Health & Wellness Articles

Take the Stress Out of Weighing In

Regain Your Power Over the Scale

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Does seeing the wrong number on the scale make you crazy? Many people find that a “bad” weigh-in ruins their mood and saps their motivation, making it difficult to keep doing what they know they need to do.

Things don’t need to be this way. You can learn to use the scale as a helpful tool, instead of giving it the power to dictate your feelings and your actions.

Many experts and experienced dieters will tell you that the only realistic way to take the stress out of your weigh-ins is to skip them altogether—or at least keep them to a bare minimum. After all, there are many other ways to measure your progress towards your health and fitness goals, especially since weight loss is rarely predictable or orderly.

Although we talk about weight loss in terms of numbers—calories in versus calories out—your body is not a calculator and it doesn't operate like a checking account. A number of things (like fluctuations in water weight, increased muscle mass, and your body’s anti-starvation mechanism) can and regularly do conspire to make the number on the scale the least reliable measure of weight loss success. And if you’re the type of person who needs to see that number coming down on a regular basis in order to avoid frustration, despair and panic, frequent weigh-ins may be exactly what you shouldn’t do.

But let’s face it. Expecting yourself not to weigh-in frequently is like expecting yourself not to scratch when you’ve got an itch. For many of us, it’s just not in the cards. And besides, there are some good reasons to track your weight frequently. Since most of us don’t exactly match the “average” person used in all the formulas for predicting energy expenditure, you may need a little experimentation to find the right combination of calories and exercise that will work for you. Watching the scale as you experiment can be an important part of that process.

So, maybe the real issue here is how you can have your cake and eat it, too. Here are three things you can do to make sure your love-hate relationship with the scale doesn’t cross over the line and become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

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