 PM
  • I'm completely siding with the daily weigh-in folks. I completely understand the physiology of daily weight fluctuations, but if I weighed in weekly and got an unpleasant result I would never know if it were a fluke or not--maybe it's even a low number and my trended weight would be even higher! I'm not bothered by the day to day changes, in fact, I expect a gain after a big loss just because that's the pattern my body follows. Slightly down, slightly down, slightly down, large drop, moderate to large gain, then the pattern begins again. My trend line, however, is aggressively down and that's all that matters. Daily weighing gives one a great sense of our natural rhythms. Sometimes my best weigh-ins are after meals I expect to tip the scales! - 8/27/2014 12:17:18 PM
  • I think it just depends on what works for you. I actually weigh myself at least once a day to prevent myself from going crazy! If I see my weight go up two pounds in 24 hours, I pretty much know that it's either water weight or an inaccuracy in the scale. If I only weighed myself once a week and saw my weight go up two pounds, I'd probably panic. I've actually found that the more I weigh myself, the more little changes to the number on the scale are rendered meaningless. - 8/27/2014 1:38:42 AM
  • I very much disagree on weighing only weekly, unless someone has a truly negative "relationship" with it as described in this article. Knowledge is power. How often do I see people on the forums panicking because they "haven't lost weight in two weeks", when for all they know they actually did, just keep gaining meaningless water weight the day before weigh-in because that's their one day a week to have pizza? When you weigh daily, the trends are so much easier to see, and any temporary panic over a gain is almost always dispelled within days when the scale goes down a bunch all at once. When you weigh only weekly, you are unlikely to have any true idea of what's going on, potentially for weeks at a time.

    IMO if scale watching is too stressful for a person, they should weigh not weekly, but only once a *month* (for a woman, at the same point in her menstrual cycle. I've seen one week after onset of her period suggested, and that makes sense to me). Monthly is usually enough time for those meaningless fluctuations to even out, such that even if you get the worst possible combination of water weights from one month to the next, you'll likely still see some loss (if you had any). Weekly is the worst of both worlds.

    Finally -- for maintenance, I believe that frequent weighing is vital. Most successful maintainers do it, and closer to daily than to weekly. There's no better way to prevent a one pound gain from turning into a five pound gain from turning into "oh I give up". - 6/16/2014 9:59:22 AM
  • Your right. You sometimes have to see other changes that are taking place like your measurements and the way you are thinking. My attitude has got a lot better since I don't stress over weighing. That is just one of the tools that we use for progress. - 6/15/2014 6:40:53 PM
  • Ignoring the scale is how I gained the weight in the first place, I won't make that mistake again. I credit my 4+ years of maintenance to my daily morning weigh in. It doesn't affect my mood. It keeps me honest. - 6/15/2014 4:50:37 PM
  • A few months ago, I had to ditch the scales. They were driving me crazy. I started counting my points. that showed that I was drinking the water, tracking my food and reading the articles. I set a goal of 3000 points a month. I am into my 3rd month and doing fine. Have I lost weight. I don't know! It's okay. I feel good and I am staying on the journey to a healthy lifestyle, not on a diet. - 6/15/2014 4:04:53 PM
  • Now that I'm in maintenance for the most part, I weigh myself at least once a week because it can get away from you if you're not vigilant. - 6/15/2014 12:25:38 PM
  • LAURADIONJONES
    Use your daily morning weight as MOTIVATION, nothing else. Motivation to do your daily cardio and not eat withe starch and sugar carb crap - nothing else matters in weight loss. Get 'er done. - 6/15/2014 9:26:51 AM
  • LAURADIONJONES
    Use your daily morning weight as MOTIVATION, nothing else. Motivation to do your daily cardio and not eat withe starch and sugar carb crap - nothing else matters in weight loss. Get 'er done. - 6/15/2014 9:20:55 AM
  • Thank you this article really help me out and I have been weighting myself every other day and I notice it would go up or down and it did affect my moods. Now I am going to do it every 2 weeks weighing in. I am trying to get to the 10 lb mark I only have 2 more lbs to go and I have been stepping on the scale a lot often so I am going to leave it alone now. although I have heart problems and they say that fluid will make u gain weight fast so sometimes I wonder if that is the case when scales goes up. Thanks again
    Tammy - 4/29/2014 7:38:15 PM
  • I weigh myself daily, but I use that number more as a confirmation that Im doing ok. I do allow for some fluctuations but if the trend is going downward for the most part or staying close to the same, I know I am doing ok. If I see it creeping up continually, I know that I have to change something. The scale just gives me a number that I use as one more tool in my box. I weigh myself, step off and either I keep doing what Im doing or I reflect on whether or not Im doing everything I should be. Surprisingly, the scale is a motivator for me...to keep going when Im doing great and to keep trying when I have no so great weeks. Its definitely not my be all and end all though... - 3/22/2014 12:58:16 PM
  • Much wisdom in this posting. Thanks the "dose of reality" - 10/20/2013 2:22:51 PM
  • I need to really be mindful of this as I let the scale have way too much control over my day.....I am going to try and only weigh in once a week....will have to have daughter hide the scale for me. I am hoping that will help me with this long journey back to health! - 10/20/2013 11:27:34 AM
  • This speaks so perfectly to my mind set this morning! I felt that I worked so hard these past few days, but the scale gave me nothing in return. Have I been feeling better? Yes!
    Have I been making better choices? Yes! Have I been more physically active? Yes! So why can't I accept these as successes and give myself a pat on the back? - 9/5/2013 7:17:23 AM

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