Thursday, January 5, 2017

Can You Trust Your Bathroom Scale?

So, here you are, trying to lose some weight so you can feel and look better, and if you're like me, you're jumping on that scale once, twice, or several times a day - but you (and I) shouldn't do that.

Bathroom Scale
Bathroom scale image courtesy of Pixabay

Why You Should Not Compulsively Check Your Weight on a Bathroom Scale

  1. Accuracy: Most bathroom scales aren't really all that accurate. 
    1. The scale at your doctors's office or gym will typically be more accurate than a bathroom scale, but as long as you use the same scale each time you weigh-in, you can sometimes get an idea of whether you are gaining or losing - you should just try to limit your weigh-ins to once or twice a week. 
  2. Variability: Your weight can change several times per day.
    1. Every time you eat, drink, go to the bathroom, cut your hair, or change your clothes, your weight is going to change, so frequent check-ins only let you measure how much weight you took in when you ate or drank, or how much weight you eliminated when you went to the loo. 
  3. Discouragement: When you start working out, you are building muscle.
    1. Muscle weighs more than fat, so compulsively checking your weight, especially when you first start working out, can leave you feeling discouraged. 

What You Can Check Other Than Your Weight

I know, I just admitted I do exactly this, compulsively checking my weight, but there are other, more effective metrics you can use to measure the success of a new health and fitness lifestyle plan.

  1. How you feel: This is the one thing I consider the most important, because the others are more for record-keeping while the way you FEEL and how much you are ABLE to do compared to your starting point impacts every second of your day. 
    1. When I got on my scale this morning, it told me I had gained 4.2 pounds - talk about disheartening for someone well into the first week of a new fitness routine - but I don't consider that permission to give up, because I knew it would happen - I just don't LIKE it.
  2. Measurements: In addition to tracking your weight, get some measurements, because a lot of the time you will see changes in your physical size long before your scale shows you results.
    1. The great thing about tracking your measurements is, if you measure several different areas, like your waist, hips, chest, neck, biceps, forearms, upper thighs, lower thighs, and calves, there are SO many places you might notice progress - like if your waistline doesn't change but your hips get smaller - or vice versa - you know you're heading the right direction.
  3. How your clothes fit: When you notice you have a little extra breathing room in the waistband of your jeans or your favorite shirt buttons without gaping open, you know you are headed in the right direction, and these changes can become noticeable even before you see it in your measurements or weight, because as your fat becomes less dense, even if it still LOOKS the same, you start to feel it in the way your clothes fit.
    1. I've noticed this in the waistband of my jeans already, just four days into this, so even though my scale gave me a kick in the ego this morning, I see success in another metric that is actually even more important, and that's what inspired this message. 
Don't give up if you don't see the results you want right off, and give yourself more than one way to measure the success of your fitness plan, that way, even if you compulsively check your scale (which you shouldn't but - who am I to judge - as a compulsive scale checker, I get why you want to) and it gives you bad news, you KNOW you are still on the path to where you want to end up physically. 

A bathroom scale can provide you with valuable information to help you know if you are on the right track, but checking your weight once a week or even just once a month is likely to be a more positive experience because it lets you see your results in a more long-term manner.

I picked up my bathroom scale at Walmart (and Walmart is also my affiliate sponsor for this post, so if you want to shop for scales or any fitness gear you need, feel free to click through the Walmart icon below to visit the company website.) My scale is just a basic digital Health Meter model. I like that it shows weight to the ounce, and it does seem to be more accurate than my old bathroom scale ever was.

Feel free to share your thoughts on how often to check a bathroom scale in the comments section, and thanks for visiting Fat and Cranky.Laure J

1 comment:

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