(BlackDoctor.org) — Scales are supposed to help you lose weight by allowing you to document your weight loss. But sometimes, they can be more of a hindrance than a help.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to keep track of how much you weigh; but stepping on the scale too often can ruin your attempt at shedding excess pounds.
Scale-Obsession and Healthy Weight
Weighing yourself every day, or many times a day, can sabotage your eating plan for getting to a healthy weight. It can be frustrating to see movement on the scale, and it might take you away from sticking with your plan, especially if the numbers on the scale go up.
A study of Minnesota junior high and high school students found that girls who frequently weighed themselves often resorted to unhealthy dieting tactics such as skipping meals, smoking and using diet pills or laxatives to reach a healthy weight. Frequent self-weighers also tended to gain more weight than girls who did not weigh themselves that often.
The problem is that a person’s body weight can fluctuate wildly day to day, and even hour to hour. If you weigh yourself first thing in the morning, you’re going to have a different weight than if you weigh yourself at 5:30 p.m. You weigh less in the morning because you have an empty stomach, and you’re usually a little bit dehydrated.
What you eat also makes a difference. For example, if your meal the night before was high in sodium, you might be a little bloated, with water affecting the weight on the scale. In addition, women’s menstrual cycles can play havoc with the amount of water they retain. These hormonal variations can cause the scale to tip in a way not reflective of your overall healthy weight.
How to Weigh Yourself Appropriately
An individual should weigh themselves once a week. Once a week is a good time to check in and see if the scale is moving in the desired direction. Weigh yourself at the same time on the same day so there’s consistency in your measurements.