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Friday, January 9, 2009

It is so easy to become scale-obsessed when you are trying to lose weight. At one point this Fall, I was checking my weight 3 or 4 times a day. Even though I knew that I wasn’t going to lose a few pounds over the course of a couple of hours, I still had this driving need to check my weight. Having the scales on my bathroom floor where I could see them didn’t help, either. Every time I’d walk by them, I’d want to step up onto them. I wanted to make sure that what I was doing was working. It’s a pattern that a lot of people fall into—a pattern that really can cause problems in the end.

Over the course of a day, we are constantly adding and eliminating things from our body. Our weight fluctuates as we eat a meal or sweat during physical activity. Therefore, we aren’t likely to see our weight decrease in a matter of hours. If we are only averaging 1 to 1.5 pounds of weight loss per week, we won’t see much of a difference even within a few days.

What happens when you step on the scale and notice you weigh the same or maybe even a little more? I feel disappointed. I know, logically, that the extra pound I’m seeing most likely has to do with the steak and salad that I had for lunch, but I still get that sinking feeling. Don’t do this to yourself! Checking your weight every couple of hours or days is not good for you. It can cause disappointment, frustration, and stress. Too much stress can actually hinder your weight loss efforts, which is something no one wants.

So, how often should you weigh yourself? Experts recommend that you check your weight at the same time once a week. I like Monday mornings, before breakfast. What day and time you choose is really up to you. I would recommend, though, weighing yourself at a time when you haven’t had anything to eat yet. For most people this is in the morning when you first get up.

In the meantime, take away the temptation of stepping onto that scale: put it somewhere you won’t see it, or somewhere that will take you a lot of effort to get to. I put mine in a plastic tub at the top of my closet. I have to get a step stool to get them down, and I never really want to go through all of that. If neither of those attempts work, have someone hide it. I’m serious! Don’t let yourself become a victim of scale-obsession.


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