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Is it Time to Ditch the Scales?

Scales - love them or hate them, they have a purpose but should we keep them or throw them out the window?


There are both positives and negatives of weighing ourselves on a regular basis. And we can are going to break down the pros and cons to get to the bottom of those tiny little numbers that can at times dictate our mood.....




Why our weight may fluctuate?

Weight loss or gain is not linear. It is very normal when weighing on a daily or frequent basis that weight can fluctuate on a daily basis. These can include:


  • Hydration

  • Food intake

  • Full bowel or bladder

  • Mensural cycle

  • Changes in body composition

  • Elevated stress - can result in water retention

  • Lack of sleep - can also result in water retention

  • Consumption of alcohol - can affect hydration and therefore weight

  • Exercise - excessive sweating


The Pros

Why can weighing yourself on a regular basis be positive:


  • Weighing is quick and inexpensive

  • Progress can be assessed within a few weeks

  • Multiple research reviews have concluded hat more frequent self weighing was associated with greater weight loss

  • In individuals daily weighing was also associated with a greater adoption of diet and exercise behaviours associated to weight control

  • It has also been observed that regular weighing resulted in a reduction of weight gain


The Cons

A number of studies have observed the psychological effects of frequent weighing however they have had mixed results.


  • Many studies have concluded no negative psychological effects of regularly jumping on the scales however other studies have observed negative effects

  • One study indicated that subjects in the weighing condition showed a deterioration in mood compared to subjects who were not weighing themselves however a negative mood was highly associated with those that did not receive desired result.

  • On the other hand some subjects who were weighing daily had a reduction in body dissatisfaction however this was associated with desired results


The results suggest that psychological effects of frequent weighing may vary from person to person.



Conclusion

Regular weighing is not for everyone. For some it may help with adherence and accountability for others it may have a negative impact on their psychology.


It is important if you are weighing yourself frequently that you are aware of and have the ability to accept daily fluctuations.


If you are going to weigh yourself on a daily basis ensure that you weigh yourself under the exact same conditions each day and look at averages and trends rather than the daily weight. It is also advisable to pair your weigh ins with other means of tracking such as progress photos and measurements, not relying on the number on the scales alone.


If you find that weighing yourself regularly helps keep you on track and helps you get results then there should be no problem with you weighing yourself on a daily basis. However, if you find yourself obsessing over the numbers and they start to affect your mood and mental health, then it is best to find another means of tracking your progress.


And remember:

"If you're going to measure your self worth by a number, you might as well do it by how many times you've cried yourself laughing, or how many books you've closed with a funny warm feeling in your heart. It might as well be counted by the number of people who have been lucky enough to have you in their lives, or the amount of fluffy marshmallows you can fit inside your mouth. Your worth could be determined by the number of different places around that world that have had the privilege of being graced by your presence, or how many tiny droplets of rain you've seen drip down your window. Or maybe it's something else completely for you.....Don't you see? You get to choose your own worth!
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