To Weigh or Not to Weigh…That is the Question

The dreaded scale.

I don’t know about you but I’m a “scale-a-holic”.  I’m one of those people who get up every morning, takes everything off (including my hair clip cause Lord only knows how much that might weigh, right?!) runs to the bathroom and jumps on the scale!  I know there are different professional opinions on whether to weigh or not to weigh and if you weigh, when to weigh and how often to weigh but I know for ME I am a slave to the scale.  Hopping on the scale once a week is just not enough. 

I don’t know what it is but as much as I try to avoid it my feet are uncontrollably drawn to that scale every morning.

I will share with you that when I initially gained weight I did not have a scale.  Now, would that have been my magical weight maintaining secret?  I don’t know but what I do know is I did not get on a scale for a couple of years and in that couple of years I experienced the greatest weight gain of my life.

I was pretty curious about the scale controversies so I did a little research.  In 2005, University of Minnesota researchers reviewed combined studies that included over 3,000 people who either wanted to lose or maintain weight.  What they found was 40 percent were fairly religious about stepping onto the scale at least once a day.  20 percent held their weigh-ins weekly and the remaining 40 percent did a weight check infrequently or avoided the scale altogether. Over a two year period, the study reported that the obsessive weighers lost an average of 12 pounds (You’d think I’d be a twig by now) and the weekly scale watchers lost only six. And the avoiders? They gained four pounds on average! 

I think, at least for me, frequent weigh-ins can act as an “early warning system.”  The daily feedback from the scale helps me in setting goals and catching small weight fluctuations as “snowballs” before they become huge “avalanches.”  

I believe one reason the 17 Day Diet has worked so well for me is the first cycle allows for rapid weight loss and I can see that digital scale moving. Sure there are days when it goes up a few ounces or even the dreaded pound or two but I can always seem to rationalize that as salt, PMS, building muscle or the full moon.  (Sure, why not?)

I still have plateau’s here and there. (We’ll talk about plateau’s another time) In fact I just had (Am having?) one.  Let’s face it it’s a little unreasonable, okay, it’s VERY unreasonable, to expect the scale to drop every day.  In fact the bottom line is it’s unreasonable and impossible.  But, where does logic and reason come into weight loss?  I mean if that was the case I probably wouldn’t have gained the weight in the first place, right?  It’s not very reasonable to eat a ½ gallon of Pineapple-Coconut ice cream for dinner is it?  But I have!  Hey, don’t’ judge me, I had a sore throat! (We’ll talk about excuses another day)

Regardless of how “good” you are the number on the scale is going to fluctuate.  Although I weigh myself every day I can’t realistically expect the scale to go down every day – although believe me I really, really like it when it does!  The truth is for countless uncontrollable reasons your weight is likely to change on a daily basis (and not always in the direction you’re hoping for) and you just have to understand there are many factors contributing to the fluctuations. For whatever reason weight changes are not necessarily an indication of failing your weight loss goals.  If you are sticking to your food plan you know the fluctuations can be attributed to a variety of things and the scale will come back down.

If you are jumping on the scale multiple times a day, chances are you’re becoming a little obsessive and are on the road to an unhealthy scale relationship. (Be careful or you’re going to have to go to “scale therapy” and file for a legal separation). 

Seriously, if you find the scale going up a pound or two leads you to be discouraged or depresses you then you should not weigh yourself every day.  An unhealthy relationship with the scale can lead to eating disorders. 

Whatever your relationship is with the scale, like in all relationships, do your best to keep it a healthy one.

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    Dec 15, 2010 @ 12:21:12

    I think you should weigh yourself once a day at the same time everyday and on the same scale. I too went for years without weighing myself. Denial. I knew I was gaining weight because I had clothes size 6 through 14 in my closet. I had a huge wake up call when I went back to work last year after not working for more than a year. I could no longer fit into ANY of my clothes. Not even the stetchy type dresses or skirts. I had been wearing workout clothes, but hardly working out and not paying any attention. We moved to a new city and before I knew it I had packed on another 20 pounds – that’s on top of the 40 to 50 I had already gained over the past 5 years or so. I do not weigh in at night because that would depress me – I can be 2 or 3 pounds heavier at night than I am in the morning.
    I’m going to just go ahead and put it out there – here are my stats:
    5’3″
    today: 205 lbs
    goal: 135 lbs
    Anyone else want to share?
    I have yet to receive my book – I sure hope it arrives soon. In the meantime, thanks again for the motivational blog!

    Reply

  2. tksinclair
    Dec 15, 2010 @ 18:43:07

    Katie, I think you have to do the login to prevent SPAM but I’ll check into it.

    Reply

  3. Dee
    Dec 15, 2010 @ 19:58:09

    I have been on EVERY diet imaginable! At 5’6 my most comfy weight has been around 160…. but 145 would be the ultimate. I don’t want to be “skinny” I just want to look good and feel good about myself. When I seen this on Dr. Phil I thought “Dangit! You’re doing this!” It’s been 3 years this past Saturday since I gave birth to my first, and only, child and the same day that I “gave up” on myself. At 36, it’s time to get healthy – for me, my son, my husband, PERIOD! On top of that, this past April I was laid off my job of 14 years… so I need to lose the weight and gain the confidence to get out there and start the dreaded job hunt.
    I was soooooo happy that I found this blog – I love your sense of humor and the fact that it seems you know quite a bit about this diet! I ordered (excuse me, REORDERED it) on the 6th, just checked my tracking number and it said it arrived at our post office today… so hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have it in my hands to review. I do however admit that I am waiting til after the holidays (when my out of town family goes back home) to start this -but I’m taking the advice of drinking water, no sodas, the cutting the sugar before “the day!” Good idea!!
    I’m not ashamed – well yeah, I really am… but what the hell – I’ll share my stats as well Katie.
    36 years old • 5’6 • TODAY: 223 • GOAL: 175 (if I achieve that, which I will 🙂 it’ll change to 145!)

    Reply

  4. James Tuverson
    Dec 18, 2010 @ 09:44:05

    Hi Terri,
    I’m “weighing in” on the scale issue. I’m a 46 year old guy who put away the scale for years and gained 20 unwanted pounds. Now the scale is back and my goal is to lose those 20 pounds forever, going from 195 to 175 lbs (I’m 5′ 10″.) I step on the scale every day now, just to keep me grounded. I lost 8 lbs so far (I’m on WW) so I’m averaging 187 on the scale each day. Yes, I might go up and down a pound or two during the day, but at least I’m out of the “190’s” on the scale and that keeps me motivated. Someday soon, I’ll be out of the “180’s” and I’ll banish those numbers from ever appearing on my scale again, too. So, for me, the scale’s a key tool for helping me manage my weight.

    Reply

  5. Debbie Ponzetti
    Dec 18, 2010 @ 17:48:40

    I try to weigh every day on my wii because if I don’t it counts the days that I haven’t weighed! The only thing bad about it is that the wii is in my living room so I have to weigh in my thinnest nightgown. I am 53 5’4″ current weight is 225.2 have been on the 17 day diet for 2 days and my goal is 165 lbs

    Reply

  6. Katie
    Dec 18, 2010 @ 20:39:00

    I’m posting my weight to be accountable to someone other than myself. I am not to be trusted. I would love to see a field, maybe at the top of each of our posts, so we can enter our current weight. Our starting and goal weight could be entered once and would obviously remain the same with each post.
    Today I am 5’3″ 205 lbs (the same) with a goal weight of 135.

    I finally received my book today so I’ll read it during my night shift tonight and make a list of groceries to buy before the beginning of the week. I am so ready for this.

    Terri, thanks again for the blog. I really enjoy your posts and everyone that contributes.

    Reply

  7. Jenna
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 05:22:06

    I think I might be the youngest one here but I still feel the need to share. I am 24 years old and have gained about 35 pounds over the last 4 years. I dont want to let myself get out of control while I am still young. So I am 5’2 and the book says I should weigh 110 lbs.
    Current: 147 lbs
    Goal: 115 lbs

    Reply

    • tksinclair
      Dec 28, 2010 @ 12:59:27

      Hi Jenna, I’m not sure who the youngest is but I do know we have a 19 year old with us! You have about the ‘average’ amount of weight people are trying to lose!

      Reply

  8. Debbie
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 18:42:10

    I am 48 years old, have never been skinny, but almost 25 years ago when I got married I made it down to 130. That was a struggle as my normal weight was around 140-150. Now at 5’2″ and 185, my goal is 150 and I have my niece Jenna to thank as my motivation and inspiration…we start 01-01-2011. Cheers to a new us!

    Reply

    • Jenna
      Dec 29, 2010 @ 16:29:32

      I love you Aunt Debbie. We can and will do this together Cant wait to take our before pictures tomorrow :/

      Reply

  9. Shawna
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 12:42:01

    I have been doing the 17 day diet for four days now. I am following it fairly well and being sure to get in at least 20 mins of exercise a day. I just gave birth to my second child 6 weeks ago. I was lucky to only gain about 11lbs with the pregnancy, and immediately lost 30 in the two weeks following. This has given me a huge incentive to get the rest of the weight off.

    31 yrs old, 5’7″

    Pre-pregnancy weight 214
    Diet starting weight 198.5
    Current weight 193.5

    Reply

    • Shawna
      Dec 31, 2010 @ 12:45:05

      I forgot to add my overall goal weight is 150lbs, but I would be thrilled to be at 175. I haven’t been there since high school.
      I weigh once a day in the morning when I first get up. Overall I think it is a good thing, but it can be tough when the weight goes up.

      Reply

  10. Kristina
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 21:33:40

    I am going to be 40 in less than two months. I have been with my DH for 23 years and bless his heart he is so supportive. When we met I was 105 now 23 years and three kids later I am 5’5 and 199.8 :(:( My goal is 140 but would LOVE 120. I have a very BIG relationship with the scale. Every time i go into the bathroom I step on it only to feel like crap. I ordered my book on 27 Dec. and I sure hope it gets here SOON. Have have read just about every post about the diet and Debbie sent me a very nice spreadsheet to help get me started while I am waiting for my book. I bought green tea, fruit, yogurt, and fresh veggies to start and am drinking losts of water w/ lemon. I am so ready to feel and look sooo much healthier. I am looking forward to ready more on your site. Thank you for all of your great posts and support.

    Reply

  11. Diana
    Jan 03, 2011 @ 16:17:13

    Grrrrr I hate the scale. Today was Day 3 and I got on the scale and I was two pounds up. I have been doing everything right with the food plan, including 30-60 minutes exercise each day. My trainer at the gym has me committed to only getting weighed next Monday, instead of everyday day. I am also a scale addict, except of course if I was binging. So limiting my getting weighed to only once a week is really tough, but daily weighing is self-defeating for me. I hate the idea that even if my eating is clean and I exercise, the scale can make me feel lousy. So I will not weigh til next Monday, thats my commitment to all of you.

    Reply

    • Shawna Gilmore
      Jan 03, 2011 @ 16:41:04

      Good call Diana. I know how hard it can be to stay away. I have been on mine every day for the last week. I watched it bounce up and down, bringing good feeling and bad. In the past I have had to have my husband hide my scale and only give it to me once a week. We bought a doctors office type scale now, I think that one would be a lot less convient to hide.

      Good luck, I might have to join your cause soon.

      Reply

  12. tksinclair
    Jan 03, 2011 @ 18:02:51

    Diana, I know I always end up weighing more when I work out! I build muscle pretty fast and have to balance out the muscle weight with the weight loss. Keep doing the right thing and I guarantee you the weight will drop! I think you’re right if you realize the scale can be self defeating – stay away from it! Once a week is fine! Remember this is for long term!

    Reply

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