I used to obsess with the scale. I still get on it every day but I do not obsess. The scale is not a good indicator just as BMI charts are not either. I weigh 140lbs at 5'3". Sounds high and if you look at the charts, it is at the high end of healthy range. But guess what.....I am a size 4 and have 17.3% body fat. My original goal was to get to 120lbs. I thought I might get to a size 6 - in my dreams a 4. My point is everyone's body is different. I have built a lot of muscle without bulking. I still have some problem areas and will continue to work on those but cutting my body fat down a bit more but if I stay at 140 - I am ok with that. If it goes down ok. Most important I want to be healthy, fit and strong - oh and a size 4..... :)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
10/10/13 5:58 P
I'm one of those weirdos who was rarely very bothered by what the scale says on any given day, but it does go up and down a LOT over the short term, and even from week to week. At the amount that most of us are going to be losing weekly (1-2 pounds or less), no scale measurement should be taken as truly representative of fat loss unless at least a few weeks have passed since the last measurement. In other words, until you'd expect to have lost at least 4-5 pounds of real weight (not water). Anything shorter than that can easily be in error.
Things that I know have caused me to weigh more than I "should": It's later in the day, not first thing in the morning. I have heavier clothes or shoes on. I drank a glass of water when I got up. I'm over-hydrated. I'm under-hydrated. I had a big meal the night before. It's mid-cycle and I'm retaining water. (End cycle, I would frequently have an extra-"good" week as well, losing 3-4 pounds instead of the usual 1.5 or so, but that was also just water.)
All of these things can easily put an extra 2-3 pounds on the scale above what I expected otherwise.
Other people see similar water retention if they've eaten saltier food than usual, or if they've exercised harder than usual (which can actually cause a significant weight of water to enter the muscles that can stick around for a good long time, unlike most of the rest of what I listed. It's a good thing, though, means your muscles are working more efficiently.)
Like I said up top, this sort of thing rarely bothered me, since at the beginning I wasn't in it to lose weight exactly, and so I wasn't that emotionally attached to what was happening on the scale. I just watched. And it went up and down and all around even when I was doing everything precisely as I wanted to as regards my diet and exercise, and no differently from times when the scale was moving as it "should". It just happens, and if you happen to be one of the people who *are* affected strongly by the number on the scale, then weighing much less often (every few weeks) might be an idea you could consider. Alternatively, you could continue to weigh as much as you like, but vow not to get upset about it unless you don't reach a "new low" every so often. This is more or less what I did once I decided I did care about losing weight as a goal in itself: I'd see 173.0 on Tuesday, then 172.5 on Friday, then 171.5 on Sunday, then the next Friday I'd get a 170.0, and so on. And as long as those new low numbers kept coming up every so often I'd figure things were going as they should with my body.
But try not to focus too much on the scale, regardless! You've already seen that it can demotivate you when you think it isn't showing you what you expect -- don't give it that power! The only thing that really matters is that you're eating and exercising according to your goals; when you do that consistently over time and never stop, things generally work out pretty well.
I love this! Thank you so much, Kay. So many great tips especially about the water. I actually really like water, but I can get so distracted with drinking a coffee, etc. that I don't get enough of it as I should.
I am going to do what you said for four weeks. I'll just stick to working at my goals and patting myself on the back every time I actually get up in the morning to workout. Now, THAT is a big deal for me!
10/10/13 1:27 P
I here you on the scale situation, I fell off the wagon for a couple of years now decided try again with losing ,the first time I was obcess with weekly weigh in this time around I took a baseline weight and decided I only getting on the scale once a month.even though didn't lose as much I wanted but slow the race to the finish line.
Fitness Minutes: (2,659)
7 10/10/13 1:18 P
Prepare for a bit of an essay :)
I joined Spark for the first time about 7 years ago and lost 25 pounds. I've gained some of my pounds back post-knee surgery and have joined again to help get me back on track. If you're anything like me you might find this useful.
I absolutely hate using the scale... I find it intensely frustrating and demotivating to have worked my butt off and maintained great eating habits for 1 to 2 weeks with only .5 of a pound lost to show for it. I had the most problems with this (and am going through this again) when I first started my program. It's like your body goes into shock and can't figure out what it's SUPPOSED to be doing. I recommend not weighing in for at least 4 weeks. Focus instead of the motivation of actually following your nutritional and exercise goals - forget the scale and keep in mind that no matter what, you're making healthy choices that will have a lasting impact on your quality of life in the long run regardless of what your weight is. At the end of 4 weeks, when you can look back and clearly see by your trackers what a fantastic job you've done, I guarantee that you're going to see a difference in the numbers on the scale which will give you the ultimate sense of true accomplishment. Let the anticipation of this moment drive you instead of the "dreaded" once a week weigh-in that makes you feel like crap. 4 weeks seemed to be the point where my body snapped out of its shock and I had nothing but success from there. When you do weigh in, remember to do it in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
If you ultimately decide that turfing the scale completely is something that's right for you, pick an outfit that doesn't quite fit (IE not super tight but not quite your current size) out of your closet and try it on once every couple of weeks. DO NOT go out an buy something new though! As you loose weight your body tends to change shape and not always uniformly. You're better off picking something out of your closet that you used to fit to work towards. At certain times of year I do this to get back on track when just a couple of pounds have trickled on (thank you Halloween and Christmas for only being 2 months apart...). Even if you do keep the scale this is still something that might be fun to try. I've got a favorite pair of jeans I my outfit right now that I can't wait to fit again. My husband even got involved by picking out a piece of lingerie I haven't worn in ages (cause it doesn't fit). When I'm happy with my body I get to feel sexy for him again which is mega motivation for me.
As for water that one was harder for me to adopt originally. This is one where I had to put my foot down. I pretty much went cold turkey and forsook any beverage that wasn't water. The only thing I allowed myself was a cup of coffee in the morning with a little milk, but the bargain I made was that for every cup of coffee I drank I had to drink one extra cup of water. A couple thing that I did that you might find helpful: - Find water you LIKE. Different types of bottled water taste different as does water from different taps. If you don't have a water filter at home like Malva or Britta and can't stand tap water I'd recommend picking one up, they're cheap (and Malva has a recycling program for their used filters). You're not going to drink it if you don't like it. - Get a nice, big water bottle. I have a 1 litter (4 cup) Nalgene bottle that comes everywhere with me now. The bottle's size makes it easier for me to track how much water I've actually drank - and watching the level decrease all day has its own little motivation. I *only* have to drink 2 of these puppies to get all the water I need every day. - Do not succumb to peer pressure. I received (and still do) a little bit of friendly ribbing about the amount of water I drink. My friends good-naturedly think it’s funny that I tote my bottle everywhere with me. I also have a bladder the size of a walnut which means I need to pee pretty frequently (TMI, I know) and my husband loves to make jokes at my expense about this. If you go out to eat it’s alright to just order water – crunching through ice cubes can actually do wonders in curbing an appetite and counts as “drinking” the water. If you’re out at a friend’s place it’s alright to say no to the beverage their offering and just request water (or say no, I’m fine with the water bottle I brought). And yes, they’re probably going to ask “are you sure? Really, that’s all you want?”. That’s okay, they’ll get used to it and aren’t going to like you any less.
And if all else fails, keep coming back to these blogs. There are some pretty great people here, lots of opinnions and lots of support :)
Good luck! -Kay
Fitness Minutes: (31,253)
10/10/13 1:07 P
The other thing to keep in mind is that you have to weigh yourself at the same time of day and wearing the same thing, or you won't get consistent results. Your weight fluctuates throughout the day like any other vital sign. Plus, everything you eat has weight, as does the waste your body produces, so I weigh myself first thing in the morning, after I've gone to the bathroom, before I've eaten anything.
Even with that, though, it can take several weeks for your new lifestyle to show itself on the scale, so don't worry about those numbers too much. If you see a steady trend, like a constant gain with every single weigh-in, then that might be significant, but one day's gain doesn't really mean anything.
If you are using the same scale it should be consistent. I do think electronic scales are sometimes very sensitive to just how you are standing, though. I've noticed that sometimes in Drs. offices, if they use an electronic scale, they may have you weigh more than once, I am assuming to check the accuracy of the first weight
My main comment, though, is that you are probably weighing yourself too often. That can be very discouraging to me, as weight fluctuates, sometimes wildly, during any given day/week. I think it is much more accurate to weigh once a week, under the same circumstances.
For instance, I weigh on Saturday morning when I get up, without clothing and after using the bathroom and without drinking or eating anything. This is about as accurate as you can get for your weekly base weight.
Most people will 'gain' (it's not really a gain) a few more pounds during the day and at night due to various issues; water cosumption, food not yet digested, etc. Once the water and food have passed out of the system, the weight goes back to normal.
I know it is tempting to weigh often, but, for me, it is counterproductive.
Also, it is early days yet for you, so don't get discouraged if there isn't much loss. It is important to get your water in and sometimes exercise temporarily adds water weight also, which will eventually go away. And be sure to eat within your calorie range and track food as accurately a you can.
So, I know this is only my second week, but I got on the scale last night to record my weekly weight. Well, first it said I was 2 pounds heavier. Then, this morning it said 2 and then it went down to 1. I've been tracking everything I eat and I've been withing my calorie range. Could it be wrong? Oh, and I'm exercising.
The only thing I did notice I didn't do well at this week was drinking enough water. I don't know. I just didn't get a lot in for some reason. Any advice?
I don't want to give up because this is usually the type of thing that got me discouraged in the past. I'm just looking for a little perspective from those who've been doing this longer.