Aaaaaaall the time, I hear things like…
“I never weigh myself. I don’t believe in scales.” or “I hate scales. I always feel depressed after I get on it.”
But wait a second. Hear me out. If you have a GOAL to lose WEIGHT, shouldn’t you measure, ummmm, the WEIGHT?
And how do we measure weight? Yup, the good ol’ SCALE. The problem is not the scale, which is just a measurement tool that gives you a number. The problem is the emotion you have attached to that number.
My reasoning isn’t only based on what works for me, but on research. Time Magazine’s 2020 Issue article, “Why Your Diet Isn’t Working (and What to do About It)”, discusses Brown University’s National Weight Control Registry, where they track people who successfully lose weight and keep it off. The registry has been around for 25 years, and currently includes more than 10,000 people from across the USA’s 50 states, with an average weight loss of 66 pounds per person.
Here are the 4 things successful registry dieters do for lasting weight loss:
They eat breakfast every day - Research suggests this is a healthy strategy for controlling insulin and jump starting your metabolism
They weigh themselves at least once a week
They watch fewer than 10 hours of television per week (more time for walking)
They exercise about an hour a day, on average(this included workouts and walking)
I hope this research has persuaded you a bit.
Let me state here that I believe weighing in regularly is key for weight management when you’re over 40 (and have never had an eating disorder), as hormone changes, yo-yo dieting and loss of muscle make it harder to maintain a healthy weight. My teen kids have no idea I weigh myself almost daily, as I don’t believe they have reached the maturity level to understand why it’s important to do so when you get older. Of course, it’s not black and white, and there are so many factors (other than age) that determine whether someone should use the scale or not. You ultimately have to determine if it’s the right tool to help you maintain a healthy weight.
Here’s my pitch of why it might be right for you to weigh in weekly .
It’s just a number, so see it as just a number.
It measures if what you’re doing for weight management is working or not and it is KEY in reversing small gains. When you see it go up, you just have to make small tweaks to your eating for a few days so it doesn’t keep going up.
Your weight doesn’t define who you are as a woman.
You’re not bad if it’s higher than you want it to be. Being overweight IS. NOT. BAD. Society has a way to make women feel bad about any bit of extra fat. Remember Lady Gaga at the 2017 Super Bowl being fat shamed for her nonexistent “pot belly”? It pissed me off so much!
The only time fat is “bad” is if it’s causing you health problems such as a sore back or knees, a lack of energy or more serious, heart disease or diabetes. If you want to lose weight because you want to look and feel better, that’s OK too. A little vanity is not bad, as long as it doesn’t rule your life and all you care about is the way you look. One of my favourite quotes is:
“You’re allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously”(Sophia Bush).
For years now, I weigh myself almost daily, shortly after I get up and before I eat. Sometimes what I weighed that morning determines if I’ll allow myself to have an extra treat or not. I don’t obsess over it. I know this because sometimes I forget to weigh in. I usually allow myself a gain of 2-3 lbs before I make an extra effort to eat super healthy, slowly and mindfully as well as reach my 10,000 steps consistently, so that I lose it quickly.
If you’re a mom over 40, I hope I managed to persuade you to see the scale as a friend and not an enemy, and I’ll repeat it again…
Reversing small gains is the key to avoiding long stretches of dieting, that ultimately messes up your metabolism and makes you gain more than you lost.
Make the scale your friend!