Tuesday, February 15, 2005

As I Feared or Why I Only Weigh Myself Weekly

In an effort to prove to me that I cannot go a week without exercising and still lose weight, my body put two more pounds around me, pushing me back above that magical 250 pound mark. Yes, that's right--I'm back to 251.

I deserve it. This was not my finest week. Not for cardio, not for weightlifting, not for diet.

So, I will take this hapless occasion to explain one of the features of my blog: Why do I only weigh myself once a week? If I'm being scientific and precise and nerdy about all of this, shouldn't I weigh myself daily? Maybe even a couple of times a day? Track my moment-by-moment progress?

No. And neither should you.

If you're weighing yourself daily, stop it. Right now. Cut it out, I'm telling you. If, even worse, you're weighing yourself every time you walk into the bathroom, you may want to move the scale under the bathroom sink. Only bring it out for the weekly weigh-in.

Why in the world would this be true?

First, it doesn't pay to weigh yourself throughout the day. Your weight naturally fluctuates throughout the day. You eat, you drink, you go to the bathroom, and, if you're some people I know, you use several pounds of hair product. You wear varying amounts of clothing.

So you're going to weigh differently throughout the day, through no fault of your own and despite your not having lost or gained any body weight.

You probably will never weigh less than when you first wake up. That's probably the best time to weigh yourself.

If you absolutely, positively have to weigh yourself every day, just do it once, in the morning, after you go to the bathroom.

But I don't advise it. Why not?

Because if you're only looking to lose 1-4 pounds a week, you're not going to see a very large difference from day to day. Not seeing a very large difference can become discouraging. Even if you did really, really well, you're not going to see much movement, and you're going to think all that work was a waste of time.

On the other hand, you do want to weigh yourself at some point, so you can see how you're doing.

One week is a good compromise. It's long enough that you can see real progress, but short enough that if something isn't working you can fix it fairly early.

Some people say that if you're trying to maintain weight, you may want to weigh yourself more frequently--like two or three times a week--to watch for any uspwings.

But nearly everybody agrees, when you're trying to lose, weighing daily will discourage you.

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