Stepping onto that scale is one of the most daunting parts of weight loss. Every one of your little slip-ups, from that extra scoop of ice cream to that second serving of mashed potatoes, weighs heavily upon you. That moment before you cross your fingers, take a breath and climb onto the scale can really take a toll on your mental health. Which begs the question, how often are we actually supposed to suck it up and weigh ourselves? This age-old dispute has confounded even the most expert fitness gurus out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most refined arguments below.
Weighing yourself once a day can be a great way to stay motivated. Seeing that number slowly creep down provides encouragement and reinforcement. You get to watch as all the hard work you put in at the gym and in the kitchen pays off, pound by pound. A scale can work as positive — or negative — reinforcement, though. Sure, you can track your weight loss. But it works both ways. If you have a bad day, and that number increases, chances are you’re not going to be feeling all that elated. That might mean that you push yourself harder the next day to stay on track, or it might make you disappointed or discouraged, and then boom, it’s back to being a couch potato.
Keep in mind that the number on the scale can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, including excess water or increased muscle mass. The number might not reflect what you are actually trying to lose: fat! Overall, if you can handle some tough love, then weighing yourself every day might be the answer for you.
Weighing yourself once or twice a week might be a better alternative for those of us who don’t want to undergo the stress of a daily weigh-in. Weighing yourself less frequently might actually give you more control. On the same day every week, at the same time, in the same (or similar) clothes that you wore previously, step up on that scale. For one, the weight loss reflected on the scale will tend to be greater than when you weigh yourself on a daily basis. Instead of seeing a 0.1 decrease in your weight overnight, you might see 1 to 2 pounds difference in a week. That kind of significant loss might be more fulfilling for some people than a tiny decimal.
The problem with weighing yourself only once or twice a week is that sometimes it encourages people to be more lenient in their diet and exercise. Instead of focusing on their goals every day, they figure that it’s OK to splurge for a day or two, because they will still have plenty of time to work off the excess pounds before weigh-in day. Losing weight is all about sticking to a healthy lifestyle, not going on a quick diet to shed a couple pounds in order to make a deadline. As long as you stick to nutritious choices throughout the week, then the scale will reflect your overall effort.
Weighing yourself once at the beginning and once at the end of your weight-loss plan is another option. In the 21-Day Shred, we encourage our Shredders to focus on other aspects of weight loss rather than the number on the scale. You can see progress by your ever-changing measurements, by how your clothes fit and even by your energy levels. For that reason, the only two official weigh-ins are at the beginning and end of the 21 days, and we encourage you to stick to that schedule. However, if the scale helps you stay motivated, weigh in, baby!
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